It was a tough morning. I could barely keep my eyes open and struggled to get out of bed with any level of energy. I felt mentally ready to face the day and my spirits were high, but my body wasn’t cooperating. It just wanted more sleep!
Have you ever felt that way?
Naturally, I made my way straight to the coffee pot, which is part of my normal routine. But caffeine didn’t do the trick. I’ve noticed that it’s not always the miracle pep-provider that I hope. Fresh fruit for breakfast didn’t help, either. My time with Jesus helped a bit and I could finally start to move the wheels on this bus. Once I got moving, I started feeling a lot better. My liveliness and clarity were great through a couple of morning meetings, but then I sat down to work at my desk and my energy plummeted again.
Why am I so tired, I wondered. And then it became clear. I haven’t taken a real day off for weeks. Our entire family is getting ready for some big moves and gigantic changes and we’ve all been running proverbial marathons. Several of us have been sick, fighting through colds, coughs, and sneezes just trying to stay on track. It seems we never stop. And that’s probably because, in reality, we never stop.
Rest in the Bible
There’s a little gift the Lord gave us that we tend to overlook. It’s the gift of rest. If I dig deeper into my honesty tank, I’d say we ignore the gift. On purpose. That’s not good.
Our family has a propensity to let our ever-increasing task list and upcoming deadlines keep us from enjoying Sabbath. Perhaps your family does too.
Many Scriptural encouragements remind me that the Lord provided rest for our good. Yet it is an aspect of His protection and provision that we often fail to embrace. Consider with me:
Mark 6:31— And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat (ESV).
Matthew 11:29— Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls (ESV).
Exodus 34:21— “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest (ESV).
Mark 2:27— And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (ESV).
Setting aside a day each week for rest is commanded (“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. . .” [Exodus 20:8]), and as with all Scriptural commands, it’s intended for our good and God’s glory.
Rest and Productivity
I find it remarkable that when I take true, Sabbath, I’m more productive afterward. I recognize the Lord’s hand of favor and ease over my work. It’s as if I get more done after a break than I would have without one. Then I wonder why it’s so easy to ignore rest and work straight through the week.
Apparently, I’m not alone in neglecting my rest. The Lord addressed it through His prophet, Isaiah. “For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, ‘In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.’ But you were unwilling. . .” Isaiah 30:15 (ESV).
This verse is convicting! God offers us so much in our rest, yet we are quick to turn our back, believing we can accomplish more in our own strength. He wants to do more than provide for our rest, He wants to be our rest. By connecting and abiding in Him, thorough His Word and in prayer, we can find refreshing rest in His presence.
Spiritual Growth Through Rest
As we work to sprout our spiritual growth, let’s make a conscious effort to rest our bodies, minds, and spirits. On top of adopting some of the practices we’ve outlined in this series (time in His Word, meditation, and worship), schedule a real, actual day off and rest. Your rest can look a lot different than being a couch potato. You might decide to sleep late or take a nap, but you’ll also find rest as you get out and do something you enjoy—something that’s not part of work or a project on your “to-do” list.
Rest is a wonderful practice that helps us keep God as a high priority in our lives and avoid making our tasks an inadvertent idol. But rest often takes intentional focus. It certainly doesn’t flow into our lives naturally, so we must actively pursue it to enjoy it’s wonderful benefits.
May you embrace the joy of the Lord today,