I am sitting down to rest after coming home from a long walk with my sister-in-law around our local walking track. It winds through towering trees and along the slow-moving inlets of the Tennessee River. We spoke of our husbands, families, work-life challenges, health, brokenness, redemption, and the love of Jesus as foot-falls took us past the morning sun’s reflection upon still waters.
What a privilege to have space and time to do this. What grace to have a woman I can share these words with, willing to take time to pour wisdom into my soul. What a joy to be able to move my body surrounded by beauty. What gratitude I give to God for all of these things.
Too often I refuse to take the time to experience these simple pleasures. I am inundated with the “need” to accomplish, do more, do “better.” But this hour of respite did more to fill my soul and remind me of what the “better” things really are. And it inspired me to be the woman I want to be.
Reflecting on the winding path my feet walked this morning, my mind ambles down some paths of its own starting with,
Where am I finding rest?
Yesterday on my commute from the clinic where I work, I listened to a podcast by Jamie Ivey with her guest Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith. They were discussing her new book, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, and the need for rest. She spoke about the 6 different kinds of rest we need to help feed all the pieces of our self – mind, body, and spirit. But what struck me most was her discussion of how we should look at rest.
She remarked on her study of Genesis 1. In the story, God rests on the 7th day of creation. Reading this, I’ve always thought it meant I needed to work to earn my rest. But Dr. Dalton-Smith points out man’s first day on earth was actually a sabbath – a day of rest. Work springs forth from rest, not the other way around.
Our best work can only come from a place of rest. If we are constantly running at the end of ourselves, we can never give from the deepest wells of creativity or love. We cannot give good if we are never taking in good. Even as I say this, the achievement monster inside me whispers, but you’ll never be able to get all the things done, experience all you want, achieve your goals if you don’t keep pushing.
Which this leads me further down my mind’s path to ask,
Why am I pushing so hard?
Since January, I have been reading a chronological reading plan and following along with the podcast, The Bible Recap. If you knew my ability to stick with anything, you would be duly impressed by the fact that I have continued with this – obviously, God’s word has kept drawing me in and Tara Leigh Cobble and her team are doing some mighty good work.
Yesterday’s reading was the book of Haggai. In chapter 1, God is speaking through Haggai about how they work on their own homes while His “house lies in ruins” (v 4). And then He says, ”Consider your ways. You have sown much, and harvested little. You eat, but you never have enough; you drink, but you never have your fill. You clothe yourselves, but no one is warm. And he who earns wages does so to put them into a bag with holes” (v 5-6).
In this, I found myself thinking about where I find my pleasure and where I spend my time. I am guilty of spending more time decorating, eating good food, shopping, and working to achieve, then just enjoying God.
Do I feel compelled to keep striving for more because I think these achievements or things will satisfy me?
But if my walk this morning is any indication, basking in His presence, remembering He fulfills me more deeply and truly than the short bursts of pleasure I get from all the things I just mentioned.
These things are not bad in and of themselves. But if I look for my pleasure and my meaning in them, I will never find satisfaction. I will always need more, more, more. God is the only One who can satisfy all the longings of my heart. The only one who does not change based on trends or my whims. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb 13:8).
Choosing both work and rest
So today, I choose
- To work in my purpose instead of all the other things that try to steal my attention
- To believe He is enough
- Contentment in what I have and where I am
I believe God has placed you where you are for a reason and has beautiful work for you to do. And I believe you can accomplish great things without running yourself into the ground. Let’s choose to rest in Him as we walk out our day.
Matthew 11:28 – Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
*All scripture from the ESV translation
Like this? Check out this post for helpful links to getting stuff done while still finding time for rest.
How do you find time for rest?