Slideshow image

Perhaps I am alone in this... but resting is hard!

As I entered a season of rest (13 days 'off' to be exact), I had great expectations about how I would feel, what I would do, and what it would be like to finally 'rest'. Think of all the books I would read, how clean the house would be, the hours spent at the beach, the friends I could catch up with, family gatherings to host and attend - such lofty ideas I had for those 13 days....

I can see you's OK.  I am smirking too. 


Day 1: Resting looked pretty good.  I slept in, made my coffee, spent time in the Word and journaling and then tackled cleaning my ENTIRE house - top to bottom... then hosted a group of friends for dinner.  

Day 2: Exhausted from doing so much day 1 - I wanted to rest...but I had my list to get through! After visiting with some friends - I again made a large dinner and hosted some family.  

Day 3: grocery shopping, more cleaning, meeting with a friend, attended a friend's bridal shower...I was getting exhausted from resting. My to do list was getting longer.  The expectations I had for the 13 days were slipping through my fingers. Surely this not what was intended when God spoke of and commanded we rest.

On top of the lists and expectations I had to fight my brain to cease working.  Enter my thought pattern for the first few days of 'resting': "PowerHouse starts in a few weeks, what are we going to do about... wait, I'm resting"; "Oh for Christ's Kids this year wouldn't it be great to....wait, I'm resting"; "I wonder what developing leaders would look like for...wait, I'm resting"; "I should email so-and-so about such-and-such... wait, I'm resting".<--that was just in the first few minutes/hours on day 1, it continued on for hours -days!  It was almost more exhausting trying not to work then it was to actually work. 

Now that's not to say that I didn't or shouldn't have thought about those things. God did in fact use that time to sharpen some ideas in my mind and lay some things on my heart to move forward with, but there had to be a disconnect. Had I just continued doing what I was doing while at work - why take time off from work? I had to purposefully and intentionally hand back over the need to plan and worry to the One who holds the world in His hands and trust that He will inspire, He will remind and He will be God and I will be the servant follower He has created me to be.  

 After a few days of struggling with resting/but not really resting - I had to ask myself a few questions. If rest isn't doing ALL THE THINGS I said I would do - what is it?  What does it look like?  What does it feel like?  How can life keep going if I'm resting?  Meals still need to be made, dishes done, groceries bought, friendships maintained etc...what is rest and how do I get there? I have to tell you - sadly, there is no formula or road maps for answers to these questions.  Rest for me doesn't look the same as it does for you.  God made us different on purpose.  You may need to bike, cook, sleep, visit - to rest. You may not have 13 days off.  You may have an afternoon, you may have 6 months - you may have an hour or 10 minutes.  We are all in different seasons, but we still have a God who asks us to be intentional about resting.  And by rest - I mean Sabbath.  I mean slowing down enough to acknowledge with your actions and heart that God is enough, He is in control and you trust Him. 

Hitting the pause button on my normal forced me:

  • to see the beauty around me;
  • to notice (again) how I try to control every aspect of my life. I have a terrible tendency of letting God know how today is going to go - and expecting Him to be my robot/genie.
  • having been shown my controlling tendancy - I had some things I had taken from God I needed to return to Him; my attention, my trust, my focus.
  • to surrender (again) my burdens, hurts and brokenness
  • to say "God, you are enough"
  • slow down (and not just my calender, but everything). My Dad, while visiting during this time of rest quoted 18 year old me, freshly back from a third world country, to me as I was racing around planning, being tour guide, cooking etc:  "why does everyone need to go so fast... just slow down." I was a tad bit convicted being reminded of what I had learned and lost over time. 

Although there are no road map or rules to resting - through this process I did learn a few things that I think are transferable to everyone that I'd like to share with you. (And record it for myself. I fear I'll have to relearn these things next season of rest...I am too much like the Israelites to think I have 'learned my lesson')

What I learned about rest:

  1. Rest takes work.  That may sound crazy, but you have to CHOOSE rest.  You have be purposeful with your actions and with your thought life.
  2. Rest takes time.  We ask a lot of our minds and bodies every day.  Asking it to stop and slow down - it's likely going to take a few hours or in my case it took days for the rhythm of rest be more important than your to do list and agenda.
  3. Rest doesn't always mean more sleep/physical rest.  It does sometimes, but not often.  I think I came back more physically tired than I left. 
  4. Intentional rest will give space for God to move in.  Handing over my worries, my work, my expectations - I was saying: "I trust you God. You got this." 

 I know many of you have been intentional with your rest this summer.  What have you learned?  Where did God take you?  I'd love to hear about it.