Rest for the Weary
Rest, what does that mean, in this fast paced world that we live in, with appointments, expectations, face book, twitter, cell phones, television, ipad’s, computers, how on earth are we supposed to rest. People work long hours, doing jobs that most hate, just to make the ends meet at the end of the month. There is running after children, who are in many different activities, supper to cook, housework to be done, television to watch, home work to help with, laundry and a vast number of other things that demand our attention.
Where is there time for family, friends, or even for ourselves and how on earth do you find rest in the midst of all of this chaos?
One solution is to sell it all, and go and live in a cabin on a mountain somewhere, but this is neither a good solution or viable for most people.
So what drives us to perform so hard? Why do we need all of the latest gadgets and toys on the market today? Why do we need to upgrade vehicles every two to three years even if there is nothing wrong with it? Why do we need to live in the best house, have designer furniture and clothing? What makes us so discontent that we drive ourselves crazy in the pursuit of it all?
I think one of the answers to all of the above questions is Greed and a Lust for More.
Yes it is true; we have this insatiable appetite for all that we do not possess. We then work harder, and longer, to possess more of what we do not have right now.
The end result is that we are ticking time bombs, for disease, heart attacks, and pure exhaustion.
I have had the privilege of being a stay home mom for all of my married life, the lord has blessed the work of my husband’s hands. We have not had a lot of money, but we managed to have a comfortable lifestyle.
Having said that I tend to be the kind of person that whatever I put my hand to, I also engage my full heart to it as well, which has created a bit of a monster in my life, I work myself to the bone doing all things as well as I can.
So, when a few months ago, my husband of 19 years was diagnosed with Lymphoma, my natural instinct was to pray harder, to work harder at tending to his every need, to ensure that my kids were walking through this ordeal reasonably well. I tried to put some control back into my rapidly spiraling out of control life.
Then I felt the lord say to me, that I needed to learn to rest in him, let him take care of my husband and children throughout all of this process and let him take care of me.
Rest for the weary!
This was then confirmed to me, by a few other people who had been praying for me, and also felt that the lord wanted me to rest.
My question was how? How do I go from being over active in the care of my family, and my friends and all whom I felt God had called me to minister for this season, and give it over to God and learn to rest in Him?
This friend was no easy task, and I am still learning how to do it. The first thing that I had to do was to actually ask the lord to forgive me for trying to play super Christian and God in everyone’s life. Ouch that one hurt!
When I played God in their lives, I did not leave room for God to work, as I was trying to control and manipulate all that happened for them.
Next I needed to recognize that I was not responsible for their care, God was, and he was a way better care taker of them, than I was.
Then I needed to learn that sometimes it was ok to go for a walk in the middle of the day, when the snow was falling or the sun was warming everything up. It was ok to read a book that had nothing to do with anything, just for the pure enjoyment of it.
I needed to learn that if I was tired, that taking a twenty minute nap to perk me up was ok, and I did not need to feel guilty about it.
I also needed to learn that I was my own worst enemy when it came to resting and really enjoying a moment that I had been given.
Instead of fretting about all the things I had not done yet, I could take a moment and thank God for the sun that was shining and the beauty that surrounds me. I could praise him that I had a house to live in and food to eat, clothes to wear, and that my children were well and safe. I could find rest in the fact that he had blessed me with a wonderful husband, who loved me, because I was me, not for anything I could do for him, or anything else, I could just be me.
There is rest and comfort in knowing these things.
Then the lord taught me, that I could even find rest in the work that he had given me to do, whether it was writing or quilting or caring for the needs of my family, I could rest in the knowledge that he was helping me to fulfill all of the tasks before me.
If I asked him, he would give me great ideas for meals, creative ideas for quilting and writing, and he would enable me to do it all without much effort. There is rest in that knowledge.
Something that has evolved out of this journey is that my husband and I purposely take an hour each day to have lunch together and enjoy each other’s company and we have chosen a day of the week to go and play. We don’t do anything very spectacular, but we do something that we would not ordinarily do, like go to a restaurant that we have never tried before, or look around stores that we had never ventured into before, or even have a nap together. It does not matter what we do, it matters that we take the time to unplug from the world around us and allow ourselves a moment to rest.
I praise the lord that he has been teaching me this lesson, as I was way to up tight for too many years, but now I can honestly say, that the more I learn to rest in the lord, and his provision and promises for me and my life, the more joy I feel bubbling up from deep within me. The more hope I feel for the future and the more satisfaction I get from the work I do have to do.
The lord says that if we come to him and give him our burdens then he will take them upon himself and give us rest.
Matthew 11:28 – 30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
My dear friends, this is so very true, Jesus does indeed take on our burdens, worries and concerns, he takes our stress and in the midst of it all, He gives us rest.
If you find yourself on the same treadmill of over achievement and burnout as I did, why not take a few moments right now and ask the lord to teach you to rest in him. Your rest may look different to my rest, and that is ok, but remember this, God did not make us to run around like crazy people, always working and striving and being miserable.
He wants us to rest in the knowledge that he will take care of us, refreshing us and giving us the right priorities so that we do not wear ourselves out.
I pray that today, you will teach each one of us how to truly rest in you and your ways for us, help us to get off the treadmill of overachievement and allow you to show us your perfect way for us. Thank you that you desire us to work as well as enjoy our lives while we are on this earth. Bless the work of our hands, O Lord, and strengthen us today. Lord, we surrender our whole lives to you today and ask that you will lead us into your rest. Thank you heavenly father,