Rest is a Statement of Faith
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
Today is the first day I’ve gotten up before my kids to work. We will see how this goes. But, I’m feeling like a rockstar already. I’ve had a hard time finding space for some things in this new season of two kids- specifically, Beholden. I want to prioritize the things that are most important and give my time and attention to the people and tasks in a way that is sustainable and healthy. I want my kids to have my attention. I want them to know their value, to know they’re worth my time. I don’t want them to always hear “one more minute!” and see a distracted mama spending her time on all the things besides playing on the floor next to them. I don’t have this figured out. I can’t do it all. But, I’m learning. And I’m learning to be ok with the learning…with the process. Which for me…a chronic over-achiever, is a huge victory already.
So- what does this have to do with rest? Well, first- I am all about working hard. But, personally- that’s not where I struggle…I struggle with resting. I struggled with it when I was a teenager, I struggled in college. I struggled in my 20s…and I ran myself and my health thin. I naturally like to do things… and in college I was a completely obsessed perfectionist who was convinced I didn’t have time to rest. I HAD to study, I HAD to help a friend, I HAD to work… I felt like I didn’t have a choice to rest. I was powerless in it, tired in it, and I ultimately, was putting too much pressure on myself and had wrongly put myself in too important of a place. I thought that if I didn’t do it, no-one would. I began trusting myself to be a Savior…and that’s not my role. I was having a difficult time trusting God for His provision while I rested.
I started Beholden years later because I saw the value of stillness in my life. I saw what didn’t happen when I protected space in my days to just be. I witnesses a cranky, stressed out, irritable, unhealthy version of myself who I didn’t enjoy spending time with. I started saying no to things that I felt needed to go. I began practicing rest. I began making myself sit down for a few minutes that I could grab here and there. I looked at the trees. I let my mind wonder. I wanted Beholden to be a nudge for others to lift their eyes up to the heavens- to refocus our quickly shifting gaze to the One who defines it all. To shift time and again when we shift towards angst and busy and todos…back to perspective. I want to be clear here…this is not my normal bent. I want to be impressive. Being still…well…it doesn’t look so impressive. But for me, each time I do it- I’m saying “You’re God, and I’m not- I trust You” and I have felt a weight lifted as I have intentionally fought for this space. If you don’t fight for it, I can promise it most likely won’t happen. Stillness isn’t a passive, wimpy task. In the stillness you face yourself, your thoughts, your fears, and our God.
I am FAR from perfect at this. One of my goals this year is to actually practice a day of sabbath consistently. To figure out what that means for us as a family going into the day so that I don’t move the rules all around as the day goes on and I try to rearrange it based on how I feel that day. Does that mean that I don’t cook all day? Maybe. Does it mean the cleaning can wait until the next day? Maybe. Does it mean I say no to the pulling tasks on my list and decide instead just to enjoy being human? Definitely. (still figuring this out- it’s only January 8th ;)
So what is it that makes it so hard for us to rest? I imagine that I’m not the only one here. Why do I feel better when I’m getting things done and a bit unnerved when I’m not? Why did God make a big deal about Sabbath to begin with? He is God of the universe… and He took a Sabbath day. He taught His people to take a Sabbath. Let that soak in for a moment- the Creator decided it was in the best interest for His created to REST. I would go as far to say that when we don’t rest, we are fighting against our humanity and the way that God intended for us to thrive.
Jesus tells us that man is not made for man but Sabbath is made for man. But, it would be a stretch to say that He was dismissing the importance of Sabbath- I think He was just being less legalistic about it. (Take a look at at the full context in Mark 2 and let me know your thoughts.) There are some BEAUTIFUL scriptures about rest. And somehow- I think my corner of the world has widely missed them. And with it…the western church has become a stressed out, busied entity that is missing out on the beauty and peace and energy that could come if we TRUSTED God’s bigness enough to rest. If we had faith that He can keep the world sustained while we rest. If we believed He knew what He was doing when he created us and gave us a day for rest. If we could trust him enough to stop our striving, our work- to enter His rest. We want to take care of all the things. We feel good when we do. We need to work to make sure there is enough. We work for fear there won’t be enough if we don’t. But what about trust? What about God? What if He intentionally made us as limited beings so that we could have a day each week to trust His provision? What if the endless striving, the never resting…is making us sick? Spiritually, emotionally, physically.
All that to say…I think faith and trust are HUGE in us practicing rest. It might be impossible to enter true rest without them. If we don’t have them…how can we lean back without peace? How can we sleep without peace? So. Many. Thoughts. I hope that made a bit of sense!
Scriptures to check out:
“ In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves.” Psalm 127:2
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” Genesis 2:2-3
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.” Exodus 20:8-10
“Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7