I sat across from the younger woman and as we enjoyed our lunch, I said “My plate is literally empty.”
Ironically, I wasn’t referring to the plate resting on the table in front of me but rather the squares on my calendar, the to-do list, and the usual stack of files on the corner of my desk. In that moment, while sitting in a dimly lit booth at my favorite lunch spot, I had admittedly wrapped up many things but had no taste of what was yet to come. It wasn’t long until I was enjoying unsolicited rest – No alarm clocks, no deadlines to meet, no face-to-face appointments. Make no mistake at what I’m sharing here; life is good and there was nothing that I was running away from. I did not feel the need for a break. Nevertheless, God saw fit and in the spring of the year, he gave me rest.
Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength. – Charles Spurgeon
Can you admit that human creatures have limits?
When we willingly rest, we are trusting God as Sovereign. We are letting go of the busyness of self-sufficiency and acknowledging everything is not in my control. We are surrendering the clock and the calendar and trusting in God’s purposes. We were created as finite creatures and a prideful attitude denies our innate need for rest.
WHAT DRIVES YOUR CALENDAR?
Our world has a distorted view of rest. When we give way to societal rest, we have rest in earthly possessions and activities. Societal rest holds people in awe and we become mastered by them instead of the contentment God provides. Social media’s peer pressure promotes envious fear – the fear of missing out. Envy’s comparison calls us to be more and do more, to measure up. Comparison drives our calendars and consumes our energy. The apostle Paul exhorts people to think on things that are good, true, and beautiful. Right thinking brings peace and cultivates rest.
"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you." - Php 4:8-9
IS YOUR TIME AND ENERGY CONTROLLED BY THIS WORLD?
When people lack rest they suffer physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. A critical part of experiencing deep rest is to examine the mind, heart, and will. Barriers to rest begin in the mind. Rooted in fear, worry, anxiety, and dread, these obstacles become a vicious cycle. Professor Alan Noble of Oklahoma Baptist University writes: Time can come to be seen as the currency of our lives, and with whatever we purchase with that coinage, we define and redeem our existence…By resting and refusing to participate in the rat race, we act in faith that God will care for us and that this race is no path to salvation. We can enter rest when our peace is Jesus Christ who is the means and the end. To rest fully is to anchor the mind upon Jesus and the perfect future that awaits all who follow him.
"If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory." The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Col 3:1–4.
Faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it.
Allowing God’s Word to work over us lays the groundwork for rest. We need to routinely spend time in the Word while examining heart motives: Where are the areas of my life where pride has rooted and manifested? Do I trust Him fully or am I hooked on the busyness of self-sufficiency? Honest confession and repentance with a genuine, renewed commitment fosters rest.
"Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect." - Rom. 12:2