It’s so interesting to me how we selectively obey rules. In the Old Testament, God laid down some rules to the people of Israel, 10 of which are very famous. Today, we acknowledge that many of these are good to follow, including: don’t murder, don’t steal, don’t lie, and don’t sleep with someone else’s spouse, to name a few. I think we can all agree that abstaining from these things makes our world a better place. But there are other commandments that we avoid without a second thought, like remembering to take a Sabbath day of rest.
Rest, in our society, is essentially a bad word. Our culture teaches us to go, go, go, and even when we’re tired and at the end of our rope, we should go more because otherwise life will pass you by. We’re able to work from anywhere in the world, due to the internet and the cloud, we’re always connected with social media, and information is always at our fingertips. In this day and age, we don’t know what it’s like to be disconnected. Even when we’re on vacation, we don’t get away. When was the last time you truly “lived in the moment”? How often do we get out of “the moment” because we want to stop to post what’s happening on social media? How often do notifications distract us from what we’re supposed to be focused on?
What would the world look like if we took the time to rest each week?
When I say “rest”, I mean really rest. Not, take the family to Disneyland or get all of your errands done on your day off or clean the house or sleep all day or binge watch Netflix. I mean take time to relax and meditate and have some life-giving experiences like being in nature or having real, honest conversation with family or friends.
When you’re exhausted, at the end of your rope, everything else in your life feels the strain. Relationships, productivity, and even your health is affected when rest isn’t taken, so why do we do we consistently neglect this important area of our lives?
I am so thankful for the act of rest. For those of you who’ve known me for any length of time, this is a rather shocking statement. I have spent years and years avoiding resting, seeing it as an act for the weak or thinking it was unnecessary. But, over the past few years, I’ve come to see the value of it, knowing that I am better, I am strengthened, I am encouraged, I am truly me when I’ve taken the time to rest. I am thankful for rest and thankful for my journey learning the importance of rest in my everyday life.
Lord, you created the world and everything in it, but thought enough about us to rest to set an example for us. Forgive us for the times that we’ve neglected rest, forsaking it for other things. Thank you for making rest necessary for us so we’ll intentionally seek you. Thank you for meeting us in our exhaustion. Help us learn to rest well and rest in you. Amen!