20 Sep The Gift of Rest

One year ago, my body was dying. A severe sleep disorder that was getting worse even after treatments was slowly killing me. My airway collapsed hundreds of times throughout the night, and my daytime exhaustion was overwhelming. Today, a neuro-stimulator implanted device keeps my airway open at night, and my body is finally getting hours of restorative sleep. Because of this, during the daytime, I have the energy to enjoy the world around me. A miracle!

Without proper rest, we cannot fully function in life.

You may not have a literal sleep disorder… but figuratively speaking, maybe you do.

Maybe you hardly ever rest. Instead, you run on the hamster wheel of life with no end in sight. There are so many demands on your time and energy, you are always feeling behind and barely able to keep up. In fact, you are exhausted. If this describes you, it’s time to step back and reevaluate. We aren’t designed to go on and on without refueling our bodies, minds, and souls.

In the book of Genesis, God created the universe in six days. On the seventh day, He rested and joyfully reflected on what He had made. This model is there for us for emulate. Work and rest: the healthy rhythm of life. Working continually without rest is unsustainable, and resting indefinitely without work is unfulfilling.

As we work toward living out healthier rhythms in our lives, remember these truths:

Busyness does not equal identity.

An over-scheduled life does not mean someone has more value than anyone else. I must confess, when I was more able-bodied years ago, I prided myself on my busy schedule. But this is ridiculous and outright wrong thinking. The elderly, the young, the sick, and people with special needs all have value even though they may not have their schedules packed. Our lives have value because God Himself created us and knows everything about us (Psalm 139). This is a freeing concept because we don’t have to earn our value.

Learn to say no.

In The Best Yes, Lysa TerKeurst explains how to say no to some things in order to say yes to God’s best. We don’t have to say yes to everything and everyone. Instead, we need to be intentional with our time and commitments. If we always say yes to commitments out of guilt and obligation, soon our schedules are robbed of joy and those closest to us suffer. We can say no to some – maybe much – busyness in order to say yes to a more balanced and intentional life.

Resting is an art.

For many of us, learning to rest is difficult. It doesn’t feel productive, so it is easier to save it for later. But if your cell phone is never plugged in, it never gets recharged. The same goes for us. We need to purposefully take time to quiet our hearts, minds, and souls. Resting may take practice and may look different for different people, but we will not function as well in our work if we don’t take time to rejuvenate.

In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

Breaking this verse down shows Jesus’ heart toward us.

Jesus makes this offer, but you must take a step in His direction. Pray. Journal. Read even a few minutes each day in the Bible (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John are great places to start).

To Me
You don’t have to go through rituals or a hierarchy of command. Jesus Himself is offering an invitation to you.

This is an open invitation to everyone. The religious, the non-religious. The young, elderly, single, divorced, married, widowed, anyone. All means all.

Who labor
Are you defining your worth by your schedule or your accomplishments? Are you laboring to no end? What are you placing your value in?

And are heavy laden
What burdens are you carrying? What weighs upon your heart? Offer these to God. He will help you carry loads you were never meant to carry.

And I will
This is a promise. Jesus will. That’s a definite, not a maybe.

Give you rest.
We want rest. We need rest. And our best rest comes from Jesus Himself.

God wants us to rest in Him.

Carrie Crabb lives in Overland Park with her husband Isaiah and son. She has Osteogenesis Imperfecta and blogs about life, medical challenges, and family at carriecrabb.com.

Photo by Ümit Bulut on Unsplash