I tend to feel guilty when I rest. There’s this idea that runs around in my head that says if I’m not busy, I’m doing something wrong.
I don’t think I’m the only one. I'm sure there are many of us who often feel obligated to keep up the appearance of busy-ness to maintain respect, support, and approval. The problem is that we can easily buy into the lie that busy-ness equals fruitfulness. We embrace the belief that resting is a sign of weakness and eventually spin our wheels to the point of a severe crash and burn. I must admit it’s a subtle yet strategic ploy of the enemy.
We need to take a breath.
Take another one.
Rest has been a part of God’s plan from the beginning of time.
By the seventh day, God had finished his work.
On the seventh day, he rested from all his work.
God blessed the seventh day.
He made it a Holy Day.
Because on that day he rested from his work, all the creating God had done.
- Genesis 2:2-4 (The Message)
God set a pattern for life that requires room to cease from our laboring and just reflect. He even included a day of rest as one of the ten commandments.
Rest reminds us that we are not God.
When we rest, we are saying to God that we need Him.
Rest puts us in a position of trust. It doesn't just restore and renew us; it is an act of worship. Ceasing from our labor to rest and reflect (even when there's a LOT to do) is what God desires.
Remember the whole Mary/Martha issue that Jesus had to sort out?
As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”
The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”
- Luke 10:38-42 (The Message)
I am learning to take a Sabbath every week. Not only when I need it or when it’s convenient. I have to schedule it. Otherwise, the temptation to occupy myself with "stuff" will quietly begin to access my mental control panel.
I am also learning to take micro-Sabbaths throughout my day. I have a reminder on my phone that announces every hour that I need to take a break. I use those times to take deep breaths and enjoy God’s nearness. I will admit that I’m not always faithful to the hourly reminder, but it certainly has helped me to draw nearer to Him throughout the day.
Let me encourage you to do something intentional that leads you to rest. Schedule your day of disconnect right now. Circle it on your calendar. Set your phone to remind you several times a day to stop, breathe, and be still. For busy people like us, it may feel counter-intuitive. Let me assure you that it isn’t. It’s holy.
We can’t minister without rest, because the rest IS ministry.