Driving home the other day from work, I could hardly keep my eyes open. The week was coming to an end and the days of an alarm clock buzzing in the dark were catching up with me. I contemplated whether I would come in and make myself a tall iced coffee…or stretch out across my bed.
I realized that the thought of lying down was causing me to have anxiety. What if I actually fall asleep and don’t start dinner at our regular time? What if my husband needs to talk with me about his day? What about the things that all women do when they get home after work?
Have you ever felt this way about getting rest?
Who will do the things if I don’t do the things?
Friends, I’m learning that we have to lay this down. This thinking that everything around us hinges on our doing. This thinking that we are the ones who need to make the lists and complete the tasks all on our own.
The Bible instructs us on how to do the things. The spirit of this book is love, a love that only a father has for his children. Good fathers put up guardrails for their offspring. They set boundaries. They know what’s on the other side of those fences and desire for us to stay away. They’re protective.
And inside of those rails, a good father creates a space of joy and satisfaction. Of security and freedom. Of work and of rest.
In Mark Chapter 6, Jesus beckons His disciples to come with Him to rest in between ministering to the masses. He knew that they would be of little use to Him if they were exhausted.
In Matthew 8, after ministering all day long, Jesus boarded a boat with His disciples. Even in the midst of a terrible storm, he slept. He knew the storm would come. He knew He would be needed. He chose to lie down.
A freshly rested soul is of better use than a fatigued spirit.
Christ is clear in His Word that we have to take time to rest. He designed us to need sleep. He gives us instruction on finding a rhythm of life that doesn’t exhaust us.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
You see, when we are rested, we’re better listeners.
When we are relaxed, we are better lovers of people.
When we are still, we are more approachable.
The things that really need to be done, will be done if we place our trust in Him. And we demonstrate our trust in Him by listening to our bodies and adjusting our schedules so that we can find rest. We go to bed a little earlier. We say “no” when we’re asked to do something in the midst of an already full schedule, even if taking a nap is part of our agenda. We delegate some of our day to day tasks to our children and spouse.
It can be done. Our Good Father wouldn’t instruct us to do something and not give us the ability to do it.
When we dig into His Word and learn about all of this, we will find rest. Mental rest. Physical rest. Emotional rest.
The question really becomes, do we trust Him?
I realized that the anxiousness I was feeling was more about pleasing others than taking care of myself…and I’m responsible for this. No one else knows how I really feel except for me and my heavenly Father.
We are built to need it. God doesn’t want us to run ourselves into the ground to do His work, or anybody else’s. When we incorporate this into our routines, He will honor it.
And we will be better for it.
That rest I so desperately needed, I took it. At the end of the day, I had more attentive conversation with my husband and the dull headache I had been fighting had drifted away.
Rest. May you make room for a little today. You’ll be glad that you did.
In the midst of this season of life, help me be aware of when I need to take this rest. Whether it’s a nap, an hour on a park bench alone to collect my thoughts, or even a day spent in pajamas with unwashed hair. You set the example that I need to be rested in order to do the work in which you’ve called me to do. Wife, mother, daughter, sister, employee, ministry leader, student…I want to live out these roles…well. I come to you now, as your Word says to do, seeking rest. Thank you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen