I can almost set my clock by the way that I feel each night. Without fail, at about 9 pm my body and mind are screaming at me to step away from the busyness of the day and just rest. There are days when I’m only halfway down the list of “to-dos”, but even so, most nights I put that list away and just stop. My body and mind are craving downtime and should I try to keep pushing through, the current project does not even come close to getting the best of me. Knowing this, I attempt to listen to and trust what I’m instinctively being told is best for me and I put it all away until morning when my sleepy eyes are a little less foggy.
But then there are those times when I feel like I just can’t lay it down. I want to complete the task that I started and I tell myself that I will feel such relief once it’s complete even if it’s at the expense of what my body is telling me it needs. So, I push through the exhaustion, and I check the box complete. The result the morning after is that I’m tired, frustrated, and sleepy. I may have completed the list for the prior day but now the motivation for the day at hand just isn’t there.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters." Psalm 23:1-2
David, the writer of this Psalm, at the time was most likely a King, though he hadn’t forgotten what it meant to be the shepherd for his father’s sheep. Because of this experience, David knew firsthand what it meant to protect his herd. He fully recognized that he indeed was the one that knew what was best for them –their wellbeing, their health, their safety, and their REST. He knew that without this direction and guidance, left to themselves, the sheep had absolutely no hope of survival and they would surely die. David’s proclamation of who God is from his reliable point of view paints a picture of the level of trust he had in the Lord’s abilities
Resting goes against every part of our fast-paced society. We’re held to a standard where quantity seems to mean more than quality. We abuse our bodies and minds in pursuit of meeting the seemingly impossible deadlines that have been set before us. We push ourselves to the max and then wonder why we are left unfulfilled and struggling. We make excuses and point fingers in an attempt to not address that the real problem in fact has more to do with our hearts than our schedules. Maybe David struggled with the busyness of the life of being a King –I’m not quite sure we know the answer to that, but I find it ironic that He said that the Lord makes him lie down in green pastures and leads him beside still waters. Who wouldn’t give of their time to be lying in the solitude of a beautiful green pasture or enjoying the safety of the calm still waters?
As I sat and thought how lovely it would be in that place, the truth came at me like a flying dart. God offers us this peace and serenity when we step away from all the demands, hurts, and heartaches of the broken world that we live in. This rest equips us and prepares us to approach life with renewed strength while helping us to focus and seek His perfect plan for our lives. God knew that we would need this rest from the very beginning. After six days which he magnificently orchestrated the entire world that we live in, He set the seventh day to be a day of REST. Did God need a day to rest? Nope –He did however know that we would need it and here he set an example as He portrayed the magnitude of its importance.
So, what is the purpose of resting in our Savior?
Spiritual rest prepares us for what lies ahead.
It equips us to handle the unknowns.
It strengthens our faith as we sit at the feet of the Almighty God
It focuses our mind on His plans instead of our own.
It fills our hearts and renews our souls with the steadfast love of our Father.
Are you struggling to find the time to step away and rest in the Almighty? I will tell you that it is a discipline that takes intentionality and, in most cases, planning on your part. We make an unnumbered amount of plans throughout the duration of each day, but so many times we leave out the most important part –quiet time with God. My heart is to encourage you to incorporate time into each day to step away from the hectic pace of this life and sit in solitude with the only One who can offer you meaningful REST.
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