Getting quiet even before the hustle gets too loud, choosing silence even before the overwhelm sets in.
In our modern world, it’s quite easy to forget that one of the commandments that our Creator gives is: “[Earnestly] remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy (withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God).”
I think it is also easy to take a “sabbath”, but not really enter into the rest that God is desiring for us. If we go back to the very beginning of human creation, Adam’s first full day on earth was a day of rest. Rest is clearly something designed by God and is something that He engages in himself and invites us to engage in as well.
But what does it look like to really rest? Is it sitting down to binge watch our favourite Netflix show? Is it scrolling aimlessly through our phones? Is it religiously not cooking or sweeping the floor on Sabbath? What is rest, really?
Our english dictionary defines it as ‘ceasing from work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.’ While this may be true to an extent, I believe it to be so much more. I also think that this definition may sometimes encourage our hustle behaviour which can easily become toxic and lead to being overworked.
For true rest is not collapsing after a long day because your brain and your body just can’t take it anymore. That is exhaustion.
True rest, to me, is the place where God’s very presence surrounds, refreshes and speaks to us. It is a place we choose purposefully. It is something that we must fight for.
We are invited into a covenantal, moment by moment relationship with the very Creator of our bones and flesh. And it is in that space of intimacy that rest is found - even when the waters rise above our chest and our breath quickens and our insides shake at the great height of the oncoming waves, the oncoming anxiety. Yet, we are called to peace in this place of chaos, His invitation is forever open to us to simply rest in the living water, letting go of the fear of the waves.
Once we step into this place of resting regardless of our surroundings, our circumstances - our whole world begins to transform.
I believe rest starts with a simple ‘yes’ to pursuing the depths of God. The schedule, our calling, our questions, the doubts, the insecurities, the pain - it all must come into alignment with the Truth. And this starts simply with a choice in your current moment. A moment to moment choice to pursue covenant. Once you start here, the rest begins to naturally fall into place.
Rest is a lot less about being curated, beautiful or even organized and a lot more about finding the quietness within His Spirit so that He may quiet our own chaotic soul.
And it will always look different for each of us, in all the many seasons of our life.
Rest might be crying for 10 minutes each day over a long suffered disappointment.
Rest can be drinking coffee as you admire the way the morning sun plays on your skin.
Rest can be walking through wet grass in your bare feet, uncomfortable as skin meets wet earth.
Rest can be letting the soft cheek of the child you bore fall upon your chest and letting the tasks you thought you should accomplish fall away as their breath whispers across your skin in deep sleep.
Rest can be picking a flower and examining each part of it - taking in its delicate, intricate design.
Rest might be closing your eyes in a room full of loved ones and merely listening; gratitude pouring over.
It may not look how you expected it to or even wanted it to look, but you will find rest in Him if you choose to seek it out.
When you quiet your soul and find rest in the peace & presence of your Creator, the long day at work doesn’t seem so daunting, washing dishes and doing laundry becomes sweet, in the midst of an argument with your spouse - your mind remembers who God is and who you are because of Him. Your perspective becomes larger, your eyes are unclouded.
I would encourage you to start by identifying the ways that you rest and then ask yourself why you aren’t choosing those things. I think it is a lie that we are too busy for rest. Rest is a beautiful gift from our God and denying it in the Old Testament resulted in death. For us in this time, it still results in death manifesting in us in the form of internal chaos, physical sickness and spiritual immaturity when we do not give our bodies and souls the rest it was actually created for.
Can you imagine the abundance, the fullness, the deep breaths you would experience if you entered into this sacred rest each day? As we rest in the rest that was already created for us, we are opening ourselves to His work, His beauty and His heart. We are preparing ourselves to be transformed and thus being equipped to help transform others.
Let’s be still now, child, and enter into His rest.