Today, after a very long time of waiting, the state of Georgia got snow. Snow in Georgia means we are not equipt for the icy roads like those in the north are, therefore, we close most of everything down just to be careful (and with my driving record and clumsiness, I can't blame them!). Being gratefully stuck at home I had all these plans made up in my mind of things to "catch up on", on things I could do more of. I planned on doing some writing, working on some assignments for different ministries I work with, running, working out, cleaning up my room a bit, etc. And just about none of those got all done today.
I woke up feeling extremely sore, both of my legs were a painful sore that made it very difficult to walk, my back was hurting, I was exhausted. Apparently, I was really excited the two days before at all my workout classes, stayed up too late writing, and today I was definitely feeling the effects of not enough rest. I already knew that this "list" of things to do in my head was not going to be accomplished all today. In frustration, I tried to work past it, I tried to do some exercises, some walking at least if I couldn't run, and I quickly found that I simply could not do it today. I was aching for rest.
Often times we get so caught up in doing things, even good things, and we end up drained, grumpy, and selfish. We have poured out so much without being filled up. You can't keep running on empty. You can't keep scrapping for something inside you that isn't there. As a Christian, and someone who has been in and worked with ministry my whole life, I've seen this all too often in my own personal life as well as others.
We get burnt out because we aren't burning with passion for the One who put us in these blessed positions. We ache and we get snappy with others when we keep going 100 miles an hour without a stop for rest. Is rest the equivalent of being lazy? No. Rest is being active. It is actively knowing that you cannot run on your own strength, that you need to be filled, that you can't do it on your own. We all need time to rest, to rest in God's presence. To be filled again in that place of rest.
Often times when we think of days of rest we think of doing the things we like to do, like being on social media, hanging out with friends, binge-watching Netflix, whatever. But true rest, lasting rest, isn't just something you do that you just enjoy. Rest is setting aside specific time to do nothing else but simply rest. This is something we should not only do every week but every day, we should set aside specific time for actively resting in the presence of God.
Just as we set aside time every night to get physical rest, to sleep, we should have set aside time every single day to rest our sprinting brains, our restless legs, our shifting emotions, our spiritual desires, and to just be with God, to rest in His arms. To just be with Him. Resting in God's presence is the only rest that fills you up to overflow and sustains you not just physically and mentally but most importantly spiritually. It is the only kind of rest that keeps you going even when you are physically weary.
As our bodies need rest, our souls need rest. As a child of God, yes, you already have God with you, in you everywhere you go, you can always be resting in Him... but God blesses you in that secret place, that set aside place and time you make every day to be with just Him and no one else to soak in His presence, to be filled with His spirit, and to rest in Him, His love, His faithfulness, His goodness.
Goals are good, it is always a good idea to have a goal for your day. But more important than that, is your time with the one Who blessed you with the opportunities to have to plan and have goals. If all we are doing is a bunch of tasks but not living in God's love and presence and by His spirit, then we have completely lost the point of everything we are doing, we are simply doing things with the wrong motives, with a drive that is not sustainable or life-changing for anyone.
God delights in your set aside time with Him, in the secret place of just you and Him. Take time today and every day to just soak up that true soul-rest. You will find so much more purpose and love in your day when you are first filled with and by God and His presence which gives you real, true rest.
"He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake." Psalm 23:2-3
"Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken." Psalm 62:1-2
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty."
"Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord watches over the city, the guards stand watch in vain. In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for He grants sleep to those He loves." Psalm 127:1-2
"So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest." Hebrews 4:9-11
"The Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will give rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light." Matthew 11:28-30