Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”
(Psalm 116:7, NIV)
The Lord has been so good to me. As I’ve been able to connect with other freshman this week, I’ve been reminded of God’s goodness to me. He’s been faithful. Coming home has given me a chance to reflect on the past seven weeks and to plan for the next seven weeks. There are a lot of things that I want to do better. There are a lot of ways I want to be more open to God’s leading. But before I head full-on into the second half of the semester, I need to rest.
Sometimes God forces us to rest because we need it. Other times we have to choose to rest. Right now resting is easy. My first round of midterms is over, I’ve been sick with a cold, and my body is tired from late nights. Mentally and physically I know that I need to rest. God has provided me that opportunity with fall break. It has been so long since I’ve just sat in front of the TV to watch football on a Sunday afternoon. It’s been so long since I enjoyed a day of fun without thinking about the assignments waiting for me. It’s been a long time since I slept without an alarm to wake me.
An essential part of “being” is accepting rest. In our culture, we are told that being busy is the mark of a successful life. Rather, being busy is the mark of a life that is running you (instead of allowing God to run your life). When we are busy, we have less opportunities for ministry. When we are tired, we are not as effective in loving others. Busyness and tiredness lead to irritation and frustration. We can not live in the fullness of life when we are running from place to place.
I am preaching to myself here. I have a hard time allowing myself to rest. I hate being inactive. I love productivity. Often, instead of allowing myself to rest, I fill my time with meaningless but time-consuming activities.
Better is a handful of quietness, than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.”
(Ecclesiastes 4:6, ESV)
The Message version says, “two fistfuls of worried work.” Rest is much better than worrying about your work and striving after things that you will never catch. When we become tired, we cannot work effectively. Sometimes we need to sit back when we realize that our pursuits are fruitless.
Rest is good. Rest is not a sign of weakness. Rest is a sign of wisdom.
Even God rested after He had created the world. He purposefully used the seventh day to renew Himself after a week of labor. It is important to schedule time to rest. Periods of tranquility do not happen automatically in our culture–we have to create them. Rest is renewing and life-giving. It allows us to think more clearly. Creativity stems from renewal. We are more ready to do God’s work when we are strengthened.
So allow yourself to rest today. Take some time for yourself and for God. Afterwards you’ll feel ready to take on the world.
– – Phebe