So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs. ~ Hebrews 4:9
“I don’t want to rest. That makes me feel really sad,” a young mother told me. With two young children, a new husband, and an exciting full-time job, resting felt like giving up or giving in. There was work to be done and she wanted to be doing it. To her, resting felt like resignation.
But life must cycle between work and rest. After a time of building we need a time to recover. And the process of rebuilding, which goes on in us throughout our lives, requires both breaking down and building up. Ironically, it’s work that breaks us down and rest that builds us back up. Without rest, there is just breakdown.
Work and rest are not opposites but aggregates, each necessary for the full expression of the other. While working to “get life right” is essential to the Christian life, resting from our work is God-commanded for a reason. The world often urges us to hurry along, yet we need only look to the example of our God who spent the seventh day resting from the work done in creation, not because God needed to take a breather, but because God knew we would.
In each of us, God has crafted a blueprint for our completion and provided the raw materials for its accomplishment. We are continuously being built and rebuilt us according to God’s timing and specifications. Filled with the Holy Spirit, our bodies host the meeting of our heart, soul, mind, and strength as our construction proceeds. In the rhythm of work and rest, hearts squeeze and release, lungs inspire and expire, minds figure and fiddle, muscles contract and relax. While all systems are go, they are not always going full blast. There is a rhythm to all of life. Rest is what allows us to keeps the beat.
- Be early to every activity on your calendar and allow extra time transitioning to the next thing. Allow things to take their time.
- How did it feel? To whom did you give your extra time? What did the extra time give to you?
- Not all rest is the same. Passive (do nothing) rest is better for healing. Active (gentle movement) rest is better for recovery from effort, gradually returning the body to a state of readiness. Did allowing extra time feel active or passive to you?
- Was allowing extra time easy or difficult? Did the experience surprise you? How?
- What is God showing you about rest? About time? About this time in your life? What do you think God did while God was resting?
God of the seventh day, slow me when my desire to accomplish and build has me rushing from one thing to the next. Remind me that your natural rhythm of rest and renewal is essential to keeping all things in working order. The me you are making will be accomplished in your good time. Thank you for your patience while I am under construction. Amen.