From Restless to Restful – The Difficult Art of Rest

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Stopping to rest is not something I’m particularly good at. I tend to live in “hyper-drive” most of the time, shifting from one task to the other without pausing to reflect – or breathe.

Take today, for example. I had extra vacation time at work, and decided to take a few days off while my supervisor is out of the country. Instead of basking in the glory of lounging at home, however, I woke up feeling guilty for not being at work and desperate to find a long list of tasks to fill my day. Finally, my wife had to stop me. “It’s okay to relax every once in a while,” she said with a knowing smile.

As I considered these wise words, I realized that it’s more than okay to rest from time to time – we are specifically commanded to do so in Scripture!

Genesis 2:2 tells us that “By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”

Did the God of the Universe need to rest? Was he exhausted, weary, or spent? Of course not! But He felt it was important to leave an example for us to follow from the very dawn of Creation.

Later, a weekly day of rest was required as part of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11), and Jesus called all who were weary and burdened to come to Him so He could give them rest (Matthew 11:28; I Peter 5:7). This happens at the moment of salvation, but should also be a daily occurrence for Christians. When was the last time you set time aside to spend with Jesus, so He could provide rest and refreshment for your mind and spirit?

But Satan, that Great Deceiver, doesn’t want us refreshed in spirit. No, he wants us to move through life at such a frantic pace, and with so many distractions, that we’re knocking on death’s door before we know it, and before we’ve truly made a difference for our Lord. And he’s doing a marvelous job, isn’t he?

Today, take some time for quiet reflection – for rest – pure, simple, and guilt-free. You might be surprised at how the Lord is able to speak to you during these downtimes, and at how productive these “breaks” end up becoming.

If God Himself was able to take an entire day to rest and reflect on all He had created, then the message for us is plain. In the words of a very wise woman, “It’s okay to relax every once in a while!”

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