I frequently talk with people about rest and what that looks like in their life, In our conversation, they get a far off look in their eyes, and I sense a yearning to slow down and be quiet. In our 24/7 world, we so often ignore the signs and symptoms of our need for rest. If we don’t discover the treasure of rest, our lives end up overwhelmed, overworked, burned out, frustrated and discouraged.
You probably have several things you consider to be rest, but the core of all rest is solitude, stillness, and silence. Being alone with God in a place that has no distractions, withdrawing from the storm of life to a place where you cease striving, or refraining from creating noise or from speaking, so that you can hear the whisper of God are all opportunities for rest. Rest can also be a great nap!
Recognizing the Value of Rest
Jesus told the story of the man who was willing to trade all he had for a pearl of great value.(Mat 13:44-45) The allegory taught that the Kingdom of God was a treasure, but that few people would recognize its value and live accordingly. Discovering the treasure wasn’t about what he had to give up, it was about what he gained. Have you discovered the treasure of rest? What are you trading rest for?
- If I just keep going, I can make more money, get more done, etc.
- If I just do one more thing, then I can rest…
- If I just had more time, then ….
The man who purchased the pearl knew he gained far more than he gave up. What do you gain when you rest? God does things in the heart of a leader that only get done in quiet. If you fail to rest, you miss out on all that God has for you. It’s in solitude , silence, and stillness that we hear some of God’s most important messages for us and we learn just how much He loves us. What have you gained from a recent time of rest? Here are just a few of the things you might gain:
- communion with God (Rev 3:20)
- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Gal 5:22)
- your weakness becomes a platform for His strength (2 Cor 12:9)
- freedom (2 Cor 3:17)
- calm in the midst of the storms of life(Mat 8:26),
- joy that overflows (Psalm 84:12) and
- your soul is restored (Psalms 23:3).
Practical Steps to Help You Choose Rest
- Focus on what you gain when you rest. Make a list. (My soul finds rest in God alone… Psalm 62:1 (NIV 1984). Then compare the blessings you’ve listed to the overwhelmed world you currently experience.
- Choose what’s most important – Answer this question, “What’s most important in my life for me and my family?” Make a list of the things you spend time doing. Do they align with what’s most important in your life? Do they honor God? Knowing what’s most important helps you know when to say yes.
- Count the cost of saying yes. When you say yes to something someone asks you to do, you are actually saying no to something else. When asked, thank them for asking and then let them know you will pray about it. This gives you time to lay the request before our Lord and to carefully consider what you should do. It will also keep you from saying yes under the pressure of the moment. Ask yourself how you’ll feel when the time comes to do what they’ve asked. Will you look forward to it, or will you regret having said yes? What will you not be able to do because you said yes?
Rest is a treasure waiting to be discovered. God rested on the seventh day. When do you rest?