[mk_dropcaps style="fancy-style"]E[/mk_dropcaps]veryone loves a little rest and relaxation. With Thanksgiving and Christmas on our doorstep, we often feel more stretching and more stress than other times of the year. Therefore, it is wise to adopt the art of slowing down to rest our mind, our body and our spirit. Personally, there have been a few changes in my life recently that have had a deep impact on my heart and mind. They range from one of my closest friends facing some weighty health complications, to big shifts toward dreams and desires I have held close to my heart for a long time. I am intentionally vague now but will address the specifics of these stories as they unfold in the months to come. These changes remind me to hold fast to the principles of seasons. You cannot rush through a season from start to finish, rather we must willingly ride them. In every season there is a strength the season is building, a need to submit the struggles to God, and a requirement to speak life about where you are and where you are going.
When my father was in the ICU for the first time right after becoming paralyzed I experienced the typical shock that comes with a high impact situation. Instead of going to God, keep in mind I was not in church at this time, my default was hyper-performance. I had to be on my A game. What needed to be done? What solutions did we need to come up with? What were all the potential outcomes?
I vividly remember laying down one night shortly after my father was put in an induced coma and a strange sense of helplessness passed over me. Yet at the same time I had the effects of adrenaline and other stress hormones coursing through my body. I was both exhausted and over stimulated. My thoughts were running at a machine gun’s pace through all the “what if’s.” Needless to say sleep was an illusion that night. I am not really sure if I did or not.
Looking back, I see the purpose of such high stress was to begin to break down my pride for me to return back to my one source of true rest. Jesus. You can only ride the waves of stress and what hormones and chemicals it triggers in your body so long before you crash physically. Much less the atrophy that sets in emotionally and spiritually if you don’t feed on the right things.
To be present with God means to rest in Him. We must step out from under the pressures of life and be open to receive the kind of rest only God can give.
God’s rest is:
Complete- for mind, body and spirit
This is not the kind of rest we can get by sleeping alone. It is found in the presence of God. When you look into scripture the only way to get this kind of rest is to seek after and draw close to Jesus. When you can rest and be present with Jesus your capacity with people will be a natural byproduct.
In Psalms 23: 2 He is leading you as a shepherd does his sheep.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]
He makes me to lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside the still waters.
In Matthew 11:28-29, we see the Lord encouraging us to go to Him for rest in times of burnout.
[mk_blockquote style="line-style" font_family="none" text_size="16" align="center"]Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.[/mk_blockquote]
I cannot say enough just how crucial rest is. In Burnout, the value of sleep as a method of prevention for burnout was established, but this is taking that one step further. The rest sleep gives is predominately physical. Yes, it helps to a point on an emotional level to reset things, but there is no better rest for our heart, mind and spirit than the presence of God. The effect of God’s presence is rest that is like concentrated sleep.
When we rest in the Lord, what is difficult (while still work) will have an ease. When we face things we are unsure how to handle, we have the guidance of the creator directing us in the next thing. Let God lead you here and by the power of the Holy Spirit you will see circumstances in your life radically change. If you are at all performance driven I caution you that you will probably feel agitated at first in doing this. But go anyway. Push through the discomfort because on the other side is a supernatural rest.
Before I wrap up I want to be sure you caught the key point in ALL of this. To have the depth of rest you need the one key you must apply is seeking God. Draw close to Him and he draws close to you. To be present with others and fully able to engage requires your presence first be spent in the rest of the Lord. Learning from Him, leaning on him. See how that shifts the mode you operate in.
More effort does not always equal a better outcome. Seek God first and seize your rest.