find your rest.
Happy Wednesday! I pray that your day is going well and that you find yourself enjoying the last few months of the summer season (crazy, right?!). I'm pretty sure school will be here before we know it and the classic routine will return in no time...I am pretty excited (post to come later on what the fall holds for me!).
So rest huh? Yeah, rest. It's been a constant theme in my own life over the past 3 years, and more specifically the past 3 months. Man oh man is rest important. It comes in so many different forms, and I think perhaps the beauty of it is that we all experience it differently.
When I was in high school, I had a reminder in the back of my head every time I said "yes" to something. It was: this will help your future. this will look good on a resume. this will look good in university. I signed up for athletics, AP courses, leadership initiatives, and the list goes on. I look back, and those things spurred my passions and aided in the formation of my heart, but I left high school burned out. I remember returning from my grade 12 spring break (in El Salvador :P) feeling even MORE tired than I had going into it. As my Law and History 12 teacher said, "Katie, you're burning the candle at both ends". I couldn't stop saying "yes" to things and learned the hard way by getting sick, getting physically injured and keeping myself back from giving 100% to life.
I took those words from my Law teacher to heart and considering it greatly going into my first year of university...I decided that I would do my sport and focus on academics along finding a good church to click into. That was fine and dandy until my second and third year came along...I felt the urge to make sure I wasn't missing out on anything. I committed. And I mean I WAY over-committed. Remember Bilbo in Lord of the Rings saying, "I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread"? Yeah, that was me...sans Tolkien-esque atmosphere.
This summer has taught me so so much about learning to rest, and more specifically, resting in the Lord. First of all, the Bible itself talks about rest. It speaks mountains on the topic, and the Sabbath in particular. Remember that part in the Bible where God creates humanity and the world as we know it? Yeah, that part is prettttyyyy important. He had a pretty good idea of what rest looked like (Gen 2:2-3). So, God was genius and created a whole day for us to kick back and relax...now what?
There are always two extremes of every spectrum...and pastor Mark Clark from Village Church (Surrey) made a really great point a few weeks ago regarding this spectrum. There are people who NEED the Sabbath to remind them that they need to slow down, and others to remind them that they need to get up and do something. I am approaching this spectrum from the "doing too much" angle...
How to rest?
It's clear that we are made to rest on days other than Sundays...days other than church days...days other than quiet and down days. Alongside this idea of letting our physical bodies slow down, our minds can slow down too from the dosage of screentime and verbal conversation. There comes this cycle as well of leaning into Him more by trusting Him with our rest. My sister said in a conversation this week, "when we stress about life or not getting things done on time, it causes unrest...I remind myself that I have to surrender hand-in-hand my trust and my rest".
Like I said earlier, this rest comes in many different ways, and silencing our bodies and minds are two different things but can also be done at the same time. Some people rest by simply sleeping, others by reading a book. For myself, I find rest in Christ when I am both physically secure and mentally prepared. I have 3 simple questions and ideas (that I often ask myself) on how to prioritize the right space and time for rest.
- Simply put, am I physically tired? Personally, I find it difficult to give my all and be myself when I am tired. By doing so, I untruthfully make myself feel guilty for not committing 100%.
- Am I content in the Lord? How am I surrending my daily life to Him? He calls us to continually surrender everything, including our rest, to Him! We are reminded that as we surrender, we are filled with the Holy Spirit.
- Have I paused at all today? Have you stopped for even 10 seconds and navigated how you are feeling both physically and mentally?
Pausing and considering our priorities in regards to rest is key! God doesn't say anywhere in the Bible not to do stuff, and do lots of it...in fact He encourages us to engaged and become involved with our own lives and the lives around us so that we are better equipped to spread the Gospel. God DOES call us into covenant relationship with Him and this means connecting and finding time in His word and heart. Simply put, that takes time.
Ideas on how to seek out rest:
- Write in a journal! Guys can do this too, it isn't just for girls! I am quite a bit biased since I LOVE writing, but generate a safe place for you to connect with your Father. This might look like a binder filled with loose-leaf paper, or it might be a leather-bound journal you picked up at Indigo...the choice is yours. The important thing is that you do write! I can't tell you how many times I have experienced something and then proceeded with life as if nothing happened, only to forget the minuscule details of that encounter...an encounter that I had dubbed "very important". Now, I document it and have something to go back to...something to laugh about, and sometimes even cry about, but always a way for me to let my Father know what's up.
- Sit somewhere and take in the scenery. This might sound odd, but I don't think we do this enough. We are connected to our smartphones 24/7 (I am very guilty of this) and by unplugging and resting our bodies, we are able to be silent with the Lord. I have talked about this in past posts. We don't necessarily need to be seeking out verbal confirmation from God, but we do have the ability to spend time in His creation.
- Organize my "to-do" list by assigning a few tasks each day...this makes it seem less daunting and creates a nice schedule for your week. I find a lot with the job that I currently have, that if I don't plan something ahead of time, it doesn't get happen. Each Sunday night, take ten minutes, peruse your "to-do" list and add reminders into a calendar.
- Surprise! I added a quick 4th - find an accountability partner. Instruct them to remind you to rest. I am quick to say that I do not need this, but I honestly do. I think at home I had it built in - my mom was quick to observe that I was looking drudged down or sloth-ish. Living by yourself, you can still elect a few close friends or family members to kindly remind you that you need either zzz's or just time alone in the presence of God.
One last reminder is that these ideas work great alongside devotional prayer time. Each morning (or night) I allot part of your day to dig into the Word and jot some thoughts down for the day or week. This sets you up for general thoughts during the week, but keeps you grounded and connected on your Father. And who knows, it might be a solid conversation starter?
Back to grade 12...I was introduced to a concept called "FOMO"...the "fear of missing out". I have sincerely struggled with this immensely this past summer...I never thought I would hear that dreadful word again. Donald Miller writes that, the "root of sin is the desire for control....the root of control is fear". We legitimately have nothing to fear when we rest - everything will get done in it's time and while we can control the controllables (coach Rob speaking there), God carries us through the rest. This summer I have wanted to say "yes" to so many things...and I have planned to do so many activities (there's a lot of space for activities here in Vancouver :P) but everything has it's place and time.
I pray that you find rest in the Lord in these next few weeks and if not, at least entertain the idea that rest is good and very much needed.