Finding Rest

Rest.  

Why is that word seem so hard to achieve nowadays?  

I am not sure about you, but with three kids, a growing/travel full career and ministry, rest seems far from reach for me.  

We all seem to understand the importance of unwinding, resting and taking a break, but we don't seem to make it a priority or even see the importance in it. And even if we do take that break, are we really taking that time to recharge ourselves? Are we really clearing our minds? Are we really stepping away for a bit?  

Check out this mind blowing infographic on America's busyness epidemic. 

Crazy right?  

Since the beginning of man's existence God has made rest a major priority. Read Genesis 1 and 2. He even made it a commandment. Read Exodus 20-8-11. That's how important rest was for God. 

In no way do I have it all together and in many occasions I too seem to get myself entangled in the busyness of life, but in my recent trip to the Bahamas I learned something.  

When I take care of myself, I then become better and am in a better place to be more effective in my responsibilities. I am also in a better position to take care of others and am also in better connection with God and His will for my life.  

Check out what Paul writes:

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
— Romans 12:2

I have always come across this verse, but in regards to this issue, this verse spoke to me very differently.  

Do not conform to the pattern of this world... I always read that in regards to separating oneself to sin and it does have some play into that, but I also believe it speaks into the arena of rest and rejuvenation. 

Americans are working more today than ever before, but it seems like productivity is either on a slight increase or at no increase whatsoever.  

Why is that?  

We have forgotten that quantity does not equal quality. Doing more does not necessarily mean that you are being more effective and getting more results. We shoot for more with average results, rather than above average results with a few.  

More is not always better.  

Less is not always better. 

But a better you is always better.  

A better you will equal a better result in your career, family, health and overall life. Each of us have our limitations and we need to know when we are reaching the cap or even exceeding it.  

And when that happens we need to call timeout, ASAP! 

Let me put it to you this way, even the almighty God himself needed a break. Genesis 2:2-3.

So if God himself rested on the seventh day, what makes you think you are except from it? We cannot conform. We cannot just accept or settle for whatever life throws are way.  

We need to take a break and recharge.  We need to make it a priority in our lives. 

This is way easier said than done and please don't misinterpret what I am saying and leave town tonight and abandon your kids, spouse or responsibilities. That is not the point I am trying to make. The point I am trying to make today is that you need to find a way to escape for a bit.  

Whether that is taking an extra hour before work to go to the nearest coffee shop and read a book. 

Or actually taking your full lunch break to unplug from work and meditate.   

Or maybe taking that overdue vacation.  

You know what you need to do. You just have to do it.  

I did it. I took my long four year overdue vacation and it was exactly what my mind and body needed. My wife and I spent our time at the Bahamas and literally did nothing but rest. And do you want to know something, IT FELT GOOD! 

No kids.  

No emails.

No client calls.  

No reports. 

What did I do? You might ask.  

I rested. 

I rested my body. 

I rested my mind.  

You might be wondering if I felt bad for leaving my kids or not answering emails. Or if this whole resting things seemed inconsiderate and selfish of me. My answer to that is NO! Why would I feel bad or selfish in investing in myself?

In order to give my best I have to be my best.

I said it earlier, but when a person is at a healthy position and fully recharged, then they have the ability to help others. They then have the ability to become more effective in and through their surroundings.

I want to leave you with one more thing from the same verse, Romans 12:2. The final half of the verse goes on to say "...but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”

What if I told you that by renewing your mind you would be able to know God's will for your life and begin to see God purpose being fulfilled in your life?  

This is what the bible says not me. 

"...Renew your mind, THEN you will be able to test and approve what God's will is..." 

How do you renew your mind? By resting, but even more, finding rest in God.   

Please don't think that resting can only be done in a vacation setting. Finding rest is something that we all have the ability to do daily in God's presence. 

Jesus said it best, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." - Matthew 11:28

True rest is available at any time, it's just up to us to go after it.

I challenge every person that is reading this to make a decision to not conform and settle to the ways of this world. Know your limits and boundaries. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and then you will begin to find God's perfect will for your life.  

Remember that your cup most be full in order to pour out into others and be fully effective in all that you do. If you are empty then you have nothing to give and you will be ineffective.  

 

Questions to Reflect 

How long has it been since you have taken a true vacation or break and separated yourself from your daily life?  

What can you do in your daily life to find opportunities of rest?  

What might you need to take away or stop to make rest a priority in your life?  

Have you truly ever found rest in God? If not, I then invite you to open your heart and say this prayer. 

Dear Lord, I come to you today and I invite you into my heart. I give you my weariness, burdens and sins. I lay them down at your feet. I ask for your peace, rest and forgiveness to abide within me from this day forward. I make you my Lord and Savior and receive your Salvation. Renew my mind, transform my life and let me begin to see your purpose in my life. Thank you. In Jesus name, Amen.