Journal Entry ~ 10/30/17

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." - Matthew 11:28-30

Reflecting today on our need to rest.   Our culture doesn’t value rest the way God values rest.  No, our world values accomplishments and a busy schedule over rest - the more you get done, the more worthy you are. The problem is there are so many things we need to accomplish in any given week to earn that title of worthy, that we can often feel overwhelmed when we look at our packed schedules, much less when we try to move through them.  We're either boasting about our busy schedule, or we're complaining about it - boasting about it to earn those accolades from others, or complaining that we have way too much on our plates.  

We have responsibilities for our job that spill over into our free time, our culture demands our children participate in at least one activity and that they have a well-rounded social life, school heaps on additional scheduling conflicts, including homework, we also have aging parents that need to be cared for, and don’t forget we need to get the house cleaned and dinner on the table and the car needs to be fixed....and that’s not even a busy day. Work is a good thing - God calls us to work for Him, and to work with all our might. But He also calls us to rest - in fact, He designed and instructed us to rest in the very creation of the world.  God didn’t rest on the 7th day because He needed a break, God rested on the 7th day to show us the importance of incorporating a rhythm of rest into our schedules. He goes so far as to promise blessings if we observe rest (Deuteronomy 15:4-6) and curses if we do not (Deuteronomy 28:15).  God knows how important this rest is to our bodies, our hearts, and our minds...the question is whether or not we are observing His command to rest in our lives.  Are we experiencing the blessings of choosing to rest, or are we struggling with the curses of not choosing to rest?

When we are feeling overwhelmed, or we notice mounting feelings of discouragement or anxiety, consider it a red flag that we need to rest. If conflict is increasing in our lives, or we’re struggling with the growing trials we encounter, it’s an indicator that we need to look at our hectic schedule. Here’s a hard-hitting truth —> God promises to fill us with all the strength we need to face the day in front of us, but that is only if we also observe the rhythm of rest He created for us. He designed us with the need to take a break from all our labor and striving, and to rest in Him. 

God knows we need to step away from the chaos of the world on a very regular basis and spend time with Him, allowing Him to refresh and renew us. The time to rest allows us to put all our strivings into perspective - are we struggling to accomplish the things He wants us to accomplish, or have we taken over our list again? We have such a tendency to trust in our own self-sufficiency and ability to provide for our own needs. When we pack our schedules, it’s because we are trying to accomplish more, or we are trying to fix or solve, or we are trying to keep up with the world’s expectations of us; and in all that striving, we take the reins right out of God’s hands. God calls us to rest in Him so He can set all that right again, so He can help us remove ourselves from the equation, and place Him back on the throne of our lives. He calls us to rest to remind us of who He i, and of what He promises to us; He call us to rest so we can magnify Him and minimize us; He calls us to rest so that He can we can repent of the ways we’ve turned our backs on Him and accept His forgiveness; He calls us to rest so that we can be reminded of His steadfast love for us and of His abundant blessings. 

Now, resting doesn’t mean kicking your feet up on the couch and watching your favorite Netflix show or scrolling through Facebook or Pinterest - the reality is those activities will either leave us feeling discontent with our lives, or feeling guilty because we just dropped an hour of time into a hole we can’t get back. The ironic part is that many of us with a chaotic schedule find the time to do these things, yet we don’t find the time to truly rest in Him. Lay aside restless work, and choose to rest in Him. When we rest in Him, we are either alone in quiet reflection, or we are spending time in fellowship with other believers who encourage us - either way, we find refreshment. We walk away from these restful times feeling regenerated and recalibrated and with the strength to face whatever life throws at us. 

We should have multiple opportunities built into our week to rest - a daily devotional time, weekly church, small group time, and at least one extended time during the week where we dive deeper.  Those of us who manage our schedules well are sure to put these things on our planners, but far too often, that’s how they’re viewed - as one more thing on our to do list. The problem with that perspective is that they become negotiable when the other commitments increase in our lives. We compromise our rest because of our busy schedules or because our other commitments somehow become more important than the rest He calls us to..then we end up exhausted and stressed, wondering why we’re not feeling the strength He promises, or the freedom He offers. It’s a vicious cycle so many of us are caught in. 

I had to learn this lesson the hard way some time ago. You see, I foolishly believed God called me to do all those crazy things on my schedule - He called me to raise a family, He called me to be a teacher, a ministry leader, etc., etc., etc...so surely He understands I don’t have time to rest this week because I am busy trying to get done all those things He’s called me to do, surely He understands my need to skip my quiet time this morning, miss my small group this week - He knows all that I have due this week because He’s the one who placed me here. I can't possibly get everything I need to get done this week, unless I skip...church, small group, quiet time.  What a fool I was!  Until God hit me with this truth —> God would never create a schedule for me that does not include time to rest in Him daily, be refreshed in small group regularly, or be taught in church weekly.  If any of those are absent, that’s my schedule, not His. We forfeit the very things He has placed in our lives to strengthen us, to comfort us, to give us wisdom, to bring peace when we cancel the rest He has planned for us. How foolish we are when we think our agenda is more important than His. 

I am so incredibly thankful for this season of rest that He has given me in this diagnosis. Some have reached out to me concerned about how I am processing all of this, worried I am sad or frustrated or discouraged...but I am not. I am simply grateful for this unbelievable gift of time. He’s given me the opportunity to reflect on so much of what He has taught me, He is refreshing me with His Word, He is growing me and drawing me closer to Him, He is renewing me. I am embracing this time with Him. 


Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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