Summer is right around the corner and with it comes rest and relaxation…right? Although some of us may get to enjoy a vacation or some much-needed time off, other may be swamped with the busyness of life. Let me encourage you: Don’t forget to rest! There are at least 49 verses in the Bible that speak about both physical and spiritual rest. Rest is such an important concept that God included it in the 10 Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11). Even Jesus made a big deal about rest (Mark 6:30-32).
When the human body is pushed beyond its normal limits and deprived of nourishment, rest, and recovery it becomes more susceptible to illness and breakdown. Simply put, you become sick and tired when you “Go, Go, Go!” There was a time in my life and when I said, “Yes” to every opportunity presented to me. I gave drum lessons. I helped people with a variety of chores. I preached 5 times a week. I sang in the choir. I led an internship program, fixed computers, and managed websites. I allowed manipulative people to control me because I hated conflict. I did not speak up for myself because I wanted everyone to think well of me. I bought into a culture that equated busyness with holiness. I was miserable. I was depressed. I literally had to “hype” myself up just to go to work in the morning. Because of this, I became a pastor who absolutely hated “going” to church! I hated ministry. I loved Jesus and I acknowledged that I was built to be a pastor, but I was terribly conflicted. By 2010 I was sick and tired. Literally. I weighed well over 310 pounds. I had a dangerously weakened immune system and I lived on a steady diet of steroids, donuts, and general lethargy.
Have you been there? Are you there now? Are you worn out and wondering, “What’s it all for?” Your plate is probably full of church, friends, the kid’s school program, soccer practice, football try-outs, summer camp, doctors appointments, coffee with your friend plus the normal busyness of life. You have all of those “things” and yet, you are sick and tired. Let me encourage you again: Rest!
Hands down, one of the best days of my life was the day I finally said “No!” I realized that the only person to blame for the crushing sense of defeat that I constantly felt was Carlo. Every time I said, “Yes” to something that I did not have the time nor desire to do, I gave away a piece of my sanity. I am not saying that life will never put us in positions where we have to do hard or uncomfortable work. Part of being an adult in the real world involves doing things we do not want to do. I get that. What I am talking about is all of the extra stuff that so often crowds out the important stuff. There is only one person who should Lord over you and the good news is that His yoke is easy, His burden is light, and His commands are not burdensome (Matthew 11:28, 1 John 5:3).
Here are 3 practical ways (borrowed from Pastor Rick Warren) that we can incorporate a rhythm of rest into our spiritual lives:
1. Divert Daily (take time daily to rest by doing something that is the opposite of your work).
2. Withdraw Weekly (try to take 24 hours off each week for rest and worship).
3. Abandon Annually (take an unplugged family vacation or stay-cation).
Say “No” to the so-called good things so that you can start saying, “Yes” to God things. Don’t forget to rest!