(That title caught your eye, did it not?)
I was driving home yesterday listening to eighties love songs, when one of my favorite songs came on—Right Here Waiting by Richard Marx. I was driving and singing along every lyric that takes up residence in my brain and I noticed our breathing patterns were the same as we sang our duet. (I'm laughing as I write that.) If you listen to any song, you can hear the artist stop to take a breath.
In the world of music and reading sheet music, there are rests at certain spots in every song. Why? Because if there wasn't one, two things would happen: one is that you wouldn't know where to pause to take a breath to be able to continue singing and two is that you would pass out from not breathing right. (Maybe that's just me.)
I had that thought and then the Lord gave me one of his spiritual pictures that I so love. That is this—if we don't schedule times to rest periodically, we will burn out and be of no kingdom good. And just like a musical rest is a scheduled or planned rest, that is the same thing that we must do on a weekly basis. Did you know that rest is one of the Ten Commandments that God gave to Moses and for us today?
Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8)
As a human being, rest is crucial for a well balanced life. I had a friend in high school who would always become physically ill when she hadn't slept enough. I could always tell when she'd gone without sleep and her body was telling her to slow down. As a believer and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ, rest is crucial for our spiritual well being. Think of a pastor and what would happen if he never took a day off? You know they don't get weekends off—they're fine tuning their message and praying through it on Saturdays and then Sundays are a long day for them as they preach.
As a mom, it's important to take time off to rest occasionally. Whatever that looks like, you can spare some time for yourself for a bit. I see so many moms struggle because they let motherhood end their quiet times with the Lord. While it's normal to not have a lot of extended time to sit and spend with Jesus, don't let that stop you altogether. Whether it's five minutes of an entire hour, any time is better than none at all and the Lord extends grace to those who need it in this area and many others.
I was so fortunate in this area when I was a young mom because I had a husband who encouraged me to get out of the house on occasion and enjoy dinner out with friends. If you can't swing that, put them all to bed early and unwind by doing your nails or taking a bubble bath or watching your favorite movie.
As an employee, it's important to leave your work at work as much as you're able so that you can leave it and go home to rest and get a good night's sleep.
As a wife, it's important to take a night off and to do something with someone other than your spouse and vice versa. It's unfair to both spouses to count on each other as both spouse and best friend. Those roles are two entirely different things and while I do say that mine is my best friend, I also have a female best friend that is a different type of friend.
The reason I mention all of those things is because that is one thing we can do to make time for the rest that we need. Sometimes it means that we need to be alone, other times it means we need to be surrounded by friends. The Bible has some things to say about rest.
(According to Vine's Expository Dictionary, the word rest in Psalms is from a Hebrew word that means wait. In Matthew 11:28 comes from a Greek word, meaning "to cause or permit one to cease from any labor or movement so as to recover strength. It implies previous toil and care. To refresh.")
I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. (Psalm 62:1)
You observe my travels and my rest; you are aware of all my ways. (Psalm 139:3)
Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
Whatever rest looks like for you, make some time for it in some areas in your life. Don't be so busy that you never spend time with God and if you are that busy, perhaps you should re-evaluate some things in your life. We all have the same amount of time in a day and we seem to be able to find lots of time for the things we want to do—just don't do those things at the expense of neglecting God. As a believer it is impossible to find rest that restores without spending time with God in prayer and Bible reading.
You may wonder what this looks like and while there is no one way to go about achieving rest, I'll tell you what I like to do. First off, if I am busy in the week, I really like to have at least one day scheduled in a week to be at home all day. Depending on what my life has been like leading up to that time, I may be a little lazy in my day "off", or I may spend time catching up on things around my house. I am a very organized, structured person and I cease to thrive when my home is a disaster. I like things neat and orderly and preferably clean and picked up. One thing I don't do is neglect time with God. I may not always have that time with Him right at the beginning of the day, but rest assured that before I go to bed, I'll have spent that time with Him. I mentioned that we have the same 24 hours—I can surely get carried away with reading a book or watching a show, so I have to make myself stop doing those things to devote that time to the Lord.
I don't say any of this to brag, you all know me well enough by now to know that's true, but it takes self discipline. I don't always want to spend that time with Him, but I do it anyway. I'm likely to miss it altogether if I'm sick and catch up when I feel better. If I don't spend time with Him, I don't feel as if I'm at rest in my heart.
So, dear friend—schedule you some time to rest, whatever that looks like. Take a day, if you're able, but it not just take some time to spend with Jesus and then maybe go away by yourself in a spot in your house and take some time to really pour out your heart to God. I've been talking a lot about prayer here lately because of a book I'm reading, but if you want to talk more on that, reach out! My email address is email@example.com. Most of us never give God the adequate time that He deserves. Just like you can't get caught up with your best friend in just five minutes, we can't pray for just a short amount of time and expect to remain close to Him in our relationship. If you're in a rut in the area of prayer, consider how you're praying—it's not just giving God a laundry list of needs, it's praying according to the acronym ACTS: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication (for yourself and for others).
I pray these words encourage you today. Love to all.