Its funny to have a fear about rest but I’m one who has a history of having a hard time sitting still. As a child I was incorrectly labeled ADD due to my impulsiveness and inability to sit down, turns out it was more anxiety and a learning disability to blame. But even now when the best thing for me to do is rest, I still struggle to be still.
Unfortunately it is a commandment of Gods we all know the verse, Psalms 46:10 “Be Still and Know that I am God, ” but when your heart is going fast and your in crisis being still is the hardest thing to be. I think being a woman, a mother of multiple children, and a wife we have so many demands that we feel need to be done. I was raised you rest after your work is done. Its a good principle but what if the work is always in perpetual motion and you never seem to get to that stopping point, how then do you justify rest?
I think trying to justify rest was the first mistake I learned. Rest doesn’t require justification. Rest is just like being still, a need and a command of Gods. God commands rest on the Sabbath, Jesus offers rest to those who follow him. God knew our bodies and our minds required a break. He knew fasting from our chores was necessary to refresh us. God never commanded, you can rest when your chores are done. He commanded its the Sabbath, a day for you to rest and yet even on a “Sabbath” we still don’t rest until our chores are done.
So deserving rest, justifying rest shouldn’t be in our vocabulary but it often is. Prior to my ruptured back I was in a season where I was getting no rest. I was working full time, raising three kids and helping costume a play. I was up all hours sewing and straining my back. After my initial fall, which we found out later compounded the disc leading to the rupture, caused me to seek medical help I had spent a few days in bed unable to walk. I wonder had I taken more breaks and allowed myself to be still would my physical outcome been different. Once I was recovering from surgery I was in a great season of rest but it was not at all easy. It was frustrating, impatient waiting and hoping I would go back together the same. I don’t think this is the kind of rest that God asks of us either.
Spiritual rest is something that is still a mystery for me but I believe its the key to true rest and refreshment. Its not comfortable for me to sit still and listen during my quiet times. I often have so much to say I struggle just listening. I am thankful again for Abide which does allow me to just listen to a prayer and be still. I also believe there is truth in resting in God’s promises. That panic button in our hearts that goes off in crisis with all it’s “what If’s” If we can just continue to turn it off with reinstating God’s promises that gives us a type of rest. If I can just keep telling that voice, God’s with you he promised he’d never leave you, He has good plans for today… It eventually will be still.
I think the definition of rest that God requests, commands from us is different than the rest we identify with. I tend to think of taking a nap or sitting on the beach with nothing to do. God’s rest can be physical but I believe it is more like quieting the demands of a child. One of my favorite psalms, because it reminds me of my kids sitting in my lap. is Psalms 131:2 “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child I am content.” I picture my babies at age 2 or 3 sitting on my lap watching cartoons or reading a book. Imagine sitting on Jesus’s lap that way. Your not worried about food or what’s going to happen next or doing the laundry, your just sitting, calmly, snuggling. I think that is the picture of rest God asks for us. Its a trusting rest. Its the kind of rest that does refresh us, nurture us and calm our hearts.