Seems ironic, doesn’t it?
Rest takes work.
I’m convinced of it. For me it does, anyway.
I have this friend who visits my office periodically. We’ll spend a few minutes catching up on life and ministry events. Then, without fail, he’ll ask me if I’m taking time to rest.
“Rest?” I laugh.
“Yes, Holly, people do that. God even commanded it. He even rested. You do know its part of the Ten Commandments, right?.”
“Ohhhhhhh….righhhhtttttt. The Ten Commandments. I forgot.” 😉
I try to tease, but my friend is always persistent. Probably because for the past 4 years every time he sees me I’ve got big black circles under my eyes and have a frantic crazed look.
Rest? Eh, I’ll rest when I’m dead I’ve convinced myself. And with that type of thinking it might just put me in the grave faster.
This weekend I spent some time resting. I did absolutely nothing. The only way I could justify my actions (or a few hours of NON-ACTION) was reminding myself that I had been out late the night before and with another late night ahead of me it was OK to just “veg out”.
Unfortunately, this down time left me feeling guilty. Shouldn’t I be doing something. There’s blog posts to write, dishes to wash, bills to pay….the list goes on and on.
Rest doesn’t come easy for me, but I believe it is essential to maintaining an intimate relationship with Jesus. I’m pretty sure He thinks so, too, because He keeps whispering in my ear: You can stop now.
God keeps reminding me of the disciple John. John or the “one whom Jesus loved”, as he refereed to himself in the Gospel he penned, knew something about rest. As he recounts the story of the Last Supper, he mentions how he leaned back on Jesus’ chest. I’m not sure John realized it at the time, but his life was about to get chaotic, to say the least, and those restful moments helped prepare him for what was to come.
So, I’ve got to honestly ask myself:
When is the last time I just leaned on Him?
When is the last time I put my head against His chest and listened to His heart beat?
When I get to Heaven, Jesus isn’t going to ask me to give Him a Powerpoint presentation showcasing all the work I did for Him. He’s going to be most interested in knowing if I knew Him. (And ya, He’ll already know.)
Of course He’ll love listening to my stories about the many summers I spent working with children. He’ll smile as I recount the moments where I found such joy in hearing about their testimonies about the love they had for Him. Like any good friend, He’ll laugh and nod as if its the first time He’s hearing all about it.
But I’m not getting into Heaven based on my logged ministry hours. It’s not based on Sundays spent in the walls of a church. It’s not based on the number of countries I visit offering humanitarian work. It’s not based on how many people read and follow my blog.
What matters in the end is the time I spent with Him. And, as much as I love squeezing Him into my hectic schedule by praying in the car between meetings….He demands more. (Actually, He’s looking for *ALL* but that’s another post)
He’s looking for me to stop awhile and lean on Him. To listen. To soak in His presence. To enjoy Him.
For me, resting might look like taking a few hours to journal with my favorite Starbucks drink in hand, or take a day off and spend it hiking with friends, or play a silly game with siblings or….take a NAP. It doesn’t have to be any more complicated than that, but we’ve got to allow Him to refresh us and to speak to us in our weary places. He will, too.
Recently. I’ve heard His voice as I relaxed in a hammock in the Adirondacks or while eating some ice cream with my niece. They weren’t Earth shaking “spiritual” events, just normal every day moments where I slowed down and listened for His heart beat.
I’ll need to be intentional with my time and I’ll certainly still need my friends to keep me accountable. My schedule won’t magically open up, but I’ll need to start saying no to some things, which is a lot harder than it sounds. It’ll take work, but I’ve never regretted my time with Him. Never once did it feel wasted.
And from time to time I’ll have to tell my soul: “Rest, Holly. It’s OK.”