To rest in today’s culture almost seems foreign to practically everyone. There I said it. We as a human race do not know how to just be still and have a rest. We’re always constantly on the go. Whether it is moving from one task to the next, having multiple jobs, being parents, thinking about work at home on your days off…whatever the case, to carve out that time for intentional rest when all we’re doing is just thinking about nothing and just enjoying life for just what God intended for us to do, we almost need to be intentional about the rest we so desperately ache for, need and is a necessity for us to survive this crazy thing called life. Because without rest and without times where we enjoy life just because, we’d go crazy. This life is busy enough as it is. The pressure of performance, the pressure of keeping up with the joneses, the pressure in keeping up with fashions and trends, of being up to date on social media and making sure that everyone in the household is taken care of…you get the picture. If we just don’t take a step back and just assess our lives and think about what needs to be changed and what needs to be altered for us to have a happier and healthier lifestyle, then we’re just going to continue along the path towards the erosion of family values, relationships and sanity, all at the betterment of increased economic productivity in mainstream society.
I know my spiel above can seem like I’m ranting, and believe me, I reckon I am, but in all seriousness, we do need those times to just sit back and rest, if nothing else than to marvel at the fact that the Lord our God gave us this life and everything in it, that whatever we do and say, however we act and whatever we accomplish, is a reflection of what we believe in our hearts, and that when people see us, it ought to be what we believe about ourselves and about God Himself as well. Heavy stuff, right? And to rest is a reminder that we as humans weren’t made to just be on the ‘go’ button all the time. Because believe me, it’s hard to work 24/7. Even I, who have a day off today from work, can see the necessity in just being still. Cause sometimes when we’re working on overdrive, we can get caught up in the noises and distractions of today that we can miss the things that are often shown to us and spoken over us during the quiet and still moments. I’m not saying that God only speaks through the quietness, not at all. He can choose to speak through whoever and whomever He chooses, be it in the stillness or in the chaos. But what I will say is this- in the chaos comes the noise, and with the noise comes the points where we in fact can’t hear the Lord properly, because everything is coming at us from different angles, grasping for our attention.
There’s a song that I’ve been listening to recently from one of my favourite CCM bands ever, Tenth Avenue North. It’s their most recent single, ‘Control’. In the devotion behind the song, lead singer Mike Donehey speaks of how we all need to give up control about situations and circumstances, laying everything down and realising that God in fact likes us, wants to hang out with us, and often, through the cloud of busyness, it doesn’t get to happen in everyday life. Or as Mike tells us himself- I realised a while back that we always say ‘hey did you do your devotions? Did you spend time with Him?’ and I’m like, ‘why does it gotta be an achievement thing? Right? Like an investment, return strategy?’ Because if we’re honest, to just be with God, to commune with Him, for most of us, it feels like a gigantic waste of time. Because our culture, we’re obsessed with achievement, right? We’re obsessed with success, and production and productivity, and heroes, and we wanna do something. And so it comes as a great shock to our ego when Act 17 says God’s not served by men’s hands as if He needed anything but He gives to us life, breath and all things. Isaiah says all that we have accomplished, You have done for us. In other words, even our serving God is a gift from Him. What if I told you that God doesn’t need you but He wants you?
It is in me realising this poignant fact that God doesn’t need any of us to accomplish what He longs to see in fruition, but rather, chooses us to be stewards of His love to the world, the burden comes off. We don’t have to perform. We don’t have to do more so that people will see the change inside of us. It is after all, the power and love of God that draws people towards Himself, not by what we say or even do. Sure how we act will reflect upon what we ultimately believe. But if we believe that what we do and our performance is like is good enough for people to come to Christ? Then we’re really missing the plot. The idea of rest is as much important, maybe even more so, than accomplishments. Because it is in the moments of stillness and rest when all the clutter comes out of our lives, we can hear the Lord much more clearly. Sure we will hear the Lord in the chaos (in fact, He is speaking all the time) and He will bring to us people that He wants to speak through so that He can get our attention, but often than not, what comes with the silence is the worry. The worry that our own innermost thoughts may be the ones we don’t seem to like ourselves. Often that’s why we surround ourselves with busyness, to distract us from hearing what we ultimately think, about love, life, ourselves, even God.
We have been given a mandate to rest, by our Father in heaven. To not worry about outcomes and situations, to give up control to the One who is in control. And as I finish this short, albeit hard-hitting post, let me finish with this, that God doesn’t want us to worry, about anything. Even about ourselves and our own thoughts we often try to hide away from. And let me remind you of Philippians 4:6-7 (one of my favourite Bible verses ever!)- Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. In rest, especially rest in the Father, as we don’t do anything, we begin to realise that often the gravity of our worries aren’t that big when you think about the political climate of the world right now. Our own situations are minuscule compared to other people less fortunate than us, and thus, our rest needs to place things in perspective. God doesn’t need us to accomplish things for Him, but He wants us to. There’s a big difference. And so without further ado, here’s the ‘Control’ Mike Donehey devotional- be prepared to have your mind blown.
And a reminder, once we rest more, we start to worry less, and understand that this crazy life was meant to be taken with a grain of salt. Have a sense of humour. Be reminded that whatever situation we’re in is used and fashioned by the Lord to create a much more resilient you and me. And be assured and amazed, that resting and doing nothing is not a waste of time as you may often think. To rest is to recharge, to take in the wonder and glory of creation. To take stock of one’s life and understand that whatever we undertake next, this life and journey in it will be one ride of excitement, difficulty and a chance to learn and grow. Let’s take that opportunity and run with it, always remembering to rest in the process. And now off to rest for me. How about you? Let me know in the comments. Til next time!