How’s the week? Last week was definitely a tough week! I think everyone was drained from the news of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gigi, and the seven other individuals who unfortunately lost their lives in the helicopter crash. I did not know him, but the news had me shaken up a bit. I couldn’t spend too much time dwelling on it because it was heartbreaking. My heart goes out to the families left behind without parents, siblings and children, but especially to Vanessa Bryant and her kids because I knew of them before this accident. I cannot imagine losing not just one but two of my immediate family members on the same day in such a tragic way. I pray for comfort for all who were involved in this unfortunate event.
Today, we are going to discuss my take on what it means to rest. I feel like over the last few weeks, the one resounding theme I keep hearing is REST, which is foreign to me. I am the type of girl who is always forming a mental to-do list as soon as I get up in the morning…and adding to it throughout the day. For example, as I sit here writing this post, I am thinking about the four patient notes I didn’t finish yesterday at work and the 20+ I will have tomorrow. #NPlife I am thinking about how I am going to prep for work tomorrow, stay on top of my Bible reading plan, go to the post office, all while thinking of what to have for dinner, getting my laundry done and then going visit a friend and her new baby. These are all the things I would like to get done today and it is currently 5:43pm on Tuesday. And If I don’t get these all done tonight, they will roll over into my to-do list for tomorrow. Mind you, these are just short-term goals I want to meet – that’s not even getting into the long-term goals occupying my mind. So you can imagine that my brain never gets a break.
My older sister tells me I spend too much time thinking (eye roll) and that I have type A personality traits which result in rigidity with time and planning that I really can’t help. I am not a “go with the flow” kind of girl. I like to have an agenda. Even though it may not go exactly as I planned, if it is organized, then I am okay with that.
Let’s get real again – I think the underlying issue is that I feel like if I am not workingtoward something, I am wasting time. I feel like our society today has programmed us not to rest or has taught us that resting can be viewed as being “lazy” and “unambitious” or “unsuccessful.” Am I the only one who thinks like this? (I’m thinking again, I know.)
The ever-so-lovely Christian speaker and author Joyce Meyer was in town this weekend at Lakewood. She said it best when she spoke along the lines of our society having lost the art of being bored, which causes us never to rest. This is something I have struggled with since graduating from college. I feel like I spent so many years in school workingtowards my high school diploma, my undergraduate degree, and then my graduate degree, that when I finally finished school, I couldn’t just enjoy myself without thinking of the next thing I needed to accomplish. And in my young mind, I thought that after I graduated from undergrad, or at least upon completing graduate school, I would have met my husband and I would have been workingon being a fiancé, planning a wedding, becoming a newlywed, and eventually, becoming someone’s mother. That’s just the way I KNEW it was going to happen. I mean, what other option was there? Well, that didn’t happen and then reality sunk in and I had to make other goals to worktoward while God was (and still is) working on bae.
So, I focused on losing weight, developing relationships, traveling and attempting to change my career by looking into academic programs and even looking for a new job. I think these are all great things but sometimes I think I keep myself so busy that I don’t get to truly enjoy resting in my current season because I am workingtoward the next season and by doing this, I wear myself out. I don’t know how to be bored, actually, and to be honest, I don’t like being bored – I never have.
But I think, lately, God is speaking to me, saying that I need to be still and rest. At churcha few weeks ago, Pastor Jeremy preached on resting, and then this past weekend, Joyce Meyer preached on entering the rest of God(internal rest) and then my devotionalon Monday morning was about being still. They were all different messages but I think the overall theme was “rest.”
I believe there are a few types of rest we all need, such as physical rest, mental rest, and most importantly, internal rest. You guessed it, the one I am focusing on today is internal rest but before we talk about that, I will quickly share strategies I use to obtain rest physically and mentally.
- Physical rest– When I can, I sleep in. This is mostly on the weekends because my employer would not appreciate me showing up to work late during the week. Unfortunately, my internal alarm clock goes off at 6 or 7am even during the weekend, so now I am learning to lay in bed for a couple of hours before starting a busy day. Praise be to God, I have no issues with getting enough sleep.
- Mental rest– For me, this means shutting down my mind, which is easier said than done for a thinker and planner like me. However, the way I do this includes listening to music, meditation, watching YouTube videos or movies and writing my thoughts down so they don’t continue to clutter my mind.
Now, to the main course: internal rest. This comes down to me trusting God and casting all my cares on Him (1 Peter:5-7). In 2019, I was exhausted yet I was sleeping 8+ hours a night. The problem was that I was not at peace on the inside. I thought God needed my help. I mean, He has so many other people to attend to, so I am doing Him the favor, right? Wrong! When I don’t have internal rest or I don’t trust God, I am worrying and not resting.
I decided this year, 2020, I am done with worrying. It has already been so much easier not having to have the answer to everything or have everything figured out. I have truly been living out “what is for me is for me.” By that, I mean I am no longer worried about where I will be in six months or how I am going to get there because I know that wherever I will be, I will be good because God has me in the palm of His hand. Not having rest on the inside can spill over into the physical by causing illness, physical symptoms, or complete exhaustion, so it’s even more imperative to prioritize my trust in Him.
I am currently in a season of singlehood, and I don’t think I have really appreciated this time. I believe God is teaching me to appreciate the time for myself and learn to rest, as it is a time where I have no obligations to anyone aside from my employer. This is my season to lay in bed uninterrupted and enjoy it. This is a season I get to spend alone time with Christ in the morning or whenever I choose. This is the season I get to travel without having to discuss any details or scheduling conflicts with anyone (okay – my employer is an exception again). When will I ever get this time back? What I am learning is that it is okay to rest and I don’t always have to be workingtowards the next goal or biding my time until the next season. God rested on the seventh day…who do I think I am that I don’t need to rest?
Now, don’t get me wrong; I think having goals is very important, but I don’t think we should drive ourselves crazy with goal-setting and achieving.
I have heard people say that when God tells you to do something, do it before He makesyou do it. God is telling me to rest, so rest, here I come! It will not be easy because I am not used to this but please believe I will try.
What does internal rest look like to you?
I leave you with some bible verses to ponder.
Matthew 11:28-30: Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Genesis 2:2: By the seventh day, God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work.
Exodus 33:14: The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”
Isaiah 26:3:You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you.
Exodus 14:14: The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.
Psalms 46:10-11: He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”The Lord Almighty is with us;the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Isaiah 40:31: But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.
‘Till next time….