Finding Rest

There is no tired like “just had a baby” tired. Talking to a friend at lunch today, I told her I am so impressed with how the human body can seem to survive on caffeine, adrenaline and 3 hours of sleep for weeks on end. More times than not, I sacrifice sleep in order to get some dishes done, clean the living room, call a friend, anything I can think of that I can’t do while the kids are awake. Occasionally, though, the exhaustion comes over me like a wave and leaves me no choice but to succumb to it’s siren call. In those moments, I’m usually bombarded with thoughts that our society has pounded into me from childhood,”What about the dishes/laundry/dinner? You’re just gonna let your husband come home to this mess?” “You could be, SHOULD BE doing _____ instead of sleeping.” “You can sleep when you’re dead!” They all carry the same message: I’m selfish, lazy, and if you add the message that I’m a crap mom for sticking my kids in front of Sesame Street while I close my eyes for an hour, unwilling to deal with the consequences of having children.

I’ve heard people who are entrepreneurs being told the same thing when they talk about needing a break. If you have something that requires all of you to sustain it, it’s as though our society says, “If you wanted rest, you should have wanted less.” Instead, I’m supposed to live in weariness without the option of burnout. Thankfully, we are not entitled to rest, we are commanded to rest.

We have all read passages that say remember the Sabbath, and keep it holy, and that God worked 6 days and then rested. How many of us have read about those who disobeyed God’s commands, and what ended up happening to them? In Hebrews 4, the writer quotes Psalm 95, who explains that because of the Israelites’ disobedience, they were cursed by God in His anger, an oath which said that they shall not enter His rest. (Ps 95:10-11) By not carving out time to rest, in making excuses to bypass the idea of taking a break, we are not only being disobedient, we are living under a curse reserved for those who chronically harden their hearts against God, and as a result, perish from it. (vs 11) 

Gives whole new meaning to the phrase “dead tired,” doesn’t it? 

Thankfully, Jesus became a curse for us, negating the curses of the law (Gal 3:13,) so that we might turn back and embrace the rest the Father calls us to. Maybe that’s why the writer opens the chapter with, “Since the promise of entering His rest still stands, let us be careful none of you have fallen short of it.” (Heb 4:1) The joyous, exuberant, shout from the top of the mountain news is the promise of entering His rest stands for those who submit to His love and care. (Psalm 95:6-7)

Since we don’t have the luxury of a siesta built into our day, we have to be intentional about our rest. It seems paradoxical to think we need to actively seek out time to be inactive, but if we don’t, it’s only a matter of time before the taskmaster of expectation finds it’s way back into our schedule. Before we know it, we will again be telling someone how tired we are while reaching for that 44 oz cup of coffee.

Many I know find rest in nature. The sound of the crashing waves, smell of seasonal blooms or sights of puffy clouds just give their hearts peace. Some I know really just need a day where the dishes don’t get done, the laundry stays in piles and they curl up with a book. I have a few friends who find rest while running, with their headphones in, focusing on getting back in touch with their body. I could go for a nap, or what really rejuvenates my soul is appreciating art, whether listening to someone play an instrument or going to a museum.  My point is everyone rests differently. Just find where you can turn off the world and tune into peace; Keep it holy and go there often.

I ask that Abba would silence the voices that tell you if you rest, something catastrophic will happen. I pray that you would enter into a deeper, fuller, sweeter experience with Jesus as you turn off the world and pause in His presence. That you would have the energy needed to live abundantly, and the endurance to run the race He has set before you. Amen.


How we do naps at my house

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