Matthew 11:28 (NIV) “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
It was Spring Break and what better way to celebrate than to go house hunting before our big move! Jared was serving in the military at the time, and just five months after we said, “I Do,” we received orders to Pensacola, Florida, The Sunshine State!
When we arrived at the beach after a thirteen-hour car ride, the first words out of my mouth were, “I belong here…” I had never seen such white sandy beaches and beautiful blue water, mainly because I had lived in a land-locked state all my life. But in all seriousness, there is something special, in my opinion, about the gulf coast. The people, the atmosphere, the seafood, it all really entices you! I was already loving this new adventure until things went south just hours later.
I’ll never forget turning on the ten o’clock news to see the current educational crisis. Apparently two schools in Escambia County had closed and all educators within a fifty-mile radius were on a hiring freeze.
I remember being frustrated and asking Jared, “Why did God move us here?” Poor Jared, I blamed a lot of this season on him when he had nothing to do with it. Sure, his job moved us there, but it was God who was orchestrating behind the scenes.
I am probably defined somewhere in Webster’s as being a “workaholic.” Understanding the probability of not having a job at that moment was terrifying to me. I had created a false sense of identity associated with what I did as being equivalent to who I was. Going through unemployment benefits for a year was humbling to say the least. I remember God showing me in His word about this season, warning me that I was going into a resting time. If I could take back that year and do it over again, I would in a heartbeat. I took for granted some of that time by being upset at the situation, my husband and the Lord. Instead, I should have enjoyed my rest and allowed God to restore me. Besides, I was living in a beach condo overlooking the gulf, for goodness sakes! My days consisted of working on my tan for a couple of hours, while laying out by the ocean hearing the waves crashing in and eating the best shrimp in the US. Seriously, what was I thinking?
Rest is a nice word. It reminds me of kindergarten nap times, when we had such a thing. Oh, how I wish naps were approved in public education for teachers and staff. We would be so productive the last hour of the day. Sometimes though, rest is hard for us when we want to stay busy. Busy is familiar and it’s comfortable. There is something exciting about being busy. You have more notifications on your phone, you tend to leave more times from your home each day, you get to hear some of your best music in the car, and of course, drink more cups of your favorite coffee.
When you’re busy, your mind doesn’t have time to dwell or meditate on the things you try to hide or overlook. You don’t have to acknowledge your own issues if you don’t know them. The uncomfortable doesn’t get addressed and you go on as usual in your day-to-day.
But in the rest, you can sit at the feet of Jesus, you can hear Your Savior’s voice louder than before and you have an opportunity to invest in what God is doing within and around you, wholeheartedly.
An excellent quote from Charles Spurgeon says, “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength….it is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”
Everyone needs rest! There isn’t anyone exempted from this season. If we don’t rest and empty ourselves, we can’t be filled. We can't be restored with God’s wisdom, His Spirit, His strength to minister during a new season.
So how should we approach our rest?
1) Ask the Lord what He wants to reveal to you in this season. Be open to His leading and allow Him to change your focus, your heart and direction while you rest. Maybe He is calling you to repent or make right a situation from your past. Maybe there is an action you need to take to grow closer to Him.
2) Immerse yourself in the word of God. Pray about a new devotional or bible study group to participate in. Allow your brothers and sisters in Christ to minister to you, listening to their experiences and their journeys in resting.
3) Pray that your heart and mind stay focused during this season. Pray against any distractions that would lead you away from what God wants to do in you. Pray for strength when discouragement and feelings of disappointment come, holding fast to the meaning of “season”; which is not permanent.
4) Be busy with what God wants you to do. He has gifted us with different talents and spiritual gifts. Use them for His Glory and for His Church.
Jesus is calling us to sit at His feet, to come unto Him…. ALL of us who are tired, grieved, frustrated, burdened, confused, in need of Grace.… and He will give us rest.
As always, I’m learning right there with ya,
Thankful For His Grace,