Taking a Break
Learning to Rest
For some reason I tend to crave rest but I find it hard to do! It is commanded by God but it seems that it is one of those commands that I tend to think is more of a suggestion; I don’t feel guilty for not resting; in fact, I often feel like resting means I am lazy or wasting time. It is, however, in the top 10 of rules given (Ex 20) by God. When the Israelites were given this commandment, they had been slaves for 400 years and they had a culture of work. Almighty God says that if we do things His way, we can do more in 6 days with Him than on our own with 7. This principle is just like tithing; we can do more with 90% and honoring Him with the first portion than by keeping it all and doing things our way.
God certainly did not “need” to rest but he did set aside a Sabbath and he rested. He set aside time for us because he knows that we need to set aside space for our souls, our minds and schedules to realign our purposes with God’s. We need to set aside, ,aka make holy, time to acknowledge God. When I am tired I tend to sin. I am more short-tempered. I make mistakes or don’t give my best when I am in a hurry or too busy. I am less creative. I lack sympathy. There is no sense of wonder. So God rested from his work but I can’t?
Identity comes not from what we do but in creating enough space in soul mind schedule to acknowledge who God is
Laura Ingalls Wilder tells about tying a rope between their house and the barn in the winter so that they wouldn’t lose their way in the storms of life and they could find their way home. I think that rest is like that rope. It is a lifeline more than we know. We lose our way when there are no margins, no space, to rhythm of work and rest.
God wants my identity to come from acknowledging Him and not what I do with the time I have been given. If I had an extra hour a day I probably wouldn’t use it to spend 8 hours in God’s presence. I would fill up the margins because that is what culture pushes. And yet, Is. 30:15 says, “In repentance and rest is your salvation.”.
Replacing work, busyness, catching up and urgency with space that refreshes and replenishes is critical to not being defined by work. I get that. The big question for me really is HOW: how to create margins where good stuff can happen; how to prepare in advance for a regular habit of stopping; how to avoid being robbed of a life of meaning because I am overcommitted.
Even though I did not like the weather in Illinois, there was definitely a rhythm to life with the seasons that does not exist in California. Sabbath rest was “easier” Snow days forced me to slow down and gave opportunity to be in the moment, to pause, to be still (Ps. 46:10). Maybe I need to think of Sabbath rest as a weekly snow day once a week.
Eph 5:15-17 Be careful and live as a wise person. Make the most of the opportunity to live with margins because the days are evil. (My own paraphrase).