How Resting Will Help You Enjoy Life, Embrace Freedom, Reflect the Light, & Give Grace
For my mid-year review of my goals, I evaluated where I was with my Word of the Year lesson. But my journey to choose a Word for 2019 was anything but a straight path.
I decided to let the Holy Spirit guide me to a word, using lessons He had already been in the middle of teaching me. I mentioned in Part 1 of this blog series that I began with Enjoy. Then I realized there were at least three other words I also kept seeing over and over: Freedom, Light, and Grace, discussed in Part 2.
But, as I alluded to in Part 2, they all work together. I knew I needed freedom from my high expectations both on myself and others, so I need to work on giving grace more, especially to others. I also have been feeling like I need to enjoy this fleeting time when my kids are still home and get freedom from being too caught up in trying to build my business. I've also been learning to find something to enjoy in every situation, even if it's only in the hope that God will redeem it somehow and grow me into a more "mature & complete" person.
All four of these words work together to fit into an overarching theme of REST.
If you need to learn more about how to rest in this hustling world, here's how resting will help enjoy life more, give more grace, embrace freedom, & reflect the light of the Son:
1. Misconceptions about Sabbath REST
Our society has such a messed up view of rest. They say resting is lazy, that you have to hustle to earn the things you want. And that's partially true. Proverbs speaks time and again against laziness (Proverbs 10:4, 26; 12:11, 27; 19:15; 26:15, etc.).
But the world's “hustle” is not right, either. It's workaholism, putting a to-do list above people, running yourself ragged to do “all the things” you should to be the best employee, spouse, parent, child, volunteer, and any other role you call yourself. All to the point of exhaustion.
We as Christians, though, should know the importance of rest. It's one of the 10 Commandments: “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8, KJV).
God the Creator could have just spoken everything into existence form the first moment. But He didn't. He took six days to give us a pattern of hard but fulfilling work. Then He made sure to tell us that He rested on the seventh day as an example to us to take a break, to set aside some time every week to recharge
It's been proven that weeks with more than seven days don't work. They've tried 10 days and 12 days, but they just don't work. People get discouraged. Bodies literally break down faster. Productivity falls off before the break.
Who are we to think that we can keep working through our weekends without paying a price?
2. Exceptions to Sabbath REST
Now, just to be clear, I'm not saying that no Christian should do anything on Sunday. I'm not saying you can't have a job where you're required to work on Sundays. That's the burden that the legalistic Pharisees were putting on the Jews, and Jesus condemned them:
Matthew 23:1-5, ESV:
“Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, 'The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so do and observe whatever they tell you, but not the works they do. For they preach, but do not practice. They tie up heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to move them with their finger. They do all their deeds to be seen by others.'”
“'Which one of you who has a sheep, if it falls into a pit on the Sabbath, will not take hold of it and lift it out? Of how much more value is a man than a sheep! So it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath.'” (Matthew 12:11-12, ESV)
There are certain jobs that we need to have available every day, like at hospitals, police stations, store or restaurants for meal prep, etc. But that means you need to make sure you get at least one day off some other day that you can spend in extra time with the Lord, giving your body, mind, and soul a break from the world's influences and from expending mental and physical energy.
I've been thinking and meditating on the issue of self-care. I will probably come back to this issue on the blog again later, but for now, I will refer you to two places:
Video by Mukkove Johnson, Key #6 Self-Care in her 7 Keys of Transformational Growth. You have to become a member of her Facebook group, Ready. Set. SOAR! Community, in order to watch .
3. The Culmination of Lesson to REST Now
Once I began studying each of these words, I realized that they all fit together into a lesson about resting.
RESTing in ENJOYment
RESTing in FREEDOM
RESTing in the LIGHT
RESTing in GRACE
Crystal Stine in her wonderful book Holy Hustle says:
“The line between hustle and striving, rest and laziness, is a delicate place to live.” (p. 75)
In Genesis 2:3, “God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy.” This was after He had declared all He had made “very good.”
Crystal goes on to say,
“I knew God called work good, but had I ever noticed that He called rest “holy”? Good and holy. Work and rest. The same God who created everything out of nothing, who is infinitely more powerful than we could imagine, chose to rest. Why, then, do I find myself working nonstop, striving to do more and to do it bigger and better than the next person?”
“When all the work has been completed to God's satisfaction, and He has called it good, He doesn't start a new project or begin redesigning what He's already finished. He rests... Rest doesn't just happen when we crawl exhausted into our beds at night. This kind of rest, a sabbath from the work God has called us to, is a restorative time for our hearts to honor God.” (p.82)
Kate Motaung gave a beautiful analogy of our writing life to a perennial plant:
“Like a plant that only blooms for part of the year, we’re not created to produce nonstop. We’re not meant to create and flower day after day, month after month, year after year. Unless you’re a hardy evergreen, you will likely go through a dormant season as a writer. A season of rest. A season of rejuvenation. A season of preparation for new growth.”
This is what I've been learning from the Lord.
Going full force—even for good, godly things and goals—can be too much of a good thing. And if it breaks my ability to keep blooming, eventually no more good things will come from me.
I won't be able to reflect His light.
I won't be able to enjoy His gifts.
I won't be able to give grace or to forgive others.
I won't be able to enjoy freedom from sin and freedom to do right.
I need rest, breaks for both my body and mind, to recharge my spirit. Another song I heard this morning reminded me of this, too. “Breathe” by Jonny Diaz.
“I'm busy, busy, busy, and it's no surprise to see that I only have time for me, me, me. There's got to be something more to this crazy life!”
4. Our Future and Final REST – our Living Hope
Until we reach Heaven, whether through death or Jesus' return, we can rest in this hope that we believers have at all times.
Hebrews calls Heaven the ultimate Sabbath rest. It's one of the main reasons we take rests—to remind us that this world is not our home and that we are citizens of a heavenly country.
“For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said, 'As I swore in my wrath, They shall not enter my rest,' although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: 'And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.' And again in this passage he said, 'They shall not enter my rest.' … For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken of another day later on. So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
The story of the Israelites wandering towards the Promised Land is a picture of us Christ-followers, slaves to our Master who has redeemed us from sin, following Him as pilgrims through a foreign land until we reach our ultimate home.
1 Peter 2:10-11, ESV:
“Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul.”
Conclusion: So, this wraps up the three-part blog series. My journey to find a Word for the Year of 2019 shows our Christian journey to find ultimate REST in Jesus and finally in Heaven. Along the way, we can learn to ENJOY God's gifts in this temporary life, embrace the FREEDOM from sin to holiness, reflect the LIGHT of the Son we follow, and give more and more GRACE as we remember how much grace God has given us.