Making Time for the Rhythm of Rest | March 21st, 2022
Ahhhh. A whole day to simply rest. No errands to run, no chores to do, no work to catch up on. How often does that happen for you?
Most of us stay so busy that we don’t ever take advantage of rest. We fear there won’t be enough time to get everything done if we take too many hours off from work and our non-stop to-do list. With a deep need to be wanted, useful, and productive, our identity is often centered on busyness instead of on God.
No matter how much we accomplish, we will never find that sweet spot of being completely caught up on everything. That’s because God made us to have eternal purpose using our talents, skills, gifts, voice, time, and treasure to create for His glory while we are here on earth.
Living out our purpose requires energy. It doesn’t take long before going full speed without any pauses can wear us down. God knows we need rest so we can be refreshed to let His radiance shine through. When we’re rest-deprived, it’s nearly impossible to look and feel vibrant!
Rest is a Gift
Before we can experience rest to the fullest, we must first understand it is a gift from God that we don’t have to feel guilty about accepting. It’s an invitation to resist busyness in exchange for deepening our relationship with Him. While bringing us closer to Him, rest also provides us with some time of protection from the worldly influences that tug us away from God.
In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus invites those to come to Him who are tired and weary from not only working hard physically but perhaps also exhausted because they have been trying to work out their struggles in their own strength.
“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.” Matthew 11:28-30
Find Your Whitespace
When we take time for rest whether it’s a few hours or an entire day, it gives us a bit of whitespace for feeling God’s peace when our life feels chaotic. Whitespace is dedicated time during rest where we are able to remove the clutter and noise that are so intertwined with busyness. We can linger in the quiet of God’s presence, soaking in the blessing that our identity has nothing to do with our successes or how busy we are. Instead, it has everything to do with knowing that when we belong to Him we are forgiven, fully known, loved beyond measure, given meaningful purpose, and guaranteed an inheritance in heaven.
The way I find my whitespace is by taking a morning of rest on Saturday or Sunday. I carve out the first couple hours of my day to sit outside in the fresh air and sunshine, slowly sip my coffee, give God gratitude for His blessings, and talk to Him about my life – my struggles, fears, ambitions, desires, and dreams no matter how insignificant they may seem. I can rest in knowing He loves to hear us share the details of our life with Him!
I then read a chapter or two in God’s Word and reflect on how I can apply it to my life. God always has something meaningful to teach me. My time of rest is so peaceful, quiet, and healing from the constant noise and busyness pressing in on me during the week that it has become a weekend rhythm for my soul. I look so forward to it!
The Value of Quiet
Daniel Gross, a freelance journalist who writes about history and science, wrote about the brain on silence:
In recent years researchers have highlighted the peculiar power of silence to calm our bodies, turn up the volume on our inner thoughts, and attune our connection to the world. Their findings begin where we might expect: with noise. The word noise comes from a Latin root meaning either “queasiness or pain.”
Research has found that those who live in consistently loud environments often experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones. Noise has also been linked to heart disease. What value we get from taking time to rest our mind and body in the quiet!
King Solomon, who was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth, found that there is also a quietness one can have in their spirit which is connected to being content. He expressed it this way:
Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind. Ecclesiastes 4:6
How much better it is to have a quiet, contented heart rather than constantly striving for more which never satisfies and leads to weariness as we try to maintain all we’ve gained! When we give up striving in our own efforts and trust God to provide and work everything out for our good, He takes our worry and stress and replaces it with rest and peace beyond all understanding.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Rest is Linked with Trust
Part of our struggle with being able to truly rest is knowing that if we give up time, our lives won’t fall apart next week. Taking time for rest is intimately linked with trust. We will find that when we trust God with our time by giving some of it back to Him, He is always faithful to provide what we need. The more our trust grows, the more we can easily rest without feelings of anxiety welling up inside about what is not getting done.
Although the practice of rhythmic rest can seem like an unattainable luxury in this frantic-paced world, our willingness to give up control of some of our “productive” time to our Creator requires us to acknowledge our dependence on God for His provision.
In the same way, we must rest in the Lord for our eternal salvation knowing there is nothing we can do to earn it. No matter how good we think we are or how many great things we’ve done, our works cannot save us. Just before Jesus breathed His last breath on the cross He uttered the word “tetelestai” which means, “It is finished.” He did it ALL for us. There is nothing we can do in our own strength.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
Don’t wait until it’s ideal for you to take time for rest. Waiting to feel like you have everything done or are in a less busy season of life may never happen. God longs for you to spend time in His presence now, deepening your relationship and learning dependence on Him through trust so you can experience true rest for your soul.
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