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The challenge and beauty of rest…

November 7, 2011
by

Chill Out Sabbath RestI don’t know if you’re anything like me, but I am rubbish at resting! Even if I don’t have something specific planned, I always have a list of things I feel that I need to do (cleaning, washing, tidying, sorting Christmas out etc.) At any time that I could rest, there is always something else ‘more productive’ or ‘more useful’ that I could be doing. But I’ve been challenged that rest doesn’t have to be productive or useful (although in a sense it is!), most importantly rest is good.

I can easily tell if I’ve not rested enough, if I’ve been too busy or if I’ve just managed to fill potential rest time with all sorts of other chores and sadly I think that people around me can tell when that’s the case too, just in the sense that I’m more tired and not as cheerful as I usually would be! We need rest. How we rest and what we do to recharge and relax will look different to everyone, but we all need it. We’re not designed to work all our waking hours, we’re only human and we are limited. We need to recharge, we need to take a step off what can become the treadmill of life…

I don’t think it’s any mistake that this is the case – God designed us this way – He set this pattern in creation;

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Genesis 2:2

This pattern was of course then reflected in the 10 commandments , to labour for 6 days and rest for one, because God did.  I think that the most important thing that this shows is that rest is so important. God rested, not because He was tired, but because He had finished the work He had been doing and if it was important for Him to rest, how much more important is it for us, who tire and struggle, to rest! The fact that we need rest and sleep is such a humbling thing, it reminds us that we often can’t do everything we may want to do and we often have to leave things because we’re just too tired.  If we try to work every hour we soon tire and need rest to recharge.

I think that the need for rest can also be a great reminder in keeping us dependent on God, because it reminds us of Him who does not tire, who never has to leave things because He’s tired and who we can depend on. Trusting God also gives great freedom to rest, because we know that things aren’t going to fall apart if we take an hour or two, or even a day, to rest and enjoy the good things He’s given us, because it’s not all down to me. Thankfully there is someone who isn’t limited and finite like us who is taking care of things. Now the challenge is to keep remembering this and to put it into practice, even when my ‘to-do list’ beckons…

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12 Comments leave one →
  1. Savira permalink
    November 7, 2011 3:57 pm

    An interesting way to look at rest.. Never did see it that way!

    • November 7, 2011 9:42 pm

      Thanks Savira 🙂 … Natalie did well didn’t she!

  2. November 7, 2011 6:08 pm

    The more I study Taoism the more I realize the importance of resting. There are many references to rest through Taoist texts, but I still enjoy the totality of the Genesis story, when God rested completely on the seventh day. To me that’s what rest is, a totality like the sabbath has been historically viewed (though I’m glad it’s no longer a law to have to do so).

    • November 7, 2011 6:12 pm

      Thanks JR for your comment. Biblical ‘rest’ isn’t just confined to Genesis rather the ‘rest’ of Genesis is a shadow of the rest which those who know and love Jesus can know for eternity. One day Christians will enter this rest and it will be with God and we shall be like Jesus. I pray that as you study the biblical text you too will come to see how the shadow of ‘rest’ points towards the great hope of the Christian faith!

  3. November 7, 2011 7:00 pm

    There a bunch of people that indeed think that they can not stop doing things because everything will be a mess. Rest is important and it gotta be on the to-do-list. That doesn’t mean one is not responsable or what, it’s just a natural need and we have to take care of that. God is not going to be mad at us for that.

  4. November 7, 2011 9:49 pm

    I don’t rest as much as I should. I am an insomniac and that has been my struggle since I was 4 or 5 years old. I have to be past exhausted before my eyes will stay closed and then I wake up several times a night. It sucks but, it’s how I am so I deal with it.

    I think people get confused with the whole God rested thing. “God rested, not because He was tired, but because He had finished the work” God finished his work, many of us never truly finish our work.

    I am a stay at home unschooling mom, I write, I clean, I do it all in the home and trust me when I say the work is NEVER finished. Resting is important but, how can you rest when you know so much more is to be done…I know I can’t but, good luck to those who can!

  5. November 7, 2011 9:52 pm

    Natalie is my twin – cannot rest – go to bed at 2am and up with the kids in the morning – I am short of about 20 years of sleep! But when I try to relax I just stress about what I should be doing instead. Am also an insomniac ! x

  6. November 8, 2011 12:14 am

    Without rest, I am an absolute bear! It’s taken me many years, and I still write those infamous “to-do” lists, but, in writing my daily devotionals, I am immersing myself in scripture, resting in His word, allowing myself to slow down, to rest, to trust that He will help me to accomplish all I set out to do.
    This has been an indescribable blessing for me. We all need to take time to rest in the peace of our Lord!
    Thank you for this most thoughtful post.
    Blessings!

  7. November 8, 2011 8:35 am

    I used to have the nick name of the energizer bunny, even carried a little bunny in my back pocket, with head and ears poking out. Now however a better metaphor to describe me would be the hibernating bear. Not sure what changed but now I have absolutely no problem resting.LOL. I do see your point though. Thanks for an interesting read.

  8. November 10, 2011 5:07 am

    Oh Natalie! You raise an extremely important subject. ‘Rest’ does not always come to us in the usual ways. When you trust your time to God, it doesn’t matter what you are doing, you can relax and ‘rest’ in Him. Little chores like washing the dishes can be very relaxing if you approach it right. I pray that He will guide you into finding His relaxation in the things that you do every day. God bless you.

  9. TheChronicR permalink
    December 21, 2011 6:38 pm

    I think I’m the complete opposite in this aspect. I love to rest and I do so whenever I get the opportunity. I can sit beside my laptop, resting, all weekend long and not regret it at all. I guess it’s the way I am. I like to rest, and I don’t regret the delightful hours I spent resting. Haha.

  10. December 22, 2011 2:29 am

    I could use some rest! I’m not very good at it myself, but I can see the definite usefulness of it. We are blessed to have a God who welcomes us to rest in His presence and be restored.

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