Rest is a unicorn these days. Through the rat-race of life, everyone seems to chase it, but very few are lucky enough to find it. People have many different theories on what true rest is, and how it is achieved. Some of those theories are tried and true, and some will have you hanging from your toes in a baobab tree. But for now, I want to talk about my own attempt to find rest, and how, after years of trying the same thing over and over again, it utterly failed!
For most of my adult life, I have had an extreme anxiety of losing energy. This is due in part to an ugly bout of mono when I was a teen, draining the life out of me every time I tried to have a bit of fun; but mostly to my severely introverted personality (if curious, look up an enneagram 5w4 and you’ll understand what I mean). I have traditionally avoided any potential energy draining activities like they were a plague from God Almighty! When an invitation out with a friend conflicted with my daughter’s naptime, I would experience true panic. Do I disappoint a loved one, or do I deny myself the time to find rest?
Can you Relate?
This debilitating fear and unhealthy obsession began to affect my quality of life and the relationships with those around me. In my mind, I determined how to find what I thought I needed. Resting looked more like hours of being alone in my room, reading (or binge-watching Netflix), without interruption. The problem with this, was that the more I did nothing, the more I did nothing. I began to feel sluggish, and my head would hurt. I would miss out on activities with my friends and family, as my weekends were spent trying to make up the lost energy from the past week so that I could in turn make it through the next.
So then, if isolating oneself in a back room, away from all who would pose a threat is not the answer to finding rest, what is?
Are you ready for this? I stopped trying to dictate what I thought was the healthy approach. Instead, I quieted my mind and I listened. And God began teaching me to rely on Him for my rest.
True rest is not something that can be created or manufactured by our own peace or ingenuity. True rest can only come from obedience to the Father.
“For whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His”.
Find Rest through Obedience
Once I learned how to step forward in obedience to His will, I found that I had the strength to fulfill what He was asking of me. I began to trust that if He was asking me to take action in faith, He would provide the resources I would need to complete the task. And you know what? He hasn’t let me down!
When we try and go out on our own, doing only the things that we want to do, in only the ways that we want to do them, we grow weary. We are only human, and our own strength will only get us so far.
“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles, they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint”.
When we step out in obedience, whether that looks like a new career opportunity, an added ministry, or being an assistant coach to your son’s soccer team, His grace will reward us by providing the resources needed, not only to see it done but to step out in obedience the next time.
“God will supply every need of yours according to His riches in Christ Jesus”.
Balance is Important
I still need those times of quiet in my room to decompress after a busy day, especially when that day has been filled with hours of superficial small talk, a screaming crowd at a rainy 5-hour rodeo, or a wet hayride with my son in a parade (because you know, I’m now the assistant soccer coach). But those quiet, still times are an added bonus these days, and not the unhealthy focus of my anxiety.
God’s provision is my rest, and it can be yours as well!