Do I take care of myself and get proper rest?
It is now Wednesday of Holy Week. The Bible does not tell us what Jesus did on this day, but we can imagine that Jesus, after the exhausting events in Jerusalem since Palm Sunday, took this day to rest with his disciples ahead of the Passover celebration. Resting has been part of our Salvation history from the beginning. The Bible tells us that after God had completed the work of creation, he rested on the seventh day: “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on that day he rested after all his work of creating” (Genesis 2:3). The Gospels are filled with references of Jesus taking time to rest, to pray, and to restore Himself. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus tells us “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus not only offers us rest, but He models for us the way to do so.
Even with these examples, though, I find it hard to stop and take time for rest. There is always something else to do at home, at work, at church, etc. I feel a great sense of accomplishment as I complete an activity and cross it off on my calendar. I pause, though, on this Wednesday of Holy Week, to reflect on what I am accomplishing with all of the busyness and if this is the best way to spend my time.
A few years ago, I was forced into a six-week period of rest after a fall which resulted in a broken ankle. Before the injury, I had been running around with a number of activities and commitments. I was tired. I remember praying for some relief from this busy season of life and reflected later that God had answered my prayer (not necessarily in the way I was hoping, though!). During this time of bed rest and limited activities, I was able to slow down, take a breath, spend time with family and friends, pray more, and simply rest and heal. It was an eye-opening experience that I could take time to rest and spend more time with God, and that all the rest would be okay. A few months later, the whole world went into a period of forced isolation during the COVID pandemic. With fewer activities and opportunities to interact with others, I was resting during this season as well and further deepening my prayer life. As the world returned to normal after the pandemic eased, I committed to taking life slower but activities and appointments soon filled my calendar again.
I am convicted that I need to step back again and apply to my life the example of the balance that Jesus shows us in the Gospels. After Jesus ministered to others or performed a miracle, He would take time away to pray and rest before He moved onto the next town. Jesus does not just offer us rest in Him, but He also shows us how to rest. He took time to pray and spend time with His Father, and He also rested both His body and His mind. I need to follow this example to spend time with Him in prayer and reflection and to find ways to rest my body and my mind. This is not an easy task but taking time to rest is really one of the best gifts that I can give myself. In resting, I realize the truth that everything is up to God and that I can trust He will take care of all of my needs.
How did I rest in God today?
Thank you, God, for all of the gifts that you bestow in my life. You offer me rest in You and I pray that I will open myself to this great gift and rest in Your love each day. Authentically Yours.