Sunday, December 1, 2013

Resting

Sometimes you just need a nap!


Twice in the last few weeks I've found my four-year-old asleep in the middle of coloring. Its a good reminder that sometimes we need to just stop what we're doing and rest.

That's hard for me to do sometimes. It seems like there is always another meal to prepare, homework assignment to help with, chore to complete, or need to meet. Life's responsibilities and demands don't stop. But we have to. We're human, so we get tired and sick and sometimes we need rest.

A little over a week ago, just when I thought there was no way I could do everything that needed to be done, and keep balancing it all, I was put on modified bedrest. Talk about an unfinished to-do list! Bedrest means sitting down with my feet up for the majority of the day. Bedrest means stopping in the middle of simple activities like laundry or unloading the dishwasher because my stomach is "tightening up" again and I don't want this baby to come early. Bedrest means....well, it means rest.

And as I'm learning to rest, I'm reminded that God modeled rest ("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). God commanded rest ("Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work..." Exodus 20:9-10). And God has promised that He Himself will give us rest ("Come to me, all  you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28).

And when God takes our burdens and replaces them with rest, He does it perfectly. He often raises up others to do the necessary work, and sometimes He shows us that the work we thought so important is actually unnecessary. I was blessed to see that this very week.

I went on bedrest the week before Thanksgiving. The week before Jon and I were hosting my family. The week before Jon and I were doing the entire Thanksgiving meal for the very first time. But God worked it out to be a wonderful, restful time. God raised up our neighbors to invite the kids over to play for a few hours on just the right day. God raised up someone to clean our house at just the right time. And God raised up Jon to shop, plan and prepare all the meals.

God gave Jon two extra days off and the energy and creativity he needed to cook several dinners, a breakfast casserole, and the entire Thanksgiving meal...complete with ham, turkey, traditional and nontraditional side dishes and three different pies! Plus, it all tasted great!


So, I'm learning what it means to embrace physical rest. But the cool thing about physical rest...just stopping and sitting and being quiet for a while...is that it offers more time to pray and reflect and meditate on God's Word. Slowing down in our physical state can lead us to focus more carefully on our spiritual state. The rest God offers in Matthew 11 is not actually just a physical rest, like a nap. No, God offers something much greater and longer lasting..."rest for your souls" (Matt. 11:29).

Imagine that. Soul rest. A break from the emotional burdens. A break from the heart struggles. Grace that offers freedom from guilt and fear. A soul that is content and resting in the Sovereignty of God's plan. And any of us can have it, at any time. We just have to "Come to [Him]".

So today I am embracing bedrest. Because I can see the blessings that God has brought so far and that God can continue to bring as I slow down and learn to rest. My prayer is that this physical rest will not be wasted by worry or list-making, but instead it will lead to soul rest...learning to trust in Him and let Him carry my burdens.

Anybody else feeling weary today? Meditate on Matthew 11:28-30 and ask God to show you what soul rest really means:

"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."