Apr 1, 2008

Stop, Prop, and Behold

First off, thank you to any of you who took time to pray for me last week. I'm having a much better week and I know it is because of the prayers of my friends and family. Thank you so, so much.

Well, I took a two hour nap yesterday. I even had the fire going and my feet propped up to feel the warmth crawling from the flames. You might be thinking, "A fire? In April?" Yea, that's right. I don't care if it's 65 degrees and sunny outside; there's just something soothing about dim lighting and fire crackling. So what if I had to close the blinds and turn the fan on high?

I don't normally take time out of my busy days to simply sleep. It makes me feel lazy. I always think of all of my friends who are working, especially my mom and sister who have very demanding jobs. Consequently, instead of feeling blessed to be able to rest, I feel guilty for doing so. I can think of a million things I need to do, like clean this house. You should see it. . .I'm actually watching a ball of cat fur blow across the hard woods right now. Gross.

However, obtaining much needed rest is not lazy, nor is it a sin. In fact, God instructs us to take off not only hours, but days.

"For six days, work is to be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD." Ex. 31:15a

Did you notice what you have to stop doing on the Sabbath? Yea. Working. In order to experience the rest God is instructing us to receive, we must cease laboring. Is this difficult for anyone else but me? Wait, let me rephrase that since it really isn't difficult for me to not work. Does anyone else feel guilty when you're not doing something? In our success-driven society, being idle is not looked upon favorably. How many of you work in an environment where long hours are not only encouraged but rewarded? The people who seem to get ahead are the employees who's lives are consumed by their careers. However, these workers are the same people who are worn-out, stressed-out and very often, down-and-out. Physically. Emotionally. Spiritually. Remember Mary and Martha? Martha's doing earned her irritability, dis-ease and a general grouchiness. She also nearly missed spending time with Jesus because she thought she had so much to do. Sound familiar? I know. . .ouch. Me too.

If we will simply take some time away from the rat race that surrounds us, we will find restoration for our minds, bodies and spirits. Like it or not, this fast and furious life we're living takes its toll on us, and we must take deliberate steps to refuel. But, a nap by a fire won't cure us completely.

"My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him." Psalm 62:1

Physical rest restores the body, but that mental fatigue we experience can only be remedied by the very presence of God. So many times when I'm feeling spread thin and overwhelmed, my first instinct is to either hop in a hot, bubbly tub or pop in the latest romantic comedy. As great as those escapes can be, they are just that: temporary escapes. I emerge from them feeling only slightly better; my fatigue or stress inevitably returns. God tells us to come to Him when we are weary and burdened and He will give us rest (Matt. 11.28). And that rest, deep-to-the-core rest, can only come from Him. It really is that simple: Come. Find rest.

Girls, let's identify our mental fatigue as what it truly is: a need to be restored by our God. Let's close out the world and prop up our feet by the All Consuming Fire. Let Him warm your soul and light a fresh flame in you.

Father, thank you that in simply being with you, we find rest and restoration. Prompt us to stop and take you in and help us to be obedient to that prompting. Again, thank you for your personal attention to us. We are grateful. Amen.

Discussion/Processing Questions:

1. When feeling overwhelmed, what activity or person do you turn to instead of God?
2. If you looked at your schedule, are you happy with how you are spending your time?

Thanks for listening!

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Andrea said...

Rest is so good and I know what you mean about feeling guilty about it and lazy. Thanks so much for this. You rock!

Amy Storms said...

Hi, Misti-
Thanks so much for your kind comment. Gotta love Dr. Seuss. :) Thank you for the link, too. You made my day!


mb cameron said...

Hey friend. I just want you to know I really like the discussion questions. Even if we dont discuss them in the comments, it definately makes me think about how to apply your wisdom to my life.
It is the guilt of resting that drives me to exhaustion. And suddenly everything I do is mediocre. My relationships, my obligations, my time with the Lord. Eternally, the 4th draft of my appellate brief isnt going to matter: My time with Jesus will. THanks for your words.