I came across a Bible verse the other day that reminded me of my reluctant submission to the concept of rest. Here it is: …In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it. (Isaiah 30:15).
That part about “you would have none of it?” That was me.
I have a naturally high energy level. When you combine that with a people-pleaser personality, you get a woman who can’t say no and doesn’t know when to stop. I gave a passing nod to scriptures that spoke of God’s rest, complained of exhaustion with more than a little bit of pride mixed in, and burned my candle at both ends with a blow torch. Around forty years old, it caught up with me and I ended up in the hospital because of extreme and ongoing insomnia. God got my attention.
Here are some of the rich lessons God has taught me since that time, fifteen years ago, about the goodness of His rest:
1) His greatest commandment is that we love Him. Not that we do for Him. When I rest and am still, I have the time to whisper, “I love You!” As a result, our relationship grows strong and sweet.
2) When I stop for a Sabbath each Saturday night around sundown and don’t work again until sundown Sunday…I demonstrate my trust in Him. Will I really have enough time to get everything done if I stop for 24 hours? Amazingly…yes!
3) My informal Sabbath times have taught me that the world does, indeed, still spin on its axis even when I am not scurrying about. I needed to repent of the ridiculous notion that somehow God needed me to be on duty rushing around for Him 24/7. He is quite capable of running the Universe without me, and I am blessed that He chooses to use me at all!! So I try to have dinner done before sundown on Saturdays and don’t stress too much if it’s not. The general idea is that after dinner I can read, play the piano, watch a movie, and just be quiet, trusting that all my work will wait until after my sweet Sunday church time and afternoon nap.
4) Stopping to rest is energizing! Truly, “in quietness and trust is your strength.” When I “shut down” and practice quietness something happens to my body. It replenishes itself. It gains new strength. I am ready to go again and get MORE accomplished because I stopped.
5) Bookending my days with rest has also helped me. I start the day by spending quiet time with Jesus, my tea, and my Bible. Then I end each day with a Christian fiction novel and a warm mug of milk, feet up, and happy!
6) Lastly, once a month I take a DAWG – Day Alone With God – and simply enjoy being with my Savior. I might walk by the ocean and admire His handiwork or invest in some serious praying for my family or sing every word to every song on one of my favorite CDs to Him! It’s a day set aside for Him and OH! It fills me up and satisfies!
So…through exhaustion and people-pleasing, God brought me to a place where I realized I needed more of Him. Through rest, repentance, quietness, and trust, I have come to value and actually love His command to REST.
What are some of the things you go that help you enter into REST?
Sharon Gamble is the USA Director for Moms in Prayer International and a frequent speaker on the subject of prayer at ladies' groups and conferences. She loves to share from both her personal experience and from the Word of God on the value and the necessity of prayer. She has also published a booklet for those going through challenging circumstances entitled Comfort From a Friend. She is married with two daughters, two sons-in-law and two grandsons.