This is for me. This is for the mamas. This is for all the ones who need someone to give them permission to rest.
This shouldn’t be hard – but it is
Why do we have such a difficult time not only valuing rest, but giving ourselves permission to rest?
I don’t know about you, but I have to literally force myself to rest. I mean, we’re talking guilty feelings, fingers itching to “get things done”, internally explaining to all the people (who don’t even care) why I’m sitting on the back porch when my house is a disaster, contemplating how much longer I have to sit here before I’ve “rested”.
We see in Luke 5:16, “But Jesus often slipped away so he could be alone to pray.” I think I’ve always read that and envisioned Jesus praying intensely like he did that night in the garden, sweating drops of blood. And to be honest, that’s probably a good metaphor for my typical rest. If I’m sweating drops of blood while I “rest”, it’s holy and therefore acceptable, right?
I’m kidding, but seriously, when did it become more worthy in our minds to perpetually produce than to hide away alone like Jesus? Can you relate to the thought process I’m talking about here?
Being alone is a good thing
What if he really slipped away so he could be alone? Like, just alone? So he didn’t have to deal with people? So he could get a break from the responsibility of people’s needs for a minute? So he could take a nap? So he could go on a leisurely walk in nature to feed his soul? So he could use his imagination and dream a little? So he could really rest?
Jesus was a human being with a human body. Jesus told us in John 5:19, “I can only do what I see my Father doing, because whatever the Father does the son also does.”
When it comes to resting, what have we seen from the Father? He demonstrated that rest is good on the seventh day of creation. He made one day of sabbath rest an actual commandment. He tells us all over scriptures to be still, to quiet ourselves, to sleep in peace, to rest.
The Scriptures are clear on rest
Let me share some of those scriptures here. The temptation is to skim over these and move on to the next thing (because if you’re like me, you’re always is such a dang hurry), but take a minute and really read them. I will too:
“And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
Okay, go back to that one and read it out loud. I was laughing by the time I got finished. Do you think God was trying to make a point here? He was just a little repetitive. I’m sure it was intentional, and I’m sure we need it.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. 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, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
‘For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.”
“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”
There is something in that last verse that stands out to me. It says that whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. It’s an actual Sabbath rest.
Let’s marvel at what we’ve created
When God rested, what did he do? He marveled at all he created. He delighted. He enjoyed. He celebrated the work of his hands. So if we want to find the same kind of rest that he engaged in, and I’m sure the kind of rest that actually leaves us feeling rested, then we want to do the same.
Marvel. Delight. Enjoy. Celebrate. Whatever that looks like for you.
What happens if you don’t?
If you don’t, your body will start demanding it. Sometimes our bodies can be a little like a five year old: bossy, fit-throwing, whiny, sensitive, needy. But God made it with needs and requirements. Rest gives us space to think about and meet those God-given needs.
Every aspect of our lives demand rest
Our relationships will start demanding it. “Relationships” are often like our bodies. *Ahem* No names spoken. But what a gift that the people we love will demand that we rest enough to connect with them. Even if they do it like a five-year-old.
Our our emotions and our mental well-being will demand it. Those areas demanding rest are not signifying weakness. Those areas demanding rest are demonstrating how we are created by God, who chose to show us what rest looks like.
And believe me when I say those places in us will demand rest. Just look up mental-health statistics in our world right now.
Our finances will even demand that we rest.
I believe that all those places demanding rest are ordained by God to remind us that we are designed to need rest, our land is designed to need rest, our world is designed to need rest.
I was asking God about my continual need to push and do and “make things happen”, and he reminded me of a verse:
“If God’s grace doesn’t help the builders, they will labor in vain to build a house. If God’s mercy doesn’t protect a city, all the sentries will circle it in vain. It is really senseless to work so hard from early morning to late at night, toiling for fear of not having enough. God can provide for his lovers even while they sleep!” Psalm 127:1-2
What if our refusal and inability to rest is really an indication that we’re still not sure that God will provide what we need, what others need and that we’ll have enough?
When we sit down to rest, let’s ask God about that. He loves to give wisdom and solutions and provision and creative ideas. He loves to shine his goodness on the places we still need a greater revelation of who he is. Let’s spend that time like Jesus did, slipping away to be alone and pray.
This is literally your permission to go take a nap.