Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer's day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time. (John Lubbock)
Lubbock also reminds us that a day of worry is worse than a week of work! We spend a great deal of time 'working on things', only to rework them a little later. We clean today, but by next week this time, the cleaning must be repeated. Why? Life happened and dirt came. As with our living environment, life happens and dirt comes into our lives in the areas of our emotions, thoughts, and even our relationships. We must constantly be aware that life will 'happen', but when we have prepared for it, we are able to face the challenge of the 'dirt' as it arises. I have extra cleaning products in the house - not just enough to keep it clean today. One way we are always ready to deal with 'life's dirt' as it comes is to be 'rested', for a tired mind, body, and spirit will succumb to the stresses of a 'dirty life'.
I stretch myself out. I sleep. Then I’m up again—rested, tall and steady, Fearless before the enemy mobs Coming at me from all sides. (Psalm 3:5-6)
Rest doesn't always indicate idleness, though. When I am resting, my mind is still working - as it does, I have given God permission to enter into that 'working' and give me insight, new ideas, and even sort out a bit of the muddle that exists in my inner man at times. Rest means we 'settle in' for a bit and actually take time to just breathe. Worry has no place in our rest time, but how many of us 'worry away' our rest? We ruminate on all the things not done, things done poorly, and the things we didn't need to do, but did. Then we wonder why our 'rest time' seemed a bit foggy and not all that restful. We didn't really rest - we just faked being in a 'restful posture'. When I go fishing, I rest. I observe nature around me, read a bit, listen to others around me, and share a bit of excitement at that first fish reeled in by whoever it is that brings it in. Rest isn't about the location as much as it is about the frame of mind and spirit we place ourselves in as we are resting.
Rest doesn't always involve a bed - it can be a great afternoon just hanging out with your BFF. It could be taking on a challenging crossword puzzle, or even reading a book. There might be food with family and ruckus laughter abounding. Rest isn't hard, but getting ourselves to the place mentally, physically, and emotionally where we can really enter into rest might be. I actually had to train myself to rest - something that seems to come much more naturally to others. I had to give myself permission to lay down all that caused me so much anxiety in life. I had to open myself up to the possibilities of missing out the good stuff in order to pursue the urgent stuff. Life will happen - dirt will come - we don't have to always be so focused on what happened and what came as much as we need to be concerned with what God wants us to realize in the moment.
Rest is a state - not a location. It is a sense - not a fact. It is personal - but it also may be corporate at times. We all need it. We all crave it. The next time you see a group of clouds in the distance - stop - take ten short minutes to just watch them. Do that thing we did as kids and think about what each one resembles. It may seem frivolous at first, but it could just spur some sense of deeper rest you desperately require. If so, find time to explore that 'sense' of need and get that desperately needed rest for your spirit, mind, emotions, or relationship that beckons to be found. The enemy to rest is worry - the solution to the 'dirty problem' you worry so much about might just be found in the rest. Just sayin!
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