When you think of the word "rest", what is conjured up in your mind? Is it lying under an umbrella on a sunny beach with a book in your hand? Is it a quiet retreat to the mountains with just you and your Bible? Is it losing yourself in a good movie? Or is it fantasizing about a maid to give you a plain old break from the blessed laundry pit?
According to my dictionary, "rest" means “freedom from activity or labor; peace of mind or spirit, to take relief or respite.
Doesn’t that just sound heavenly? Most days I find I am rushing around trying to get everything done quickly and efficiently. It has become a bad habit though, because I am constantly breaking things, stubbing my toes, smacking things, dropping things and generally making more of a mess for myself to clean up! Seriously, I am so busy trying to juggle four things in the air at once, while not doing any of them well. What is the result? The balls fall to the floor. I am accomplishing little.
In the Bible, Psalm 62:1 says, “My soul finds rest in God alone.” The Lord began speaking into my heart about rushing. “Slow down, Stacie,” I kept hearing Him say to my spirit. In between making the bread, homeschooling, cooking from scratch, laundry, disciplining, bills, errands, gardening and serving my family, I felt like there was no room for rest. I was so wrong.
God is now waking me up very early (usually via a two-year old). After getting her settled back down, I start my day with my Beth Moore Bible study and prayer. Armed with my cup of coffee and the Word of God, I get filled up and encouraged until my next “rest” time. Mid-morning, I try to force myself to sit down and read an encouraging article from a Christian magazine or book. In the afternoon I try to take enough time to debrief with my spiritual accountability partner (my sister). We pray, exhort and sometimes sympathize with each other. I am so blessed to have someone who is available to do this. And finally, in the evening before bed I go to bed I try to read a little bit of a good Christian book and pray again.
Filling my mind with the things of God all day long is huge for me. I don’t have to take a huge vacation (hey, vacations are a lot of work with kids) to rest. I need to be more deliberate and let God bring rest to me in the midst of the responsibilities He has given me.
Even a nursing mom can “rest”. When I was nursing I would read the Word or an encouraging article on godly parenting. Proverbs and Psalms were short and packed full of encouragement. Nursing was also my excuse to sit down. I could relax and just enjoy cuddling my baby who I knew was going to grow up way too fast.
Jeremiah 6:16 proves that God longs for us to have rest. He said we are the ones that won’t do it! Listen to this…“This is what the Lord says: Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, ‘I will not.’”
So why would we not want rest? May I suggest that our old habits and patterns are so comfortable, so familiar, that change threatens our very security. But, ladies, He is doing a NEW thing! Stress is literally killing this nation. Our calendars and day planners are proof of that. We want our children to be afforded every opportunity under the sun or we don’t think they will be complete and well-rounded.
What our children need are parents who are relaxed and rested. Children need to see you making room for God in your life. For example, I have always homeschool all year long. I loved doing it this way. I could take time off during the school year without feeling guilty. This is my sixth year in homeschooling and I am now up to four students. I felt the Lord leading me to take a break. The minute I obeyed, I felt such a sense of relief. This summer has been exceptionally busy and the Lord knew the children and I would need to rest. It was a decision based on obedience. God is blessing me and restoring me every day so that when September comes I will be strengthened and renewed to start my educating with a passionate vigor instead of just trudging through each day.
Make the decision to rest today and see how the Lord blesses you.
From One Mom to Another,