A couple of years ago, the summer of 2011, the Lord began pressing upon me the conviction to rest.
At the time this only made me angry and frustrated. I didn’t understand how to rest. Work needed attending to, I had bills to pay, an organization to grow, and children to care for. How was I to rest?
It’s been a process learning to rest, to say the least.
These last two years have been some of the most testing years. And I’ve learned a few things.
First off, resting is not about passivity. In fact, resting is one of the most intentional and difficult things we can learn.
I learned that resting is not about being negligent to the work at hand, but rather a manner of being from deep in my being. Rest is the way we go about our work.
It is easy to think that if we did not have the pressures of life, that rest would be easy. But how many people take vacations only to come home and find themselves right back into the same old pressures.
We think it is the pressures keeping us from rest, but I learned this is not so.
For me, the Lord’s conviction to rest same when it seemed impossible to do so. And it has only been once I learned to rest that life’s circumstances then became restful.
Resting is trusting the Lord’s provision, allowing the leading of the Holy Spirit in each day’s tasks and options. It is about ceasing to do what the Lord would in fact like to do for me.
Too much of the time we are taking over the Lord’s work in our lives. In fact, early into these admonitions to rest, and in the resultant emotional frustration that bubbled up from myself, I came to clearly see that I had been believing that God was negligent and incompetent, and that I was striving to make up for him.
That was a knife in my gut. But oh how good to see. For in my confession before the Lord about how I had believed him incompetent, I could finally put down my striving and the lies that drove me.
I began letting God be God and I settling into a state of rest in his provision and direction and guiding.
In prayer ministry, whenever it seems we are going round in circles I will stop and we pause, praying, “Lord, we take a moment to pause before you. Inviting and trusting your leading and guiding. Your words, your insight, your wisdom is all we need and we simply wait on you.”
And I’ve learned to do this in life. When the pressures are greatest, that is when we stop and pause before the Lord. We reaffirm our invitation for the full presence of God in the mix of our lives. We pause to worship and to declare our allegiance once more. And most of all, we stop to simply sit in the presence of God.
When life is pressing hard, this is when we pause the most, in reverence, in quiet, in waiting, in worship.
It is a counterintuitive way of doing life. For many of us, we press harder when life is pressing on us.
In this learning of rest I’ve now been brought to a beautiful home on a quiet island. With beauty all around, with deep silence, and days that stretch on and on, I can sense the Lord’s good care of me.
These last two years of learning to rest in the pressures readied me to actually receive the gifts of this place. I wouldn’t have been ready earlier and the gift would have been lost on me.
Resting is hard. No doubt about it.
It doesn’t come to relieve us of pressure, ti is something we must find in the pressure.
It doesn’t develop to save us from trouble, it is something we must acquire in the trouble.
For rest is not something from the outside in, it comes from our insides out.
It is not an easy lesson by any means. It takes time and intention and great inner struggle and reckoning.
It takes letting down our judgments and paradigms about how this world works. It takes releasing our anger and the injustices we perceive against us.
It takes cleansing the past of our learned driven behaviour. It takes great trust and releasing of our future.
I’m not all the way there and each day brings new opportunity to rest, but God is a great teacher and leader and I am glad to receive his rest over my life.
“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29