When Rest Doesn’t Come Easy

Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which He had done.  Genesis 2:2

You shall work six days, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even during plowing and harvest time you shall rest. Exodus 34:21 {emphasis added}

How well our heavenly Father knows us.   Even after giving us His own example of resting, of commanding rest, of giving us six days to work … He still had to spell it out clearly:

Even during plowing and harvest time you shall rest.

Even when the tasks are urgent.

Even when the work must be done.

Even when it’s hard.

Even when everything on paper and in your heart says, “There’s no time for that now.”

Image: Microsoft Clip Art

I’m slowly meandering through a book that consistently leads me back to His Word and causes me to reevaluate myself, my habits, my thoughts, my routines.    Not since my first  reading of Celebration of Discipline have I found myself so utterly undone.  So aware of my need for Christ, for time in the Bible, for entering His presence. I have read this section so many times I think I have it memorized:

Get this straight:  The rest of God – the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing – is not a reward for finishing.  It’s not a bonus for work well done.

It’s  sheer gift.  It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished.  Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations.  It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason that God told us we could. (93)

The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath by Mark Buchanan

Rest isn’t optional.   But just as other commands from the Lord require hard choices, so too does this expectation demand surrender. Surrender of our goals, our plans, our schedules.

Yesterday I made the decision to turn off the computer.   No blog posts, no facebook updates, no explanation except a tweet that said simply, “Taking a computer break today. Hadn’t planned to … but realizing how much I need to. Have a wonderful day all!!”

The Holy Spirit weighed heavy on me as I sat reading blog posts and tweets and becoming more overwhelmed and distressed at all I am not doing.    I felt my heart  pound and my head throb … and I remembered this phrase, “It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished.”

I doubt I’ll be in the top 25 faith blogs in Circle of Moms and my ebook hasn’t sold as well as I’d hoped and my new website isn’t getting the hits I wished it would and my blog is not where I want it to be.   And I was making lists and plans and trying to get it all figured out.

But there’s always another list of top blogs to try to get one, another ebook that will be better written and sell more copies than mine, a new website that captures everyone’s attention and a thousand tweaks to make this blog more effective.   There’s always going to be polishing to be done.

So some days, I’ll pick up the plow and work hard.

But some days, I won’t.   I’ll rest.   I know it won’t always be easy.

I’ll do it anyway.  Because I need it. Because my family needs me to rest.  Because you need me to rest.  And most of all, because God has offered me this amazing gift and privilege … to rest.  A command from the God of the Universe.   And if He can rest … then certainly I can.

Over the next few weeks I’ll be exploring this idea of rest.   {Mostly for my benefit, but maybe we’ll learn some important lessons together. 😉 } Probably not every day, in fact I can almost assure  you it won’t be every day.   Because some of these lessons are going to take more than 24 hours to digest.   If you want to make sure you don’t miss any of these posts, I invite you to subscribe for free updates in your email or your Reader.

Does rest come easy for you?

12 Replies to “When Rest Doesn’t Come Easy”

  1. Enjoyed your post today! Rest does not come easily to me, at all! Three weeks ago I had surgery that is requiring me to rest. My recovery is going very well but now I am struggling to rest. Each time I am tempted to “overdo it” I am reminded how much God has taught me through this time of rest. He has messed with me in the best ways. My prayer is that in a few weeks I will not only be completely healed & rejuvenated physically but I will also be healed & rejuvenated spiritually.
    Mary recently posted…Strictly Manners – Guest Post with Mary John BoswellMy Profile

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      “He has messed with me in the best ways.” I love that! I’ll be praying for you as you recover.

  2. Thank you for such a sweet reminder that we are called to rest. It is an order. Yesterday, was a tough day for me. I lost my God-given coolness three times over minor things that I escalated because I’m exhausted and a little stressed. But God has gently nudged me through your blog to pull a side and rest. I will.

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Oh, how well I know those moments of escalation … praying you find deep rest for your soul and body.

  3. Oh TL…I needed to read this blog this morning and right after I posted my blog on my anxiety of the business. Thank you for the words of encouragement and for being a true vessel of God’s Word!
    Jennifer M Krouse recently posted…Its all a blurMy Profile

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Jennifer, for being such a sweet friend and encourager.

  4. No — rest does NOT come easy for me. We’re a busy bunch, and there’s always something waiting to be done. But I do find that when I do stop and breathe in the rest…I’m thankful. I do need it.

    My first time here — I’ll be back!
    Laura recently posted…My Reading TimeMy Profile

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      It’s hard to stop when we’re busy “plowing” isn’t it? And welcome!! 🙂

  5. I really think God wanted me to read this today. I’ve been struggling with similar things. In fact, I haven’t blogged AT ALL this week–purposely. It’s been really tough, but it has definitely taught me some things!

    You’ve encouraged and inspired me today!
    Lisa Walters recently posted…Thankful ThursdayMy Profile

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      Thank you, Lisa. I think we so misunderstand God’s intention for our rest … and as we dig into what He desires for us, it is never more work. It’s more of Him … and far too often that’s what we set aside when we focus on plowing. 🙂

  6. Carey Bailey says: Reply

    Love it! I am finding that I actually need to sit down and schedule “rest” time. Otherwise I always feel like the blog, the cleaning, the baby books that aren’t done, the laundry, the everything are calling me. To just sit without of a computer screen in front of me seems like I am being a slacker but truly it is just giving myself time to hear God more clearly. With Joy, Carey

    1. Teri Lynne Underwood says: Reply

      So, so true, Carey. I love that God knows our hearts and minds so well that He tells us “It won’t all be done but rest anyway!”

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