Rest. Four familiar letters forming such a simple instruction, though commonly forgotten or pushed to the side by procrastination, especially by those of us who need it most. Even mentioning such, you might be squirming in your seat, tempted to keep on scrolling, believing, “Oh no. You don’t know my schedule. That’s not for me.”
Trust me. I get it. For YEARS, I was running from it. From the very beginning as a baby, my big brown eyes always burst open, afraid I would miss something. All the way through school, the enemies lies of rest equating laziness and impending failure haunted me. Even into my teaching years, I convinced myself just one more lesson plan or stack of papers. Until the next thing I knew, the clock said 2 am, only to wake up at 5 am to do it all again.
My mind and heart could never sit and just be. So, as I tried to keep up with the drumming of the world and checking off the boxes the world defined as essentials in becoming the “perfect me” by putting sleep on the back burner to be replaced by striving, it was merely a matter of time before my world started crumbling and God forced me back to the reality of rest.
There are so many instructions and examples throughout the Bible, including God himself on the seventh day of Creation. Jesus also made places and space to rest throughout His ministry. Though, today we are going to focus on Psalm 23.
1 The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. 2 He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, 3 He refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake. 4 Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil, my cup overflows. 6 Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
- Priority– In the very beginning of this Psalm, we are pointed to the Lord and His character. Further emphasizing, the need for Him to be on the throne of our lives and how we use our time, rather than the other way around. For ALL is His to begin with. By prioritizing, our innermost passions are also revealed, so we may choose to invest in who and what are dearest to us, rather than simply saying yes to everything.
- Physical Position & Healing– Verse 2 directs us to the physical position of rest in “lie down”. Though, sleep is not to be mistaken as the only form, for some choose to find rest through other means like creativity or soaking in nature. Still, carving out times to pause all and recharge is crucial, not only for maintaining, though also in healing of cells and organs so we may reach our full potential as God’s unique designed vessels.
- Posture – The latter half of verse 2 and 3 refer to the heart and posture of rest, including talking to God, but more importantly LISTENING. Learning to simply trust even in the waiting, rather than trying to solve or rush to get what we want is not easy. Though it is the process of opening our hearts in surrender, God will restore and bless us even greater than what we began with.
- Peace – Verse 4 assures no matter what battles may be happening around us or the valley we may be walking through, we are never alone for God is with us. Therefore, even in the face of death, we can have peace beyond all understanding. For this world is not our end.
- Pouring – The phrase of “my cup overflowing” comes from verse 5. I can’t speak for you, though I want that idea to be a description of my life. Yet I am reminded, we are unable to pour into others when we ourselves are empty. Therefore, resting in God and his goodness is essential, not only to fill us back up again. But so we can go make a difference in this world for HIM.
- Power – The process of rest also releases God’s power, especially the more we learn to be humble and give ourselves grace, instead of everything being a race. For our weakness amplifies God’s fame and name. And I promise just because you are in bed, rely on wheels or tubes does not mean He can’t use you.
Just like a toddler fighting the nap in protest, we cannot always see the need for rest ourselves. Another huge reason community is so helpful! Though after looking deeper into this passage in Psalms, I pray you now will refuse to run from rest. Rather you will embrace it.
*If you are looking for more information/ resources on rest, please check out the following links:
- Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity by Dr. Sandra Dalton Smith https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y12N4YK/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1
- Soul Care When You’re Weary by Edie Melson https://www.amazon.com/Youre-Weary-Embracing-Exploring-Creativity ebook/dp/B07G9PLQ9C/ ref=sr_1_3crid=3THXC9TEM6O7Y&dchild=1&keywords=edie+melson&qid=1610603027&s=digital-text&sprefix=edie+me%2Cdigital-text%2C154&sr=1-3