(Sorry, I accidentally left my laptop at the office day before yesterday and wasn’t able to write/publish the devotional yesterday. I think I’ve been on a little overload.)
Come unto me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11: 28)
Oh, this sounds so delicious! I do spend time “resting in Him” each morning, and I don’t know what I’d do without it. However, I’m craving more concentrated time away from it all to refuel. (It’s scheduled and booked.)
Maybe you’ve noticed this in yourself. It all builds up after a while. Temporary inconveniences accumulate to create an underlying level of stress that rumbles around and begins to have physical consequences. And then there are the real times of tragedy. Personal crises multiply the stress a thousandfold. Sometimes it all just gets to be too much. I’m talking to you, and I’m talking to me.
The above scripture in Matthew comes to mind. I did a word study and learned that the word translated “burdened” originally meant to load down as you would load down a beast of burden or a vessel such as a ship. Picture it. Loaded down. Do you feel it as you imagine it? Do you feel it for real in your life? If you qualify in that definition, then you also qualify for the solution!
REST! That word means “repose, refreshment.” Would you like to get a second (or third or fourth) wind? Would you love to wake up in the morning, looking forward positively to your opportunities of the upcoming day? ( I do that, but I simply have too many “opportunities.”) Would you love it if you were excited and joyful again? Do you need to be refreshed?
Then 3 actions are in order.
- Stop expecting yourself to be superhuman. You can’t do it all, be it all, and achieve it all. Through the strength and power of the Holy Spirit, you can accomplish all HE has called you to do. You can pull off so much more than you could do alone without His power. (Don’t try that!) But sometimes there are way too many items on the agenda that were never on God’s list at all. They got on ours because we had trouble saying no, because it seemed like an interesting idea at the time, or because we were too unaware and in the moment to see the big picture of previous commitments.
- Recognize that rest isn’t lazy, irresponsible, or backslidden. Rest – doing nothing – is doing something. Some feel guilty when they aren’t attcking some existing task or starting a new one. Physical rest replenishes and makes you more productive in the long run. I am often not getting enough hours of sleep at night, and I need to figure that one out. In the meantime, I love short mid-day naps. Some companies even build them into employees’ schedules because of their positive effects on performance. Building into your schedule “hang-out, do-nothing” time, when you don’t have to be planning, figuring things out, and moving on tasks is a healthy thing to do. I know, it’s difficult to do when the to-do list seems to exceed your can-do list. If you must do something, go for a walk. But just know that times of mental and physical refreshing pay off in the big picture of your performance on the things that matter.
- Look to the Lord for quiet rest of the soul. Spirit rest and soul rest are even more valuable than physical rest. Setting aside time daily to enter into that space of intimate communication with God, of reflection on your life, and of prayer about it all – priceless. Read and study the Bible and other inspirational books. Nourish the deepest parts of you, and your spiritual health will begin to manifest in greater personal goal achievement, the quality of your actions in relationships, and your overall sense of well-being. Jesus said, “Come unto Me” when you feel stressed out, burdened down, and physically fatigued, and “I will give you rest.”
Lord, I confess to You that I habitually push it too hard. I’m know not taking good enough care of my body, Your temple. Point out to me the parts of my life that were “good ideas but not God ideas.” Show me the areas that may have been ordained by You for a season, but that season is over. Help me to embrace all that You have for me NOW and to have the courage to let other things go or delegate them to others whose hearts You have already been preparing. I need Your wisdom, O Lord!