To be honest, ‘rest’ is not my favourite topic. When I was tasked to write about this, I felt an inner dread. You see, I love to work. I enjoy getting things done. What do I do for fun? Work. Shawn used to have such a hard time asking me to get off my laptop to go for a walk in the park. So… you can imagine how counterintuitive this topic is for me.
Yet at the same time, how apt and timely it was to be tasked to write this! Just when I was getting into ‘hustle and bustle’ mode 2-3 months ago (after Circuit Breaker), the Lord started reminding me about slowing down, and living life at His pace. Again.
Ask any entrepreneur about how they have been; the immediate reply would probably be, “Busy.” There are always a thousand and one things to be done. Even when it seems like everything on the ‘to-do’ list has been checked off, trust me, there is still work to be done.
‘I have so much to do today that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.’
I once read the above quote by Martin Luther King and felt so challenged. What an incredibly busy man; and he chose to spend the FIRST THREE HOURS of each day in prayer? I mean... does he have more than 24 hours in a day?
Resting in the Lord is a journey I am constantly on. It feels like a game where I conquer a level of ‘Rest’ only to be reminded that there’s yet another. And another. Through this journey, I am beginning to realise to a greater extent that the Lord’s desire for us is to return to the garden of Eden - His original intent - for us to enjoy rest with Him.
We know that rest is biblical and important - God rested on Day 7 of creation, and we are called to observe the Sabbath. But what is rest? How does living from a place of rest look like in our daily routine?
First, let me just say this: Rest is not an activity; rest is a state of mind. It’s the posture of your heart.
Have you heard of this phrase, ‘It’s not what you say, but how you say it’? Well, when it comes to rest, it’s not really about what we do, it’s more about the posture of our hearts. We could be chilling and watching Netflix but not be at rest, because our minds may be striving and thinking about the next thing on the ‘to-do’ list.
So how do you know when you’re living from a place of rest? Here is my two cents’ worth:
You are not easily anxious.
You choose surrender more often. Almost nothing fazes you - you are calm and composed because you know that at the end of the day, God is in control and He has it all figured out. You can lean on His understanding to navigate through life and unexpected circumstances. Philippians 4:16 is a good reminder for us to stay in His peace - ‘Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.’
Your tank is always filled.
You are not running on empty. You’re a fun person to hang out with because you’re not constantly restless and draining energy from others. On the contrary, your constant communion with the Father keeps you filled and overflowing with grace and love to others around you.
You can ‘afford’ it.
You don’t have the need to be in power. You don’t strive to perform or prove yourself. Even when others cross you, you can afford to show grace and kindness, to let it go, and to cultivate meekness because your heart is at rest. You know that God is just and faithful and He will not shortchange you.
You’re not rushing.
You have time. You don’t hurry from place to place, or task to task. You slow down to smell the flowers, enjoy nature, and take time to explore new things. You are present - in the here and now. You allow yourself to be curious and in awe of our Creator. Let Him show you new things!
You are not afraid of missing out. #noFOMO
You rest in His love for you. You don’t strive to try everything because you know He has your best interests at heart. You don’t complain and grumble about missing out because you know God has the best timing for you and if it’s part of His plan, your story will continue to unfold for good. There is nothing to lose or gain where God is not bringing you. And you’re perfectly okay with that, no FOMO for you.
You bear good fruit.
‘I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.’ - John 15:5
When you’re at rest, you’re not cluttered with plans and the ‘what’s next’, and that gives you space to lean in and hear from God. Take instruction from Him - remain in His ways - let Him lead you to green pastures and guide you to be rooted by streams of water so that you can bear good fruit in season. Not by our doing, but His leading, and His will. Our job is to abide, to rest, to remain in Him.
You have renewed strength.
‘Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall. But those who wait upon the LORD will renew their strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not faint.’ - Isaiah 40:30-31
You are not easily tired, bored, or restless because even when there seems to be lots of work to do, you know that in the waiting, in His presence, He will renew your strength, and give you joy to complete your assignment. This is not a human kind of strength - it’s not adrenaline - it comes from the reassurance and hope that God is in control and He is able.
You are happy.
You are satisfied and content with life. You don’t strive to be in a ‘better place’ because you understand that there is no ‘better place’ than being faithful in stewarding your current season. You know that life is an adventure, a ride, and the Lord is taking the driver seat. You’re happy with the way things are going because you trust where the Lord is directing you. And you’re enjoying the ride of your life.
How many of the above points resonate with you? We can all work from a position of rest. If you’ve the tendency to ‘work too much’, perhaps it’s time to change the narrative and tell your mind to stop hustling. Let’s not work unto a sense of achievement of fulfilment, but let’s work unto a greater purpose.