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“Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.”

Watchman Nee

I’m a crammer. I’ve been known to cram large boxes of Tupperware into my then 1974 Datsun B-210, breaking the rear-view mirror. I enjoy the challenge of cramming groceries in the refrigerator. Cramming too much into my schedule though can have negative results.

I became tired and without emotion or motivation after a busy Fall schedule of travel and additional holiday responsibilities. Those symptoms signaled my need for balance and rest. Jesus cares about our emotional and physical bodies. He sent a friend to ask me questions and help reevaluate my schedule. Jesus did this with the apostles as well. “The apostles returned to Jesus and told Him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:30-31). Notice, Jesus didn’t give them ‘Atta boys’ for all they had accomplished. His focus was on taking care of their needs. We too need to do the same.

Rest isn’t just a ceasing or slowing down from activity. Rest is an internal state of the heart and mind. I’m tempted to cram my schedule with seeing as many family and friends when I return to Omaha. On a recent visit, a friend asked how I was doing. I told her my heart was at rest. The internal state of my heart was full of joy and peace. I had the sense that I was doing what the Father wanted me to do.

One way to get to the place of rest is to have margin in your life and take regular sabbaths. Another way to arrive at the internal destination of rest is by being obedient to the Father’s will; doing no more and no less than what He desires. Exhaustion or anxiety are fruits from following my will or doing things out of obligation. The will of God always provides ample grace to accomplish what He desires.

Christmas is right around the corner and jam-packed with activities to do. Ask the Lord what He wants you to be involved in so that you experience internal rest: His peace and joy. And take Jesus’ words to heart: go away by yourself and rest a while. I’m refueling myself this season by cross-stitching Christmas ornaments while listening to an audio Christmas story. What can you do for yourself to find rest for your soul and body?

“Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength…It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.”

Charles Spurgeon

Relevant Reflection:

When have you experienced rest and what can you do to instill more rest into your schedule?

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