I love staying on a schedule and keeping things as on track and as put together as possible. I had this wonderful plan laid out for posting blogs and other social media things for some other days this week, but I didn’t do any of it. And it wasn’t because I was being intentional or really resting but because on a whim I decided not to. Which is fine—it was because I was on vacation with my family and decided I really wanted to focus on that and spend those extra hours swimming and eating (like, so much food) with my family on the only (and don’t worry, isolated and careful) trip for this summer. Now, after I made this decision, I kept considering whether or not I should post and share and be active on socials. My Instagram stories were filled with activist posts and I talked, read, and wrote a lot about injustice, in more one-on-one capacities, but I didn’t take a break from scrolling and liking and commenting and checking and texting and snapping and DMing and blablablablabla. I definitely could have limited my time, but I didn’t. I anxiously scrolled through everything instead of spacing out my time and sharing what was most important, I shared what was most important while squandering my time on anxious thoughts, worrisome revelations, and concerning amounts of wanting to make sure I captured the moments in our “it-didn’t-happen-if-there-weren’t-pictures” social framework. So I took pictures, explored some more of my new film hobby, and stressed out about whether I had enough “content” from this vacation.
It was exhausting and I was as tired, more stressed, and unrested as I would have been (or maybe even more so) if I had chosen to blog, post, vlog, and share in the way I had planned. This obsession with working and achieving is rooted in a place of insecurity. Let me share something with you about myself: I have avoided reading books on Sabbath and rest because I don’t want to feel the conviction that comes with knowing that skipping Sabbath and avoiding quiet time when I’m too stressed and busy is a huge stumbling block, sinning empire in my spirit. And over this vacation weekend, I realized just how critical rest is to my soul—and I didn’t realize this because I was abiding in rest but because I wasn’t. The absence finally gave way to the hunger and need.
The hours of scrolling, picture-taking, and generally stressing about my personal feelings toward my achievements at this point in my life were overwhelming. In fact, before we left last weekend, I started developing really sharp pain in my abdomen, and anxiousness seemed to contribute to that a lot. The majority of my health problems are rooted in my stress-levels, actually. Sabbath isn’t just a time to be lazy and do nothing, but to actively purse God and in that pursual, to consequentially pursue healthy living, true rest, peace, and contentment in our present lives. We were never built to go 24/7, and that is so difficult for me to hear and understand because I want to go go go, but our hearts and bodies can only handle the hustle for so long.
Unsurprisingly, science backs up the Bible in the criticalness of rest as a rhythm in our lives. So many studies have been done that have proven the necessity of rest for our bodies and minds in a routine sense. (I’m not going to list the studies here, but for more information check out some of Jefferson Bethke and John Mark Comer’s research for their books on Sabbath!)
We are literally wired for rest and we erode that wiring and force our bodies and minds into disrepair when we demand it move and work without any rest for too long. We weren’t made to go until we run out. We were created to run, rest, refuel, and continue in the healthiest, most Spirit-connected way we can because we were not designed for rest-starvation or resistance but for wholeness and Holiness rooted in the practice and rhythm of a God who places a high, high value on rest.
Secular culture, ancient to current, did/does not value rest. The God of the Bible is the only One out of all the gods of the ancient world who commanded rest. This is one of the ways Israel was set apart from the pagan nations around them—this commandment was a blessing. While all the followers of other religious rule were bound to striving, God said, there is no striving here in my Love, and in fact, let Me tell you to rest to prove it.
We are not made successful by our work but by our rest. Our rest informs and transforms our ability and quality of work, relationships, and life in general.
We were designed to breathe slowly, sleep soundly, and rest confidently, knowing our God is in control.
To believe is to act as if it is so, and if we believe our God is in control and all Good and all Powerful, we will actively walk in rest as we trust He can handle a day without our work. (Because He can handle all of everything without us.) So rest, dear Child, in His really Good, really Gracious call for us to take a breath and know He’s in control. Life goes on as we rest, and it goes on better than if we hadn’t.