"The Lord replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.'"
Exodus 33:14 (NIV)
It was time; my husband and I just stopped. Continuing to move forward would have resulted in turmoil on many different levels. Closed eyes, deep breaths, limp limbs - it was what was needed. It was time to rest.
As you know, I am a planner. Many times it can be used for good results. Other times, it can be detrimental. My mind and my actions keep me moving - and in turn for my wonderful husband, he keeps step with me. Maybe we aren't sharing the same projects, but we will find projects to do all the same. The last six months, after our return from our Costa Rican vacation, have been exhausting. Working full time plus jobs, and Juan changing jobs, is enough on its own. Add some family responsibilities along with the usual chores, well that's some more. The topping on the cake has been the numerous projects we have taken on, renovating our bathroom by ourselves, lots of painting, new flooring, etc. Well, you can picture it.
I'm sure you can picture it because you have been there as well. Constant movement, constant responsibilities, constant pressure - with no time for rest. Moving from one project to one responsibility to another project - it all can be very exhausting. Add into the mix all of the things to "think about" while this is going on, and neither mind or body can rest. We think that is the best thing for all of us. Keep ourselves busy. Get stuff done. Yet, that can hurt, both mind and body. God didn't design us for constant pressure - God designed us to get rest.
There are so many examples of this when we read the Bible. Of course, the obvious, that God himself rested on the seventh day after Creation. There are also other times, as we read through stories in the Bible where people rested, under trees, with family, after battle. So what makes us think we are any better than them? Our verse for today is clear that when we rest, God is still with us. When I think of our Heavenly Father, I see Him with me when I am doing something - worshiping, praying, working, serving, etc. I typically don't see Him with me when I'm resting.
God wants us to rest. God wants us to get rejuvenated and prepare ourselves for further service to Him and others. Future service can only come when our minds are clear and our bodies are fresh. Resting can be hard. That seems like an anomaly, but it is true - at least for me. To sit and do nothing, clear my mind and body, can be difficult - at first. Yet, when I give myself time to do this, it is completely restful. Today, when I rested, I thought of God saying, "That a girl!" He's with me, even as I rest.
Take time this summer to rest. Put the projects aside for a little while. Leave the problem solving for another day. Enjoy this world God gave us. Sit on your front porch (as I did this afternoon), your balcony, your back stoop, your favorite couch cushion. Gain a day for rest - with your family, by yourself - just rest. Know that God WANTS this for you, for me, for us. Rest, and know God is with you.
"Dearest God, we thank you for giving us words that help us understand that we need to rest. The constant pressures of this life can lead to constant movement, constant thinking and constant stress. Help us and be with us, God, as we purposefully take time to rest. Restore us, strengthen us, and enliven us through this rest so we may continue to share glory to you. In your name we pray, Amen."