"This is what the Lord says:
'Stop at the crossroads and look around.
Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.
But you reply, ‘No, that’s not the road we want!’'"
What a timely verse for me to read today. With five, simple commands of what to do in order for me to find rest. Yet, the reply of Judah is also too often my own reply. "No, that's not the road we want!"
This isn't the road I want Lord, take me somewhere else...but it has to be the road if I want to find rest.
"God is jealous for the honour of his sabbaths.
If walking out on the sabbath
to seek for food was thus reproved,
walking out on that day purely to find our own pleasure
cannot be justified."
Matthew Henry Commentary on Exodus 16:23
When God has called me to rest, even the tiniest distraction that draws me away from Him can lead me to disobedience, worry, and wandering. God has called me to worship Him alone. He gives me rest so that I may be able to worship Him. He knows all the things that are vying for my attention, that are calling my name.
My prayer is that His whispers of my name calling me to Him will be louder than the distractions of the world. He is jealous for honor and worship. I don't want to hold back. He doesn't hold back on me.
I love fall. I'm pretty sure I've said that enough times where you aren't surprised anymore.
I love crisp mornings and I love bright blue, wispy cloud days. I love that the leaves know to change colors and fall when the wind blows them off of their trees.
I love that when I drive up to my parents house, I top a hill and see vast white cotton fields starting to bloom on my right and on my left.
Fall doesn't seemed rush to me. It's the season where colors change and so do I. The season before the hustle and bustle. The season where things can be enjoyed, slowly and peacefully before everything gets loud again.
The fall is the time where things seem peaceful and more restful.
I almost didn't write at all today. I wanted to write and in a way knew I needed to write. I just didn't want to. I came home, worked in my backyard, talked to my mom on the phone, had dinner with my roommates and then was about to pull out the computer, but went to lay in my bed instead. And that is where I am right now. Typing this out on my phone, desperately trying to keep my eyes open.
Desperate. That's a word that has been showing up all around me lately. It means to "have an urgent need or desire." But, there is another definition that stood out to me. It said desperate was something "reckless or dangerous because of despair, hopelessness, or urgency."
I am desperate for some hope.
I am desperate for some truth.
I am desperate for God's love.
I am desperate for some rest.
For the days where I don't want to talk to anyone. I'm desperate to talk to God.
For the days where I just want to lay in bed. I'm desperate for the Lord's strength.
For the days where I don't have answers when someone asks if I'm alright. Im desperate for the Word of God.
For the days where my head overthinks and my mind becomes my worst enemy. I'm desperate for God's rest.
I'm desperate to be pulled out of the pit, but I'm also desperate to not forget Who pulled me out the pit.
To remember that He hears my prayers.
That He gives me more strength than I imagine.
That His word never fails.
I'm desperate to remember that He gives me rest and in Him I am renewed and refreshed.
Lord, I'm desperate for You...
I know that rest is waiting for me and I know that the Lord will give me rest. Besides the fact that my body just needs rest sometimes and I need to break away from my routine sometimes, God commands us to rest. After He created, well everything, He rested on the seventh day and admired all that He created. He set apart this day and made it holy. Then, He commanded us to remember and observe this day.
“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy."
In the Old Testament, while the Israelites were journeying to Canaan, they came to a point in their travels where food was scarce and they started complaining to Moses. The Lord heard their grumbling and said that in the evening they would eat quail and in the morning they would be filled with bread. The people were only to collect enough for that day and no more. Each day the Lord was going to provide just what they needed. If they collected too much or kept some for the next day, it would ruin. On the sixth day, they were to gather twice as much, because on the seventh day, the Sabbath, they were to rest. They couldn't even cook! Not a finger was to be lifted, only rest was to be observed. The footnote in my Bible says:
"The Israelites were not to work on the Sabbath -- not even to cook food. Why? God knew that the busy routine of daily living could distract people from worshiping Him. It is so easy to let work, family responsibilities, and recreation crowd our schedules so tightly that we don't take time to worship. Carefully guard your time with God."
This is so true! If I am not intentional in taking time to rest, if I allow my schedule to get so busy or fill all my hours with meaningless tasks, my heart and mind get so far away from thoughts of rest. I love routines, but I have to remember to take a break from them sometimes. Whether it be on a Sunday or a Friday, I need rest. I need rest to slow down. I need rest to catch up. I need rest to worship. The Lord God worked hard creating the world in six days and He took joy in what He created on the seventh. He allows me to work hard six days, so that I can praise Him for that (and all His many other blessings) on the seventh. The Sabbath may look different for all of us, it may even be on different days, regardless of when it falls we are to observe it. We are to rest, so that we can worship the God who provides for us daily.
“Come to me,
all you who are weary and burdened,
I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you
and learn from me,
for I am gentle and humble in heart,
you will find rest for your souls."
Friday is my favorite day of the week. It used to be Thursday. And I love the weekend, don't get me wrong! But, Fridays are my new favorite. Friday is my day off from work. (I know, I know. Many of you are saying, "how nice!" And you would be right.) But, having the day off isn't the only reason it's my favorite.
Friday is the day that I can wake up slowly and not rush to be anywhere. I can lay a little longer in a messy bed. I can enjoy the quietness of the morning and watch the light of day creep through the windows. I can drink my coffee a little slower and I can actually eat breakfast! I stay in my pajamas and sometimes all day.
Friday is my favorite, because I spend the majority of the time alone. It's the day where I recharge and rest. My quiet time is uninterrupted and often much longer, because I have time to enjoy it, not rush through it. I can sit, read, and be quiet as I dig into the Word and actually listen and hear what God is telling me. Friday is the day that I simply rest in the Lord. Other days it can feel rushed, pushy, and impersonal.
On Friday, the rest comes easy, natural, and simple.
There are many, many different ways that we can find rest. Some people like to be around other people, others may go for a run, or visit a museum after work. Since we are all different, we all rest and relax differently. When it comes to finding rest, here are four tips that help me.
Make it a priority | Rest may only come for a few minutes in the morning or it may not happen until everyone in the house is asleep, but I need to find moments where I can just be alone and recharge. I enjoy the quiet, especially in the mornings. I so badly want to be a morning person, because I love the start of the day as the sun starts rising, but I love sleep too! I'm the most alert in the mid/late afternoon, so, when I come home, that is typically when I rest. Then, I'll do whatever I need to do that evening, whether it be laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, or writing. But, once 10:30 gets nearer and nearer, my body knows it's time for some good rest -- sleep.
The point: find at least some time during the day where you find a little bit of rest, it's going to look different for everyone.
Break away from normal routine | This can be hard for me, because I do love a routine. I wake up, make my bed, get ready for work, drive to work (the same way every day), use the same gas station every time, come home (the same way every day), and put my shoes and bag in the same spot every day. My bed time is the same, wake up time is the same, and the way I turn on my lamp, turn off my overhead light, then turn on my box fan is the same. I am a person of routine. But, sometimes, I just have to get out of that. I'll take a longer way home or go roam Target right after work (dollar section always gets me) or I'll change what time I wake up in the morning to read whatever book is on my nightstand (right now there are about four or five). Breaking up my routine makes me look at my day differently and may help me to see a new way to find just a moment of rest.
The point: routines are not bad, but make sure rest time is included, and if it isn't, change up your routine to see where you maybe can find rest.
Do something you enjoy | I love to be alone and, thankfully, most of my friends know this and respect it (though they may not understand it). I enjoy having a day where I don't really see many people. I enjoy walking around downtown, taking pictures, and exploring. I enjoy hanging in my hammock reading until I fall asleep. But, I do also enjoy being with friends. Whether we go to the park, go kayaking, or to the movies, doing things that I enjoy helps me to rest and focus on just resting. The things that give us energy, may also help us to rest.
The point: doing something you love and enjoy should be something energizing and restful.
Get creative | Watch a movie. Paint something. Go for a walk. Pick out flowers. Write. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Go kayaking. Go hiking. Drive somewhere. Take a nap. Go for a run. Play a video game. Take a picture adventure. Be alone. Go with friends. Cook something. Play an instrument. Go see a band. Watch Netflix. Get a cup of coffee. Draw.
The point: There is something that you enjoy doing and you aren't doing it. So do it and rest.
God is not only the place that I will find ultimate rest, because He is rest, but He also rested Himself. So did Christ. If God and His son, who are holy and controlling of everything, even time, needed rest, I think that it is important for me to follow their lead on this as well.
After God was finished speaking the world into existence, He saw that the things He created were good. Then, He rested. I tend to rest because I am hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and I just need a break from things. I know that during these moments, I'm so weak and I just need to take a time-out from things and come back to them a little while later. God, however, rested not because He was weary, but because He was pleased. In six days, He created the earth and all that moves on it and He saw that it was good. It was all that He imagined it to be and He was pleased at how His creation turned out. So, He rested, in a celebratory way. He rested so that He could watch all that He made, to enjoy and celebrate what He had just done. Then, He sat aside this resting day and made it holy, commanding us to observe it. That day, where He rested to celebrate His creation, is now the day that we observe and praise Him for all that He made.
God rested to enjoy His creation, we rest to enjoy the Creator.
Christ, being both man and God, also rested in a couple of different ways. And since Jesus was also man, I'm thinking He may have gotten tired, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. There are stories in the Bible of Jesus sleeping (and being woken up and slightly annoyed, which is totally me in the mornings) and drawing away into quiet places. He would rest in people's homes after traveling, He would stop to eat a meal, and He would draw away from the disciples to be alone with His Father and pray. For me, those are three great examples of how to rest. Especially the last one.
When I find myself getting angry or frustrated with people, or tired of being lonely, my first reaction is to shut down and not in the restful way! Instead of taking a moment to withdraw to a quiet place and pray, I voice my frustrations out loud to a friend or I ignore the situation in my stubbornness. Jesus didn't seclude Himself. Even when He was sleeping, the disciples were nearby, and although they couldn't always stay awake like He wanted them to, they were near.
Jesus would enter houses for rest, while His friends would welcome in rest.
Jesus tells us in His word that we are to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. His yoke is easy and burden is light. He is ready to help me carry whatever I have been attempting to drag alone. Jesus invites me to come into His presence and seek the rest that flows from Him. I welcome Him in, as I enjoy and praise God for the ultimate rest He gives.
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