Down the hallway and through the church foyer, I hurried as if going to a fire. Two steps into the sanctuary, someone grabbed my arm. “Slow down. You look like you’re in attack mode.”
I was at it again. Focused on the tasks before me as the pastor’s administrative assistant. Oblivious to the people around me who needed my attention. And also unaware of my own need to stop and take a deep breath to keep myself from getting stressed out.
I’m a doer. Not a bad thing when balanced with rest, relaxation, and large doses of fun. The problem is this balance eludes me. I feel guilty when I’m not doing.
Several years ago, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands after two back-to-back surgeries. The latter involved my vision, so I couldn’t read, work on the computer, or exert myself in any way. Instead of allowing my spirit, soul, and body a time of rest and recuperation, I fought the downtime. I fretted over the slow healing process. I grumbled about the inability to do anything around the house. I even complained about missing so much time at work. Friends told me to stop worrying and to allow my body time to heal. Someone suggested I accept the downtime as a gift. My greatest need was to “rest in the Lord.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know how.
My prayer became, Teach me how to be still before You. As always, God was faithful. In those quiet, intimate moments with Him, I found exactly what I needed—acceptance, affirmation, and strength. He drew me close, watering my dry, thirsty soul and showing me my identity is not in what I do—but in who I am as His child.
Jesus is our example. He took time to get away by Himself and rest. Jesus hung out with His disciples. He shared meals with His friends. He even spent time playing games with the children.
Sometimes our misguided idea of what it takes to please God will ensnare us, putting us in bondage to a “works mentality” and stealing our peace and joy. Fortunately, He doesn’t require us to prove our worth by being constantly busy or by getting lost in the doing—while missing the rest found in simply being. Tremendous freedom resides in knowing we don’t have to earn God’s love or approval.
I’m ready to rest in the Lord. How about you?
(Photo courtesy of pixabay.)
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