Rest. Sabbath. Renewal.
God commanded it.
God modeled it.
We fight it.
We have a tendency to think getting things done depends on us. It’s as if we are the only ones or last ones to be able to (fill in the blank here). We’ve been conditioned to believe that success is doing a lot and being involved in everything.
Especially as creatives, it’s hard to rest. There’s always something to do.
- Our day job.
- That project that needs finishing.
- Developing that new great idea.
- Someone wants our help with something.
- Another song to develop.
- Another blog post to write.
- Some more footage to edit.
Still God calls us to rest. To slow down. To be still.
And not just because it’s good for us. There is value in intentionally taking time to remember God, His story, the great things He has done, and to be in that truth. God knows that we need time to refocus on who He is and what He has done. To do that well, we need to step away from work, even if it is work we enjoy.
But now, the world is beginning to see that what God originally told us to do really is the best idea.
I recently watched a TED talk by a guy named Carl Honore. He is a journalist in London, England who is used to living with, and enjoys, a fast paced life. But he is also discovering the value of slowing down and resting. (Does that sound like a Sabbath anyone?) You can watch it here.
He realized he had a problem when we was interested in buying a book that was advertised as featuring one-minute stories so that he would be able to get story time done faster at bedtime with his son. He was shocked he would even consider such a thing and began to investigate not only his own life, but others lives and societies as well. With what he discovered he published a book (In Praise of Slowness) that encourages people to slow down because it will help them live longer and enjoy life by not missing the important moments. In actuality, it also allows them to be more productive in less time.
This is not a new idea to God. And it shouldn’t be for us. Beyond the commandment that reminds us to Sabbath, there are two verses that come immediately to my mind.
In Psalm 46:10, the psalmist writes these words of God:
“Be still and know I am God”.
And in Isaiah 30:15, the Lord says,
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.”
Attention is also drawn to how mankind often will have none of this.
We think ‘let’s do as much as we can for God because He needs us’ and then ‘let’s squeeze in some time to quickly see if He has anything to say’.
But in doing so, we miss so much. God doesn’t need us, and when we spend all of our time rushing frantically around trying to get stuff done, we end up missing out on the God whom we need.
This isn’t a easy thing to do, especially on purpose. I have yet to successfully and consistently incorporate this as a regular pattern in my life. When I do, though, I do notice a difference. Until the busyness of ministry and life once again takes over. And I don’t think that doing the creative thing we love that is also our daily work is really restful.
Sure, God can get our attention in the hectic busy moments, but it is in the quiet restful moments that the special communion happens. When we are gently reminded of the Abba Father who loves us and who has compassion and mercy upon us. Who binds up our wounds and renews our hurting hearts.
By taking the time to rest, not only are we refreshed, but the Lord is honored. We are reminded of who He is and all He has done. We are able to again enter fully into the truth of His character and the fullness of His story. Our life comes back into alignment with the One who holds the universe together.
And the privilege of serving and creating is once again a joy instead of a duty.
What is most challenging to you about taking time for Sabbath and rest?
How have you met this challenge? If you haven’t yet, what are you willing to try?
Please leave a comment below or share this post with a friend.
For some practical suggestions, let me recommend this article by Brady Boyd: Sabbath: How to Take a Day Off.