Summer is here and school is out! Woohoo!! This means that many will enjoy some kind of rest. Families will go on vacations, others will enjoy some time off at home. Many of us will enjoy a more relaxed schedule. But no matter how our summer turns out one thing is true – we all need rest. But we need rest of different kinds and I find that most of us tend to only think of one kind. So let’s walk through three kinds of rest all of us are in need of.
I have 4 kids, a husband and a big dog, so there is always someone who needs help, cuddles, correction, explanation, time or a walk. There is my home that needs nonstop care, my involvement at church, food that needs to be cooked, and errands that need to be run. On top of all of this I want to exercise, read, and write. I have resigned myself to the fact that I am in a season where “sleeping in” does not exist, at least not yet. But there are things that I am working on to find a bit more physical rest. The crock pot has become my BFF, I try not to do any housework on Sundays, and I go to bed ridiculously early. God commands us to rest in the fourth commandment. To take one day in seven to stop doing all the work we do during the week. We need that weekly sabbath, as well as daily rest in order to flourish in doing all God has called us to.
The fastest car in the world is the Hennessey Venom GT. It can reach speeds of 270 mph and go from 0-60 in 2.5 seconds. This is impressive, but it’s got nothin compared to the speed my mind can go, especially at night. I am constantly thinking about the next 500 things that need to get done, and I can go from calm to stressed in under 1 second. I am sure you can relate. So here are a few practical ways I try to keep my mind under control.
There needs to be lots of prayer. The more I pray about every little thing the more calm I am, because I am actively trust God with it all.
I use a schedule and lists. I try to write down everything so that I am not caught off guard by something I inevitably forget.
I read before I go to sleep. It helps keep my mind focused on one thing instead of it trying to run in a hundred different directions.
Our minds, like the rest of our bodies, need a break.
I am sure there are many more ideas we could come up with that would help us in our quest for physical and mental rest. But there is an area of our lives that is even more important. We need spiritual rest and if we can learn to rest in this area of our lives it will affect our physical and mental life as well.
We need a kind of rest that the world cannot offer. It doesn’t matter how beautiful of a beach or mountain you go to, or how quiet and peaceful of an earthly place you find yourself in, your inner turmoil, spiritual weakness, and the disquietude brought on by sin cannot be put to rest in these places.
Jesus gives us gospel words of encouragement. He tells all of us who are worn out, whose hearts are heavy, and who are overwhelmed by the cares of their lives and the corruption in their hearts, to come to him and he will give us rest. (Matt. 11:28)
The way we get this spiritual rest is by focusing on Christ’s work and not our own; by focusing on Christ’s success on the cross and not our failures; by looking to his strength and not despairing over our weaknesses; by asking for his wisdom and not trusting in our ignorance. Basically, we need to keep Christ always before your eyes.
Focus on Jesus by focusing on his word and you will find the most important rest you need and this will affect all the other areas of your life.
The Heidelberg Catechism gives us a beautiful picture of the Gospel and the rest we have in Jesus.
Q1. What is your only comfort in life and in death?
That I, with body and soul, both in life and in death, am not my own, but belong to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ, who with His precious blood has fully satisfied for all my sins, and redeemed me from all the power of the devil; and so preserves me that without the will of my Father in heaven not a hair can fall from my head; indeed, that all things must work together for my salvation. Wherefore, by His Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, and makes me heartily willing and ready from now on to live unto Him.