Over a year ago I sensed that the Lord was saying to me, “Rest”, and then, “Rest” and then, “Rest”.
And it was really making me angry.
I had no clue what that meant. I had work to do, bills to pay, months to make up for… and I was supposed to… Rest?
It’s been more than a year since. What a year it has been. Launching full-on into full-time ministry work, leaping off of the cliff, shifting my focus and life dramatically, it has been a busy and full year. But in the midst of all that, I can honestly say that I now know what was being suggested to me.
I’ve learned a few things in terms of rest.
The first thing I’ve learned is that rest comes from the inside out. While we in our western culture (and most likely around the world), impose rest and play and entertainment and holidays and and and, on ourselves, we don’t really know how to rest.
I’ve realized that real rest has nothing to do with our external circumstances. That the environment which we create for ourselves has little ability to grant us ‘rest’ if in fact we are not resting in our inner person.
And so, rest in the midst of work, is quite possible. And rest in the midst of increasing pressure is possible also.
Rest and resting has nothing to do with what we are doing. True rest, is all about how we are doing life, and who we are being in our inner selves.
Rest is that state of knowing whom holds our world together, knowing the ebb and flow of life around us, and yet being centered into a state of peace from deep inside.
There are some interesting scripture passages about rest. If you are interested I encourage you to read Hebrews 4. All throughout that chapter we are told that there is a rest that is available to those who walk with God. That we are to try to enter that rest for it is made just for you and I.
Of course the idea of rest is laid out right at the beginning of creation, when God spent six days working and rested on the seventh. And while we have become distracted and legalistic believing this to be about what we are doing, true rest really does come from inside ourselves.
Dependency: this is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the inner state of rest.
It is only in dependance on God for our very lives, that we can enter into rest. As long as we are the ones making things happen, putting the pieces together, holding all in our hands, we will never enter into true rest.
We may manage the outer accoutrements of rest. We may have vacations and short work weeks, we may have time for any number of recreational activities, but all of these things will come up hollow and like an itch never scratched, if we do not have real dependance on the Lord and the rest deep within that comes from that.
The more dependent we are, the more rest we have.
It is as simple, and horrible (to our human pride), as that.
Alignment: is the second word that comes to mind in the quest for real rest.
- Are we in alignment with the heart of God for our lives?
- Do we carry the load that is ours to carry?
- Have we stepped into the risking that is required of us?
The further we step into our gifted and anointed places, the more rest available to us.
It is simply a matter of proximity. How close in are we to the heart of God’s presence?
Imagine an open umbrella, and the handle as God’s presence. Imagine that we are doing life alongside this presence, sometimes nearer and sometimes farther away.
Now an umbrella gives protection from the elements. It is a safety in the midst of overbearing heat or damp.
God as our umbrella is the same. The closer into the center of this umbrella, we find greater safety and covering.
Now, some of us have been tempted from time to time to live outside of this umbrella. I think back to years ago when a close friend was moving away from the center of God’s presence, and I was tempted to follow along.
But in the onslaught of ‘bad things happening’ (seriously), I realized my error, and though it was not my wish to break fellowship with my friend, it became crystal clear that if I had to choose between my friend and God, that God would win out.
And so, I distanced myself from my friend, and moved back into and under the covering of God’s presence. We cannot find God outside of where God is. And when we try, when we refuse to make hard decisions unto God, we will not find rest.
Simple and horrible as that.
All this to say, as we increase our dependency, and as we align our lives unto Godliness and into his presence, we find rest.
Deep within our beings, and even in the midst of not having all the answers, even in the midst of relationships that we can’t make happen as we would like, and even in the midst of life different than we may have ever imagined, we find God.
We enter into The Presence. We are never the same. We rest.