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In today’s society, we face conflicting views, stigmas, and expectations about rest. One side of the coin touts that idleness equals laziness, time is money so don’t waste it sitting still, and that we should always be doing something. The other extreme claims that taking time for ourselves often and putting ourselves as top priority all the time is what we deserve, and that others should put our opinions, wants, desires, perceived needs, appearances, wealth, and fame above all else. If we listen to what the world says we will certainly be left confused and wondering what on earth we should do.
Fortunately for those who have a relationship with God, He helps us to understand how we should seek and value rest. Looking to what God says is the only way to find true rest and peace in a never satisfied world.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.Isaiah 53:6
We need to remember that this world is full of broken people, ourselves included. In Isaiah we are compared to sheep. Sheep like to wander off, always chasing a patch of green grass way off in the distance, wandering away from the love, care, provision and protection of their shepherd. We chase after those little patches of attractive impulse, leaving behind what God is trying to provide for us. This tends to leave us feeling drained, afraid, overwhelmed or even confused. We become restless as we drift away from His instruction.
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.Psalms 23:1-6
Those two extremes about rest are both completely inaccurate views. What we really need is to rest in the knowledge that God is in control. He is our shepherd, will always look after us, and will quiet our soul and provide us with the rest we need in this chaotic world. He has given us a new identity in Him and instructs us in all areas of our life so that we never need to chase after anything because He provides it all.
Being always on the move or incredibly idle are neither right ways of living. There is a time for rest and a time for work. Even God worked 6 days to create the whole world then rested the entire seventh day. He calls us to rest, to sleep, to be filled with His peace. He wants us to work hard for His Kingdom, but He also knows we need to take time to rest.
‘In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for he grants sleep to those he loves. ‘Psalms 127:2
Allow yourself to rest and not always be in the hustle and bustle. Don’t toil in vain making a road when He already has the path paved for you, but don’t sit on the curb while your path is being paved ahead of you waiting for you to step out onto it.