Do you ever feel like your life is stuck on mile 20 of a marathon? You just want to crumple on the asphalt and take a nap, but the mountain of Xray reports (or diapers or bills) refuses to budge. So, you push yourself on for another week, only to find yourself still at mile 20 and the finish line nowhere in sight.
Life is busy for everyone I know, and for most of us it’s hard too. In different ways and for different reasons, we find ourselves in the middle of a marathon, physically or emotionally tired, spiritually drained as we sprint past Jesus to meet the next deadline or never-ending-day of mind-numbing sameness. Sometimes, we sense Jesus running alongside, offering us gatorade and telling us to pace ourselves, but we’ve been running for a long time and we’re exhausted. Maybe it’s time for a rest.
Photo courtesy of Ilham Rahmansyah via unsplash.com
God worked for six days and rested on the seventh. This is one of the first things the Bible teaches us about God, the God in whose image we’re made. But, we don’t have time to rest like God, we’ve got too much to do. This intoxication with busyness, though, wasn’t always the norm for God’s people.
For over a thousand years, from Moses to Jesus, God’s people were marked by a work-rest ratio: work six days, rest one. It was tattooed into their national identity. But, then Jesus came and threw open the doors to non-Jews like me. Nationality didn’t play the same role anymore. Instead of being marked by a weekly day of rest, this new people of God were marked by the Holy Spirit, by love, and by worshipping over bread and wine.
So, we fill up all seven days with house work, yard work, and job work. We drive our kids from baseball to youth group to chess club. We stuff our lives full and then pour social media into the cracks. We keep our lives bursting at the seams and fall into bed exhausted each night.
Some of the busyness is out of our control, but the rest of it we choose. We could say no to the extra project at work. We could enroll our kid in one sport instead of three. Or, we could cut out Facebook for a season.
I think though, that part of us likes the numbing blur of life as we race from one thing to the next. Not that we like being exhausted all the time, but when life is full we don’t have to face the silence. Stopping would also mean giving up our grip on life and trusting God with our careers, our finances, and our kids’ future destinies.
Introducing regular rest back into our lives would mean trusting that God is the glue holding our world together, not us. The prophet Isaiah understood this. “Lord, you establish peace for us, all that we have accomplished you have done for us” (Is 26:12). If we really believed that, then we could choose to rest, even if that meant doing less than our classmates, the other moms on Facebook, or the guys at the gym.
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Over the past year and a half, I’ve sprinted through classes, work days, and blogs. Life has been full and good, but I need rest. I don’t want to run myself ragged or sprint past Jesus while he’s telling me I’ve taken too much on. So, for the month of May, I’m taking a break from blogging, and plan to be back the first Tuesday of June.
Here’s to bearing God’s image, not just in our work, but also in our rest.