The Power of Rest.

As I write this blog it is a Saturday. I worked all week. At a desk. With a computer screen. More than 40 hours. And today, is another busy day with more obligations, one of which is work related. The weekends are supposed to be a time for resting, but when will there be time for rest? Later. It is always later. But Sister, you and I both know, later rarely shows up without her own list of things to do, accomplish, achieve, and complete.

We are just too b-u-s-y.

The other week I was convicted about my busy schedule and my level of exhaustion as I listened to a speech given by the daughter of a dear friend and fellow PBWN blogger, Dabney Hedegard (@dabneyland). Madison spoke about a “new religion,” one where we worship the god of efficiency. She shared that the philosophy of this “new religion” is eroding our sense of time, community, and self. I cried listening to her nine-minute speech, partially because it resonated so strongly with what I write, vlog, and speak about, and mostly, if I am honest, because I felt convicted. I knew I worshipped this false god; I knew I bought into the lie that my worth and identity are tied into my title, my achievements, and all the ticks I could knock off in a day’s list of to-do’s; I knew I was embracing a culture that is counter to the one I professed to believe in.

God calls us to work from a place of rest.

We work so that later we can rest, but even when later comes, we feel like we don’t have time to rest.  But here’s the problem: this is a lie our culture, this “new religion,” persuades us to believe. God created, introduced, and even commanded the Sabbath (Genesis 2, Exodus 20: 8-11) so that we would work from a place of rest, not work hard for it. If it was the latter, then our rest would be based upon our performance and not about finding our identity in Him. We don’t have to earn rest—we were created for it.

While I am not great at Sabbathing (is that even a word?), I am learning to find intentionally carve out time, even if it is just 30 minutes, without feeling guilty, to just rest. In full transparency the first time I tried it, I kept yelling to myself out loud, “I am going to enjoy my pool, it is okay to rest.” I said this out loud because inside my head was a marching band playing out a list of all the other things that still needed to get done. My body knew it needed rest, but my soul—my mind/thoughts, emotions, and will—were not ready to surrender.

Resting is not intuitive to me, I have to remind myself that I was not made for the Sabbath, but the Sabbath was made for me. (Mark 2:27)

While our culture worships achievement, productivity, efficiency; Kingdom culture values rest and an identity established upon who our Father in Heaven says we are.

Again, no mention of how many loads of laundry I got done, if I got a promotion, how many clients/sales I closed, or the number of times I volunteered in my child’s classroom that year. Rest, Sabbath rest, is where we learn to settle down, quiet our racing thoughts, put down the to-do list, and just be.

God values presence over production and performance.

Another lie of our culture tells us is to hustle and work for our worth. Machines are designed for production and peak performance, but our bodies and souls are not machines, to be rated and reviewed. We were designed, created, as His Workmanship, His masterpieces, in His image—our worth inherent in who and whose we are.

Machines are made to work and work and work hard until they break. Machines are designed to be efficient. Machines are made to break down so you can buy a brand new one that is more expensive and has more features. But you my dear friend, are irreplaceable!

My husband regularly asks me to put down my phone and stop checking my emails at 9 pm at night when we are snuggled together on the couch watching TV. More times than I would like to admit, he has asked me to be present while out to dinner.

Resting in the presence of the One who created us has value. His intent with a Sabbath rest was for it to be a covenantal sign between God and man. As a sign that identifies us, distinguishes us, as belonging to Him. Is it possible that God commanded us to rest so that we would come to know Him fully and come to love and accept ourselves fully?

God is calling you.

My friend, Jesus is calling to us. He beckons us to “come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matthew 11:28) I think that perhaps God knew we would base much of who we are on the sum total of our lives: what we did or did not do, the title we did or did not earn, the colleges we did or did not get into (or that our kids did or did not get into). Our performance plus other people’s opinions of us is bad math friends.

Rest may seem unattainable, even counterproductive. But I believe it was gifted to us. Later will come with her own list of demands for your time, so I invite you my friend to join me in telling her no.

Remove the false idol of efficiency and join me, without guilt, to just rest and ponder these questions:

  • When is the last time you truly took a Sabbath rest?

  • What small changes can you make to begin to enjoy the Rest of God, even if it is just for 10 minutes?

  • God, what do you want to share with me about Sabbath?

- Jennifer Fonseca

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