Sleep? Simple lack of action? Netflix and chill? Full on vacation?
Maybe it’s more like – that thing that is out of reach.
Understanding true rest can be like trying to understand the meaning of Peace. It is hard to grasp that concept when everything happening around you and everything you feel you need to be doing are contrary to it. When you constantly feel rushed, pushed, pulled and stressed the idea of peace or rest does not come easily to mind. You tend to feel like reaching for that is actually just lazy – you don’t have time to rest. You feel cannot find peace when your brain won’t stop swirling with the shoulds, should haves and got tos.
Rest ~ verb
1. To cease work or movement or to allow to remain inactive in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Mark 2:23 – 28 23 One Sabbath he was going through the grainfields, and as they made their way, his disciples began to pluck heads of grain. 24 And the Pharisees were saying to him, “Look, why are they doing what is not lawful on the Sabbath?” 25 And he said to them, “Have you never read what David did, when he was in need and was hungry, he and those who were with him: 26 how he entered the house of God, in the time of Abiathar the high priest, and ate the bread of the Presence, which it is not lawful for any but the priests to eat, and also gave it to those who were with him?” 27 And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. 28 So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.”
Did you notice? In the definition there is a purpose to the rest
“To relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength”. When we are constantly going and doing, planning and implementing, we are using up our energy and strength. When we think of rest as simply a cessation of movement or work we are selling ourselves short. That list of to dos is still running in our head, the stress of gotta get it done is still weighing on us. This is not rest!
We wives especially tend to keep these running checklists in our head of the things we must do to “be a good wife” . Everybody’s list is different, but most of us tend to put other peoples “good wife” items on our list, or compare our list to someone else’s. In one way or another we think our list isn’t good enough. When we prison wives look at our list we may sometimes feel like that is where we failed. Maybe if I had the right list, maybe if I followed it better then we wouldn’t be here. Even when you recognize that is not true – he made his own decisions, it is all too easy to fall into that “I am not enough” thinking.
Those checklists are something we need to get rid of completely. Being a good wife, mom, or just woman is not contingent on us following a set of rules. Take a look at that verse in Mark above again. The Pharisees were judging the disciples because they were simply plucking some heads of grain on their way through the field. They had “done what is not lawful” according to the strict checklist the Pharisees had drawn up. Jesus himself told them to back off – the Sabbath (meaning rest) was made FOR US, not the other way around. It is not commanded as another rule to follow or something to nit pic apart and see who you can call down for it. The Sabbath was created as a help to us, God knew we would need rest to keep our connection with him in good standing. He knew we would need refreshment and time to recover our strength.
Rest is commanded in the same way we have established rules for bedtime for our kids.
What happens when your kid doesn’t get enough sleep? They are cranky, not interested in doing anything and downright hard to be around! We establish bedtimes so our kids can function well, enjoy their day and keep the relationship with us on good ground. Same with our Heavenly Father. He doesn’t want to see us draining all of our energy with extra rules and checklists. He wants to be there to give us the rest and strength we need to accomplish His purposes for us – his plan to prosper us. Thinking we need to continually check off all the details that someone on Instagram said was a “perfect woman” is hindering us from actually being the amazing, accomplished woman God designed us to be.
There are even times when your own husband or child will start having checklists by which they measure you and your love, respect and commitment. You don’t need to follow those either. Do what is right, no matter what anyone else expects of you. Prayerfully decide for yourself what it is God is calling you to.Take things one day at a time, dear. Goals are great, and you should have them and work towards them, just do it in the way God calls you to. Each of us has our own story and our own perspective. Work from there, view it all through the lens of scripture, and simply “do the next right thing” as Elizabeth Elliot said.
Hungry while you walk through the grainfield with your Lord? Have a snack!
Recognize that your kid is needing you more than usual today? Give him the day off school!
Need to go to the store and your pre-schooler refuses to get dressed? Take her in her pajamas!
Husband called from jail being extra? Love and encourage him!
Don’t worry about what other people are going to think or say. That’s your kid, your husband and you love them like no-one else can.
Taking the time to truly rest, letting go of the checklist running in your head and allowing Christ to have control is essential to keeping your sanity. It is crucial to keeping your home running smoothly even in super chaotic times. It is the one thing that will keep your relationships strong and on the right path. As long as you are taking care of yourself Spiritually, Physically, Mentally, and Emotionally then you will be in the right position to know and do right. God will always provide you direction, follow Him alone. Weigh everything you are told against scripture. The only real checklist you were given by God was this…
1. Love The Lord God with all your heart, soul and mind.
2. Love your neighbor as yourself.
That’s IT. Just 2 things to measure by. Not the “20 best practices for moms” on Pinterest or the “10 principles for a Godly wife” in your Insta feed. While those lists can be helpful reminders of ways you CAN do the 2 things above, they are not a commanded specific list from God, they don’t fit everyone in every season. Measure them against your main 2, Love God – Love your neighbor, and then use what you need to help you focus.
My main point here? Walk away from those burdensome checklists in your brain and find rest in Christ. Let Him relax, refresh and strengthen you!