The Key to Rest

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I don’t need to interact with very many media sources or people to hear about the challenge to so many have in getting enough rest. The challenges opposing it come from a laundry list of sources depending on who you are and what season of life you are in.

 

Those who are younger seem to be operating near the speed of light many days between work and play, responsibilities and a wide variety of leisure activities. Leisure is designed for fun and still can consume a great deal of time and energy apart from work or school.

 

Ask any young mother how her week is going and you may need to ask for a glass of lemonade for refreshment by the time she tells you all that is on her calendar. It can matter little whether or not she works outside the home full-time, part-time, or not-at-all. If she is a mom and handling all that goes into that role, enough rest can be a goal that keeps slipping out of view.

 

Mid-life doesn’t bring a great deal more rest options for many. Work responsibilities continue to grow as you move “up the ladder” and middle school, high school, and even college age children involve a lot of time and energy.

 

accommodation-beach-bed-1531672When you become a “senior” citizen, some think you have “all the time in the world on your hands.”  Unless there are health problems, most seniors stay very active in a myriad of ways between helping adult children and grandchildren, volunteering in ministry and other community organizations. It’s not unusual to hear an active senior say something like, “I don’t know how I had time to work before I retired.”

 

Certainly it’s true that some of the problem with our quest for rest comes from our own choices as well. Too many of us have a hard time saying “no” to things (especially if they are things we enjoy or someone who needs us). We are also prone to define ourselves by what we do and how we do it. That pushes us to keep going.

 

But this isn’t about giving you a list of things to do about self-care, even though I could easily do that. I know many such lists and tips are out there and they are helpful to the degree we implement them, but there is a deeper core issue that goes beyond time management, sleep routines, and boundary setting.

 

That issue got stirred up while reading and reflecting on passages in Hebrews 3 and 4. The writer lays out the source of the problem that starts with the condition of our hearts. As he retells some of the history of Moses, he notes the problem of “hardening of your hearts” and “rebellion.” The Passion Translation of a portion of Heb. 3:10 says: “They wander in their hearts just like they do with their feet and refuse to learn my ways.”

 

Later in that same chapter, the writer goes on to make it even clearer for us. Check out Hebrews 3:19 (TPT):

 

“It is clear that they could not enter into their inheritance because they wrapped their hearts in unbelief.”

 

Unbelief????  Really????

 

I believe in Him, but if that is true some of the evidence will be faith and trust that clarifies my identity, gives me peace in the midst of uncertainty, and buoys my confidence not only in big challenges, but also in the dailyness of life.

 

Perhaps we miss that underlying core principle and truth when we feel driven to be and IMG_2702do more than the Lord has asked of us. Maybe we get wooed into the world’s view of success and the grind of daily life that creates. Maybe we lose sight of the Lord and anxiety becomes a companion that impedes good sleep and rest.

 

In the midst of considering this, our pastor’s Sunday message jumped out to confirm what I was pondering in Hebrews. He reminded us of something significant in the book of Genesis (even though he is teaching through the Gospel of John).

 

When we read the Genesis account of creation, “something special happens on the seventh day − REST.”  The pastor added, “Man’s first day in the presence of God is a day of rest…then work. Learn how to rest first or your work will not be significant. If you work first, you will not rest.”

 

It confirms so well what the writer of Hebrews is telling us. The heading of chapter four in some translations is “The Faith-Rest Life.” Hebrews 4:11 (TPT) admonishes us this way:

 

“So then we must give our all and be eager to experience this faith-rest life, that no one falls short by following the same pattern of doubt and unbelief.”

 

It can be easy when I/we are busy to not take time to rest in the Lord’s presence at the start of the day. I can plead guilty to days like that, but I can also state resolutely that when I do (even if it is shorter than I might wish) it almost seems as if the Lord multiples the time that day. He helps me order my day even if that was not a specific prayer request.

 

So be sure to follow all the excellent lists of how to attain more rest, but remember the key starts with our heart, our faith, and our trust.

 

A Bible footnote related to this reads:

 

“What is the antidote to the poison of unbelief? It is mutual accountability and daily encouragement of one another.”

 

It’s also the pattern the Lord set out at the very beginning and echoes throughout the Bible that our pastor pointed out: “REST FIRST, then work.”

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27 thoughts on “The Key to Rest

  1. rest.

    even the word calms, recenters, comforts, gives hope.

    especially resting in the Lord, in His arms of comfort and grace.

    rest.

    i love it. this post, too …

  2. Wise words indeed! Rest really does make a difference, particularly if it also involves spending time with God. Thank you so much for sharing this post with the Hearth and Soul Link Party.

    1. Thanks, April! Yes, that is the exact difference that is necessary. Have a great week!🦋

  3. Pam, thank you so much for sharing your pastor’s words: ““Man’s first day in the presence of God is a day of rest…then work. Learn how to rest first or your work will not be significant. If you work first, you will not rest.”

    I have never heard of the concept of rest first, then work. You may have just revolutionized my life!

    1. I am smiling as I read this because those words revolutionized mine when our pastor said them. How could I have missed that truth in all my reading of Genesis over the years??

      Have a great day, my friend!🦋

  4. Pam, you have again, written words that touch my spirit. In this world, with all that is going on, I am guilty of not resting first and waiting to hear His voice. Thank you for reminding me that rest early before work helps me get the work done. Thanks for sharing such a great word.

    1. So grateful, Sylvia, and humbled that the Lord would use the words I have written. I think we can all fall prey to not resting first. Have a beautiful day in Him! He can’t wait to be with you when you wake up each morning💕

  5. Dearest Pam – Thank you for letting our awesome Lord penetrate your heart & mind with His profound & enduring truth. As you continue to abide ever so close to our Saviour, He constantly teaches you so many critical life lessons. Your faithfulness to share His perfect guidance & insight with us is treasured beyond measure. Thank you forever.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Vicky! Any glory and honor goes to Him. He must guide the words if they are to speak life and truth. So glad you are blessed by what I sense He gives me to share.🌹

  6. I have never thought of the fact that man’s first full day on earth was a day of rest. Never occurred to me. What a shift in thinking! As a child, I was taught the mindset of, “Work comes before play.” (As a child, play was like my rest.) And yet, I know from experience and from God’s Word that without Him, I can do nothing! My work is in vain if I’m “building” on any foundation other than Christ. FIRST THINGS FIRST! Thanks for this insightful post!

    1. It was new to me as well when our pastor taught this and I saw it was there all along. I know those childhood lessons. My parents taught me that as well and I never did learn to play or feel very comfortable doing it. I think I really started to appreciate it as a grandmother…finally! So glad to hear from you and that what I shared blessed you. Have a lovely week ahead!🌺

  7. Rest first, then work. Oh, how I often get that backwards! I love what you share here, Pam, and also the very related comment you left on my blog this morning! Such great wisdom. I appreciate you so much, friend. “So be sure to follow all the excellent lists of how to attain more rest, but remember the key starts with our heart, our faith, and our trust.”

    1. I think I was trained that way by my mother from childhood. I heard someone once say that as adults we need to recognize that sometimes we can have dessert first!

      Thanks for your kind words. I love that God had in mind we would meet and get to know each other’s hearts, thoughts, and lives in these spaces hundreds of geographical miles apart. 💕

  8. Dear Pam, oh how I needed this today! I write from the recliner with an ice pack on my back and the advil on the table because I didn’t rest first then worked on a landscaping project yesterday. Why do we push, push, push when the Lord isn’t telling us to do so? Thank you very much for sharing such an important life skill!

    1. Alice, I love when God leads me to write something several weeks ago that shows up on time in your inbox today just because He loves you so much! Take care anklet Him lead. He knows exactly what you need and when you need it. (He also knows there are earthly things to do and can show us that as well.)❤️

  9. A restful heart and mind can make even the agenda full days feel restful, I find! I am blessed with a job now where I have morning quiet time at home. I did have those crazy busy days as a young mom and wonder at times how I did it all back then!

    1. Amen! Amen!! I so agree, Lynn. I also have discovered that a restful heart with uncrushed quiet time with Him in the morning results in me also getting more done than if I had jumped right in with a list in my busyness.😊

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