Solitude. Quiet. Sleep. Freedom from busyness. An unhurried and peaceful way of living. All of these words paint a picture of rest to me. Lazy afternoons. Unhurried mornings. Hours and hours to read, write, or think. But those kinds of days—they make movies, not my calendar.
On the precipice of 2019, God entrusted with me a four-letter word. The Lord has done this for me the past several years—given me a focal word for the year ahead. Grace became my humble companion in 2017, while perseverance pushed me onward in 2018. I longed for, even prayed for an “easy” word for 2019. And then, impressed upon my heart with a fervency I have only felt on occasion, rest resided.
Oh, I thought in a most guilt-filled way, finally an easy word to endure. But then the guilt grew greater and my Type-A personality, along with my performance based perspective, kicked in. Am I to spend 2019 doing nothing? Certainly not.
I grappled with this thought for the entire month of January before accepting my word for the year.
Rest? Could this really be my word? Perhaps I heard God wrong. After all, coming to the end of January, I realized I had been busier in 2019 than ever.
In that moment of clarity, I realized my connotation of rest and the lessons I needed to learn about rest were strangers. Sitting in church that next Sunday, I began to scribble about my word for the year in my journal. That four-letter word became instruction in that hallowed space. There I discovered that the lessons I would learn about rest this year could be categorized into four main principles: (I told you I was Type-A—insert eye roll emoji here.)
Renew. Enlist. Study. Trust
Renew your body, your mind, and soul. This would require intention.
Enlist help. God was reminding me that I couldn’t do the things He had asked me to all on my own this year. I needed help—and lots of it!
Study the Word of God. I felt God calling me to really take time and pour over the Scriptures He had for me this year—going deep, not wide.
Trust God. Rest in Him—His timing, His authority, and His ways—they are far greater than mine.
So in this space—Rest—God is redefining me.
2019 has proved to be one of the busiest years ever, but at the same time, the most rest-filled. What do I mean? Well, my calendar and to-do lists brim full of things—important things. Yet my heart feels still, quiet, and restful.
I’m being careful to guard my time and fill my day with specific activities, some of which are not active at all. Exercise, space to read and learn, pockets of time to produce, an occasional nap (yes, nap!), relationship building, and creative outlets fill my days.
Admitting I need help and finding the right people for the right roles continues to be a challenge, but God’s provisions abound. Learning to rest in His timing to provide challenges my heart, but He daily proves Himself faithful.
I find study time difficult. Not because I don’t want to study, but because it’s easy to move that particular “luxury” to the bottom of the list, so the “important” things get done. To combat this notion, I’ve had to redefine what “work” is to me. Reading a book challenges my mind, so reading counts as work. Continuing education broadens my thinking, which makes studying work as well. My definition of “task” has changed and with that change doors that once hinged me in, stand wide open allowing for freedom in ways that I didn’t realize.
In recent days, several break-thru moments have reminded me of God’s sovereign care over my life and those whom I love. My God continues to prove Himself trustworthy day after day. Trusting means resting. Resting means trusting. Trusting in a God whose character traits include: sovereignty, faithfulness, and love.
As May comes to a close and I reflect on the days of 2019 gone by, I am excited to see what the remainder of this year will bring. The recharging, enlisting, study, and trust—what will that look like in the second half of 2019? Who will God enlist to help me? What will I learn from intense time in the Word? How will God prove His faithfulness again and again?
Rest—not at all what I first thought when God gave me that four letter word on January 1. And I say this with no guilt at all—I’m so glad I’ve found rest this year.
Come to me, all you 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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. –Matthew 11:28-30