Resting as a way to get things done.
In order for some things to get done I absolutely have to do something, like wash the dishes, or work on the car, or take the dog for a walk. But a lot of the time there are other things, much bigger things, that need to be accomplished, and I simply cannot do them. Oh I've tried. Sometimes I get hurt or completely wear myself out, and things actually get worse. Other times I hurt someone else or make the situation that I was trying to fix even worse than it was. Many times the carnage that my activity creates makes it almost impossible for me to take full ownership of how badly I messed things up. If it's true as they say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, then I've certainly contributed my fair share of pavement. Wow, I may even have a rest area named after me. Just kidding.
The truth is there is resting, and then there is resting. There's the resting that happens when I've worked really hard, exerted a tremendous amount of effort to accomplish something, and then I rest usually because I'm so exhausted. Sometimes all that effort paid off and sometimes not. But there is another kind of rest that has nothing to do with my work or my performance or my effort. It's the posture I take when I am completely depending on God to do all of the work. All of it. All the heavy lifting. It's not that I'm not engaged. It's just that what I'm doing is very different. In that place I am mostly just not doing much on purpose.
When I'm authentically resting in the face of painful situations or overwhelming circumstances, it's like being in a cosmic tag team wrestling match. I'm in the ring with an opponent that is bigger than me, smarter than me, faster than me and vastly more experienced than I am. I am no match, and my main job in the ring is mostly just to realize that I’m no match for my opponent and to act accordingly. So it's not like I'm not doing anything. Heck I'm running around the ring. I'm jumping up and down. I'm trying to keep from getting clobbered, and I'm getting the crowd really excited so they're ready for what's about to happen next. Then I just hop out of the ring, and on my way out, I tag the hand of the Father. He enters the ring on my behalf. Now I'm hanging out on the ropes watching God take care of business. He loves a good fight. As it turns out He is bigger, smarter, faster and more experienced than any opponent I've ever encountered, even the very worst ones. So now, whoever or whatever I was just facing in that ring, some demon of despair, or spirit of infirmity, or financial catastrophe, or evil broken system is doing what I was doing five minutes ago. Basically, it's just running for its life. But the truth is the match is already over, and everybody knows it. My adversary is about to get a total shellacking, and all I really had to do was watch. The truth is the real fight I fought in that ring wasn't with my opponent at all. It was with myself and my own ego and my own fear and unbelief that finally enabled me to tag the Father and say, "It's your turn."
I still like to do things myself a lot of the time, but I'm finding that I like resting more and more.
Scripture to consider - Ephesians 6:12 - For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (CKJV)
As you walk this journey today, what is one situation or circumstance that you are currently facing that would be transformed if you would just rest instead of trying to handle it yourself?
What are some specific things that God would like to do for you on your behalf if you would simply allow it?
How have you behaved in a way that has made it difficult for God to work on your behalf?
How can you make more room for God to do the things for you that you simply cannot do on your own?
How will you invite God to guide you in this endeavor of resting?
“Unless and until we rest in God, we will never risk for God.”
― Mark Buchanan
“A day of rest yields a hundred days of progress.”
― Adrienne Posey
“For this is the cause why we be not all in ease of heart and soul: that we seek here rest in those things that are so little, wherein is no rest, and know not our God that is All-mighty, All-wise, All-good. For He is the Very Rest.”
― Julian of Norwich
“I don’t need a rest from God. What I need is a rest from everything that is not God.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough
“How beautiful it is to do nothing, and then to rest afterward.”
― Spanish Proverb
A simple prayer for Resting:
Father, will you teach me to rest in you? I am so tired of trying to do so many things myself with so little to show for my efforts. I'm really ready to let you have a turn at transforming the landscape of my life. I give you permission to do it. In the places where I have tried to do your job, I ask you to forgive me and give me the grace to trust you and the wisdom to know what is my job and what is yours. I would really love it if you would come back to work so that I can learn to really rest.