When your gas light comes on in your car, you know you need to stop and fill your tank. It usually isn’t followed by a lot of questioning whether or not the car really needs fuel. It is assumed that the light is a warning, that if you don’t stop soon, you might get stuck on the side of the road and need to stop for a lot longer.
I wonder if we looked at our souls like this, how differently we would approach our care of self.
How often do we stretch ourselves beyond our human limits, believing that we can run on empty?
Do you really think you are above rest?
I spent some time reflecting this week on the humanity of Jesus. Jesus is not just God in a body, but fully human, operating fully out of the Holy Spirit. That is why he is our great empathizer. He came down and humbled himself to be weighed down by the human experience. Even though He is a member of the trinity, He was not above taking a nap.
Looking closer at the story of the storm in light of this comforts me greatly. Jesus has experienced the same relief of laying in bed after having a day where you are on your feet and are exhausted. Jesus got tired. Jesus did not see rest as supplemental nor did he see it as a reaction to stress. Instead, He saw it as necessary and something to be proactive about.
Jesus was in full-time ministry from the time of His baptism, until His death. He was constantly being told where to be, interrupted by strangers requesting healing, and bogged down with questions by the Pharisees and even his own disciples. His presence was in high demand, and knowing this he knew that he needed to prioritize space to decompress. This is the example that He showed and led His disciples in.
“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.”
Jesus’ response to the disciples as they excitedly approached their rabbi, telling him all of the good works they had done was, slow down.
He put each of us on this earth to do the works He has called us to do. They are all distinct and unique, just like each creation of His is. While He is glorified when we work for Him, we also glorify Him in our rest.
Yes. You are glorifying God by taking a nap on a Sunday afternoon instead of finishing another task on your to-do list.
Yes. You are glorifying God by going to bed early despite your assignment that you could do a day early.
Rest is an act of faith. It requires us to be reminded that the world goes on without us and that we have limitations. We aren’t God. We have limits, even Jesus found himself hitting a wall in his day in and day out ministry.
I hope you know that this rest doesn’t have to be structured to be strictly spiritual. To me, what is spiritual is where I see God’s beauty. I had a really sweet quiet time earlier this week that filled up my emotional tank so well. It was only about twenty minutes of reading a good book and enjoying being outside. That’s it. A lot of times, rest looks like slowing down just for a couple of minutes.
Rest provides us a break from the narrative that society feeds us that what we contribute is where our value is derived. Jesus tells us that our value runs much deeper. It is in our innate beauty as image-bearers. It is in our existence that we glorify God. Just “being” a few times a day is often the remedy to the hurriedness that clouds our vision.
Jesus loves you where you are at with your rest. There’s no judgment here. Just an invitation.
I hope you all find rest in small ways in the coming weeks.