I write a monthly column for Arkansas Baptist News. Because I always try to write about what God is teaching me, sometimes it’s good to go back and reread old columns – like processing back through journal entries to remember what I’ve learned.
This morning I reread – and desperately needed the reminder of – this article from last fall. I thought I’d share it with you! This one turned into a four-article series, so I’ll share the remaining three over the next few weeks.
Life is tiring. Have you noticed? We hit the ground running and eventually forget what it means to stop. To rest.
I am convicted each time I see how seriously Scripture handles the Sabbath. This day of rest was instituted long before the law came into being. In fact, rest existed before sin corrupted the world and laid the burdens of exhaustion upon our backs. Rest is critical, and we must allow God to teach us how to rest.
God has been opening my mind to aspects of rest I have never before considered. Recently, He showed me that rest is relational.
When I think of rest, I think of curling up all by myself with a good book and no distractions. You see, I am an introvert. I love being with people, but social interaction typically drains my energy. I need to recharge after I spend time with people. How in the world can rest be relational?
Fortunately, God is a patient teacher. He is willing to prove His truths to me, even when I am skeptical.
Several weeks ago, my husband dropped me off at the airport for a weekend work retreat. I was about to spend three days at the beach with ten other amazing women, but all I could think of was the energy that would be required of me through the weekend. I went into it tired. How long would it take me to recover once it was all said and done?
I never expected to come away from that trip energized. Those ten women poured into me even as I poured into them. We respected one another’s needs, helped each other recharge, and lived out the beauty of Hebrews 3:13. We pooled our talents and passions, seeing productivity flow even out of our times of fun and relaxation. We rested together in ways we never could have done individually.
For the first time in my life, I saw that even introverts cannot experience the fullness of rest without support and encouragement from fellow believers. Rest really is relational.
Scripture supports this in a profound manner. Consider Psalm 23. This beloved passage wraps me in peace every time I read it. I have always thought of it as a personal passage, but recently I was confronted with a startling truth: David was a shepherd. He knew sheep. And, he knew that sheep do not do well at all on their own. They rest when they are surrounded by the safety of their flock and the protection of their shepherd.
We are God’s sheep. We need to draw upon the presence of one another, encouraging each other daily that we may truly find rest.
This article was originally published in the ABN.