I recently took my first vacation in over a year. Thanks to the pandemic, I had no agenda and no plans, just a rare opportunity to rest. At first I felt lazy, and I wandered the house looking for things to do. By the end of the week, I had entered into total relaxation, but the first few days were hard. Why is it so hard for us to slow down?
We are a restless people. We are so used to running around, keeping every minute packed solid with work, school, children, activities, cooking, cleaning and so much more. We end the day exhausted and fall in bed to sleep to do it all over again the next day. We often contribute sleep with rest, and while it may recharge our physical bodies, it does little for our spiritual bodies if we don’t allow time for resting in God.
But practicing spiritual resting is hard because it takes a dedicated effort. We must physically slow down, step into faith and rest in silence reflecting on God’s truth. This might look different for each person, but the important part is finding a dedicated time and space to physically and emotionally separate yourself from your day-to-day toil and meditate on God’s truths.
Jesus modeled this for us many times, separating himself from his disciples and finding time to pray and reflect alone during his earthly ministry. In the Gospel of Mark, after ministering to the people, “he departed and went out to a desolate pace, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35). Jesus made sure to seek time to rest physically and spiritually before pouring himself out again in ministry. It’s a pattern we see often repeated in the Gospels.
During this season of living through a pandemic, it can be easy to focus on the negatives, but one blessing may be that it has forced us to slow down a bit, accomplishing one of the hardest steps of finding rest in God. Take advantage of this time to set up a new practice – finding peaceful rest in God. Carve out a part of every day to separate yourself from the worries and busy of the day and focus on God’s goodness. Because finding rest for your soul is just as important as resting your physical body.
“Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him …” –Psalm 37:7