Have you noticed how busy we all seem to be these days?
Most of the people I interact with on a regular basis are living extremely busy lives. They are always on their way to do something, coming back from doing something or on the phone or computer scheduling a new “something” to do in the future. In fact, I can’t think of a single person in my circle of friends who I could consider to be living a life that models the rest that God outlines for us in His Word. (That broad statement includes my own disobedience in this area.)
Many of the people I’m thinking about could best be categorized as workaholics; they have busy jobs with high demand that, on the surface, might seem to justify the constant activity that makes up their lives. Certainly such a pace must be worthy, right? I mean, come on, God wants us to take pride in and execute our work with His excellence and zeal, right? Of course He does! But doing so requires that we approach life and work with the balance He outlines in His Word. After all, when He finished creating the heavens, the planets, the stars, the earth and everything that walks, breathes, crawls, swims, flies, laughs, cries, bites, stings, and nests upon it - He took a break. He modeled rest for us right from the beginning... and not because He was tired.
So how might we add rest to schedules that are already overbooked with meeting the demands of bosses, friends, co-workers, spouses, family members and the laundry list of other people we so greatly value in our lives? It won’t be easy, but it can be done.
First, we have to be intentional. We have to begin scheduling rest, on purpose, into our calendars with the same, or higher, priority as the other things that dominate our time currently. If we have proven anything thus far, it’s that rest is not going to just happen for us by accident. There are way too many people and “opportunities” chasing and scratching for our time and attention to just leave our time to rest to chance. We have to be intentional.
Second, we have to learn to say no to things that are important in order to say yes to other things that are more important; one of those more important things is rest. There is absolutely no end to the causes that other people will allow you to care about on their behalf, things that are admirable, God-honoring and worthy of quality time being spent on them. But if your focus on those extra things takes over the time you have set aside to honor God by resting, you are stating to God that you have figured out a better plan than the one He modeled from the beginning.
Lastly, it has to be guilt-free. If rest is not a regular part of your schedule right now, practicing it might make you feel guilty at first. It might even make you feel like something is missing or that you are weak for needing good rest. Nothing could be further from the truth. A life that includes rest is balanced; it is healthier physically, emotionally and spiritually. Taking time to rest means you’re not just obeying something that God commanded, it means you are practicing something that He modeled.
Michael Eubanks, pastor for New Generations, has been on our staff since 1999. He grew up in Middle Tennessee and attended Lebanon High School, Cumberland University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and has a Masters Degree from Rockbridge Seminary. Michael has served as youth pastor at Fall Creek Baptist Church and Radnor Baptist Church. Michael is married to Kelley and have a son, Carver.