Friday, July 18, 2014

When Do I Rest?

Every January I spend some time thinking about what should be my "word" for the year.  That may sound cheesy, but intentionality is not my strong suit, so I've found the practice a good one.  One word, well-chosen,  reminds me of an important focus for the year and guides my decision-making and prioritizing.  This year that task was tough.  Nearly into February, I was still without a word, still without a focus.  Then one morning, as often happens, something in the Word jumped out at me:

"On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work." --Genesis 2:2

First God finished.  Then He rested.  Honestly, the word that first grabbed me was FINISHED.  Maybe that was my word: FINISH.  I reasoned that God had earned the right to rest, because He had finished His work. Perhaps I needed to focus on finishing things.  Great idea, great word, but the thought of it left me feeling weighed down and on the verge of tears. 

  Because, really, does a wife. a mom, a teacher EVER finish?  Truth be told, I was not resting because I never felt finished. The problem is that I tend to view my roles as a continual and unending work that will not be finished until the kids are grown, until I retire, and until death do us part.  And frankly, I wasn't so sure I could make it to "finished" if I didn't get some rest!

Here's the thing:  The Bible doesn't end at Genesis 2.  A whole lot of Book comes after Genesis, and it's ALL the work of God.  Not only that, I'm living proof that He is STILL working in this world.  What God finished before he rested was the work of creation. 

One work. 

Granted, that work was pretty impressive, but it was not His entire work for all of eternity.  He finished that work, then He rested.  He didn't quit.

In viewing the "big picture" things of life as what had to be finished before I could rest, I was actually hurting my work and God's work in me.  

The cost of never resting is an overwhelming desire to just quit. 

What a relief to read more closely, to let God show me the Heart behind His words.  Yes, I need to finish what I start, and a rest feels much more blissful when it comes after a hard effort that is completed.  The rest, however, is just as much a part of the ultimate work as the finishing.    

Therefore, what I need to give myself permission to do is rest after finishing "the work of _____________."   

Then, with the satisfaction of one job complete and a well-earned rest, I am refreshed to continue in the Great Work to which God has called me.  


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