(Photo: CJ Rapp)
Busy! Have you noticed that "busy" is the standard response you get these days when asking, "How are you?" Busy translated means: I'm important, needed, and valued. Most of us live our lives at light-speed, running from one activity to the next, working ourselves and our families into a frazzled ball of nerves.
Our "electronic leashes" make it possible for us to be available from sun up to sun down. In general, people seem to be tired, stressed out and freaked out nearly all the time.
The question is, why are we filling our lives with busyness?
Do we stay busy out of necessity or is it something else? Are we trying to drown out our thoughts or feelings through avoidance? Are we just so used to being stimulated 24/7 that silence makes us uncomfortable?
Busyness is an obstacle to what we need most – rest. Rest is essential for renewing our minds, refueling our energy, and reviving our souls. Contrary to popular belief rest is not laziness, it is actually a sign of being self-aware and spiritual maturity. When we rest we are giving ourselves time to replenish depleted emotional, physical and spiritual resources.
Do you know how to rest?
Think of rest as simply pushing the pause button on your activities and plugging into the presence and power of God to recharge your batteries. Rest doesn't have to be a weeklong vacation. In fact the practice of rest can be done periodically throughout the day.
Remember these simple steps to REST.
R = Relax.
Busyness and the stress it creates causes our body to tense up and our breathing to become shallow. Recognize these symptoms and take a REST break. Take time to intentionally breathe deep and focus on releasing the tension in your body.
E = Enter
Enter into the presence of the Lord with expectation. This is not a mystical process. It is a mind process. The Bible teaches that God is with us at all times. Remember his name Emmanuel means God with us. Acknowledge He is with you.
S = Steep
The longer a tea bag steeps in hot water the stronger the tea becomes. Likewise, the longer we linger in the presence of God in silence and solitude the stronger we become. Our essence becomes infused with his presence. His presence quenches our thirst for validation and significance. As we steep in his presence, his love overwhelms the negative forces that drive our busyness.
In Your presence is fullness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever. - Psalm 16:11 (NASB)
T = Talk
Before ending your interlude of rest, talk with the Lord. His presence guides and directs our steps. In Exodus 33:11 the Bible tells us, "Inside the Tent of Meeting, the LORD would speak to Moses face to face, as one speaks to a friend." Moses was in the business of people management. He had a huge job leading thousands out of slavery to a better life. Rest was not optional but necessary to his sanity. In the precious minutes he spent meeting with the Lord he gained direction and insight through talking with Him. He didn't talk at the Lord he talked with Him. He learned to not only seek the Lord's presence but to discern the Lord's voice. Those conversations stilled his busy mind and gave him the rest he needed. They can for us too.
Take the REST challenge. Spend the next thirty days overcoming the habit of busyness by choosing instead to take time out to REST. Push the pause button to linger and wait on the Lord so you may be filled with all you need to not just survive but to thrive!
Yet those who wait for the LORD
Will gain new strength;
They will mount up with wings like eagles,
They will run and not get tired,
They will walk and not become weary. - Isaiah 40:31(NASB)