Why Stillness Matters in a Busy World
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If I could go to coffee or a juice bar or a private yoga session with you, you would almost certainly hear me proclaim one of my favorite phrases: treat yo self!
When the phrase made a splash on the show Parks and Rec, folks started sending me this clip because my catchphrase had hit it big time. Beyond just loving to throw my hands in the air and say this, as a yoga instructor, folks frequently ask me questions regarding self-care. However, most of you know that I am also a pastor, and I find it interesting that I rarely get questions about Sabbath. As a culture, we seem much more interested in activities of self-care than the self-care of rest, and I’ve walked through this path myself.
In 2016 I began my own quest to understand rest. A few years ago, my formerly type A/sales professional/controlling personality landed me with a high blood pressure diagnosis-- smack dab in the midst of my teenager scheduled for heart surgery.
I needed to learn quickly what it truly meant to do like the Psalmist says and "be still."
Sometimes we have to hit a wall to change, and this was my wake-up call to dive into understanding rest. As I studied, I learned “3 r’s of rest” that will guide you toward the person God intended you to be.
1. Rest is a requirement. Exodus 20:8 (CEB) Remember the Sabbath day and treat it as holy.
Mark 2:27 (MSG) Then Jesus said, "The Sabbath was made to serve us; we weren't made to serve the Sabbath.
2. Rest remains for God's people. Hebrews 4:1-12 shows us clearly that a sabbath is not just made for the Old Testament. Rest is something that remains available for all of God’s people, and we need it just as much, if not more, in this busy time in history.
3. Rest is rewarding. In an increasingly accomplishment-driven, task-oriented society, there is a reward for our soul
You’ve heard me say it before: God is an incredible gift-giver!
But I’m learning that because we are in the grind and hustle society where everyone has 10 jobs, this gift of Sabbath rest has gone unopened for many of us. We are seeing on social media and the news and at brunches and in meetings lies that are keeping us from this incredible present of stillness.
We hear in our culture that if you aren't out here hustling, you are behind. Comparison whispers that your grind time is now, in the best years of your life! That if you aren’t overextended, your future is suffering. Today, I want to share this truth with you: God has gifted us all with rest. Rest is an opportunity to move out of the way so that he may move in our lives!
There is an easy explanation for why we all-- men, women, husbands, employees, business owners, students, children-- why we all need Sabbath rest. How can God show up for you if you are busy doing all the work? How can God’s favor overtake your shortcomings if you refuse to slow down?
This is one of my passion subjects, but also one I hear the most excuses on. (You know I love you, but also that I keep it real. I'm not going to sugar coat things by calling them anything less than what they are-- excuses). Here's one: “My family has to eat, so I can't take a sabbath right now.” How about this one? “I've got some deadlines and goals, so I will take sabbath once those are done.” Or this one - “God knows how much I need to handle right now ,so He understands why I'm not taking a Sabbath!”
In the spirit of keeping it real: those excuses are actually lies from the enemy of our soul. The one also referred to as “the accuser.” He is taunting us with accusations of inadequacy and fear. These are lies meant to lock you up in an earthly view of your life and your circumstances. He knows if he can get us to believe these excuses, he can distract us from worshiping the Lord.
That’s right! Worship is what’s on the line when we don’t rest!
Taking a Sabbath and keeping it holy is you worshiping God in a world that worships busyness. To illustrate the importance of this, Jesus himself took time away to simply be with our Father. Then, he reminded us to do what we saw him do so we can have the same power He has.
Next post, I will be giving you practical ideas and reflections on how to enter into a Sabbath, but first this is your moment to choose. If you want to experience that grace of rest that Jesus explained, then you must decide if you will open up the gift of Sabbath rest.
Reflection: when you hear the word “rest,” what emotions or ideas are associated? Have you bought into any of the excuses listed, or any others that come to mind?
Today’s technique: self-awareness is a good start. See if you can catch yourself picking up a phone or giving yourself another task when you have opportunities for rest this week.
March 13, 2019