Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Do you need some rest?

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

Christians all over the world begin Advent season this week. It's a holy time of preparation that offers spiritual nourishment and another invitation to find rest in biblical truths.

Rest for me as a hard-working young farm girl was found by sneaking in some private rest time during my household chores. I'd stretch across the living room sofa and watch TV for a few precious stolen minutes. I loved those rest times and admit to a few burnt meals because of it!

Fast forward to years later and I’m on my own living room sofa seeking a different kind of rest; a healing rest from breast cancer and the kind of grief that scars the soul. Unlike the rest I enjoyed as a young girl, this one I resented because it came forcefully, without my choosing and stole more than simple moments of time.

I developed a love-hate relationship with rest. When I was younger I loved my secret rest times, but now older and no more secrets, I’ve had times of rest I hated. Why did rest have to change?

Rest is definitely not easily found in a world that boasts of faster the better, which makes finding rest even more challenging. I can recall seasons of kid's school events and multiple sports schedules, in addition to varied work schedules, that were years of limited rest. Prior to that were the baby years when four hours of uninterrupted sleep felt like a good nights rest. However, all that paled in comparison to when rare disease filled my days and rest was nowhere to be found.

No doubt, my relationship with rest has changed. Mainly due to a dramatic turn of events that left me with lessons learned and a unique perspective on rest. During my healing rest, I was taught about grace and how it increases when rest is accepted as it's offered. Rest didn't change; it remained available to me. What really changed was my attitude about it. Hate had to change back to a love for rest in order to maintain a healthy positive lifestyle.

During busy seasons and the busiest of times, especially during or after illness, we are inclined to turn down loving offers to help. Ones that might be a good partner to a need for rest. We give polite yet not always truthful responses like, "No thanks, we don't need any help". The next time an offer of help is extended to you, ask yourself if your response is accurate? Could others help you find rest?

When we admit our need for help and humbly receive it we share burdens, however big or small. We find rest in this fast world and in a life that’s impossible to do alone. The exchange not only blesses the giver, but also the receiver and both find rest from the free gift called grace.

I’m a work in progress but I definitely strive to be a better steward of the gift by making room for rest in my life again; like I did as a young girl. I encourage you to join me and take time to rest this Advent season. Even in the middle of busy choose to stretch out on the sofa and rest. Put it on your list of things to do and Be The Change!

"Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls."  Matthew 11:29

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