Dishes, laundry, counseling, church, meetings, writing, phone call, dinner, paperwork, and on and on the cycle of rushed duties and ministry responsibilities goes. Sometimes...the busyness makes me want to scream! Where is my joy?
The topic of biblical rest has been a constant focus in my life over the last half decade. However, I am sad to stay the focus has been simply, “God help me not to fall out, because I’m so worn out!” Moving to North Carolina five years ago to begin seminary was a gift that came wrapped with busyness. Full time masters classes, work, marriage, church…these responsibilities only gained momentum with time, yet time remained the same. Therefore, though Dustin and I enjoyed a beautiful marriage and many sweet moments filled with blessing, we were often spiraling in a whirlwind of going, going, going or serving, serving, serving. You know you’re doing too much when your pastor tells you, “The time you spend investing in your small group is not normal! You’ve got to spend less time with people!” hah!
So, after years of struggling with what biblical rest looks like…and realizing most Christians, especially those in full time ministry, do not know how to rest; I am challenging myself and you to join with me in rediscovering what biblical rest is and how to regain it!
During a recent visit to Hilton Head--and the birth of this new rest focus--I was crying to my mom about how anxious and chaotic I’ve been. Now granted, in the last three months we have not only graduated seminary, but also Dustin was called to be a pastor at a wonderful church, we sold our house, moved, bought a new house, I had a book published, had multiple speaking engagements, continue to counsel, and we are 10 days away from a tedious and emotional adoption process!! In my tears, my sweet mom handed me a book titled, Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul by Brady Boyd. My aunt in Colorado (where Brady pastors) had given it to her—my mom thought I needed this not-so-subtle wake up call more than she did.
Thanks, Mom! Once again, you’re right!
Dustin was also given the oppotunity to preach at our church...and he preached on this topic last week…very encouraging to my weary soul. His main passage was Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
In my focus on rest, realizing that my struggle with anxiety is more prominent when my life is in chaotic mode (hence breeding the feeling of an anxious heart…easily turns to other anxious temptations)—I realize that anxiety and the lack of biblical rest are not new sin strongholds in my life, but are the same old sins manifested in different forms. So, my strongholds continue to be pride and control…a distrust of my loving God and a forgetfulness that I need to be solely dependent on Him. I must rest not only in a daily Bible study (which has been my practice for at least 15 years), but also resting in moments of quiet solitude and even times of enjoying the day by engaging in hobbies/talents (i.e. learning my cello and painting for fun!).
So, my challenge is now to begin living a life of “healthy rhythms” and God honoring rest. Plus with a new baby coming in just a little over a week, I cannot be this chaotic and love my husband and child (children) well.
If my life is going to marked as a woman who loves others well and does everything to the glory of God WITH JOY, then I must learn to slow down and enjoy the moments (instead of just blasting through my ‘to do’ list…which normally consists of at least 21 items to accomplish in a single day!).
If this is a struggle you have too and don’t know how to create a God honoring schedule (whether too little rest or too much worldly rest), I would encourage you to join me in this study. Each week (if possible with a newborn baby!) I will post some truth on biblical rest and a challenge from Pastor Brady’s book. I would encourage you to get his book and read along with me. This book is a fun (and funny) read and has great practical application at the end of each chapter (what he calls ‘Challenges’). After we finish Addicted to Busy, I will probably move on to another book on Sabbath rest. I want to kill the sins of hurry and anxiety in my life. I want to walk slower through a store and intentionally smile at people. I want to leave room for the Spirit to guide me to speak to a stranger about the only Hope they will ever know!
I am sick of blasting through life too busy to enjoy it! Busyness squashes JOY!
And as John Eldridge said…I want to get FREE from “one of the most ‘sanctified' bondages in the church!” Why is it no one rebukes you when you laugh about being so busy you're exhausted? Or the pastor admitts to being too busy to love his wife and children well? And why is everyone's response to how is your day/week, "I'm just so busy!"?
If you are joining me in this study, let me know via e-mail or on Facebook! Let’s challenge each other to have God honoring priorities and schedules!
In a culture that is folding morally and spiritually, we have got to be a people marked by the joy and peace of the Lord. We have got to know the Word and have time to live it out! We need dependence on God so we stop trusting ourselves rather than the Loving Father! The only way we will develop this mature life is by living filled with God's rest!