It’s foreign and elusive.
It’s a commodity that seems to cost us more than it gives back. But rest is vital for our well-being. It shouldn’t induce guilt or shame, and yet, how many of us struggle with it?
There are times when I need a nap in the middle of the day, and if I’m honest, sometimes by 9am. I struggle to pause my activity so I can close my eyes for ten minutes. But when I don’t, I turn into scary Jessica. That’s the version of me that shows her teeth and and growls at anyone who comes near, including innocent laundry baskets and errant socks.
We need physical rest, but we also need spiritual and emotional rest as well. We need stillness.
Our bodies are still, and our minds are at rest. We’re given a break from the constant bombardment from noise, and our senses are soothed by the sight of lapping waters, the scent of earth and leaves, and the cooing of mourning doves.
God’s word is filled with visions of stillness. He leads you besides still waters so that your soul finds restoration. And he calls us to be still and wait for him to lead. Would that we could be as restful in the midst of our life’s storms as Jesus was when he napped in the boat during the violent storm on the Galilee Sea.
Embrace the quiet.
Stilling our soul is vital to breaking cycles.
For one, it enables us to learn to rely on the power of the Holy Spirit to work in us and through us. God knows our tendency to strive in our own strength, and so he gives us the gift of stillness so that we learn to wait for him.
Secondly, stillness gives us the opportunity to practice the presence of God. God’s presence doesn’t ebb and flow, but our awareness of it does. Stilling our soul gives us the opportunity to develop that awareness.
But what does this stillness look like?
It can be meditating on a passage of scripture that gives you hope or comfort or turning on worship music that sings of God’s attributes and character. And then turn those words into your own worship. Laying prostrate on the floor is an act of humility that reminds our soul that God is God and we are not.
You could take a leisurely stroll and study the leaves on the maple tree, the flowers that bloom or the way the goldfinch flits and flutters to its nest. Maybe you could lay on the grass, gaze at the clouds, and envision God riding to your rescue.
God loves you and longs for relationship with you that is filled with mutual enjoyment.
Yes, God teaches us in the ways of right living and he gently and tenderly convicts us when we travel off course. But he also enjoys us. He enjoys our quirks and interests because he gives them to us.
Enjoy him. Enjoy his kindness, sweetness, mercy, and grace. He is a good, good God and his heart is so good towards you.
He transforms you one step in one cycle at the time, but not every encounter with God will be a teaching encounter. There will be times when he removes the blinders off your eyes, and you will see clearly and change will overtake you.
Then, God graciously let’s those revelations take root in your heart, which means that you won’t be showed something new to work on every time you open your Bible. It’s in those moments when you read the Bible, worship him, and still your heart before him that you learn to enjoy him.
“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Breaking cycles requires a strong heart. Sometimes it seems impossible and we wonder if the effort is worth it. That’s why this step of rest cannot be skipped or glossed over.
Taking time to rest in God’s presence is what encourages our heart and gives us strength to keep walking the righteous-living, cycle-breaking road.
Take time to quiet your soul and rest in God’s presence.
Listen to this song.
Meditate on Psalm 46.
Still your heart, your mind, and your soul and soak in God’s presence.