Rest? Who Has Time for Rest?!
Between working full-time, having two young children, and a plethora of other commitments, I sometimes have trouble finding “alone” time. Perhaps you can relate.
I’ll never forget one particularly long Saturday afternoon, when my patience was wearing beyond thin. Still in my pajamas and covered in filth, I decided to call up my go-to baby sitter: the Disney channel. I parked my kids on the couch, and as soon as they were adequately mesmerized, I instructed the eldest, “Keep an eye on your brother…I just need a few minutes to shower.”
I sprinted for my oasis, shedding flannel and cotton haphazardly along the way. Stepping into the tub, I pulled the curtain, turned the water just a notch below scalding, then breathed an intoxicating sigh of relief.
Not two minutes into my getaway, I heard a bloodcurdling scream from below, quickly followed by the haunting pitter-patter of a two-year-old climbing the stairs. The bathroom door creaked open, and my son suddenly and violently ripped open the thin, vinyl barricade.
“Hi mommy,” he said with a smile, genuinely delighted to have found me.
“Hi Jackson,” I responded, with what little dignity and joy I could muster. “What did you do to your sister?”
His answer was as honest as it was succinct. “I made bad choices.”
And so endeth the shower.
Sound a little too familiar?
I think we can all agree that solitude is a precious commodity that’s incredibly difficult to find. Whether it’s the kids, boss, phone, emails, or any number of other distractions, life incessantly knocks at the door, demanding our attention. Even our most cherished loved ones and meaningful tasks can drain and demoralize our spirits if we don’t prioritize rest.
What I craved most immediately that infamous Saturday afternoon was a break. Peace and quiet. A hot shower. Perhaps even a nap. (Ha!)
But what I needed even more was rest with my Creator.
For you see, when I spend time with Him—meditating on His Word, listening for His voice, singing His praises, asking for His guidance—all of a sudden, the to-do list feels far more doable. The loved ones seem more lovable. Because, you see, I’m not doing it alone.
Jesus modeled the importance of this spiritual rest in His own life.
As busy as we think we all are, imagine what the schedule must have looked like for the greatest traveling speaker, motivator, and leader of all time. Oh, and did I mention He could heal people? I imagine there was always someone knocking at His door. (That is, of course, whenever He stayed put at any one place long enough to have a door.)
In the first chapter of Mark, we read about a particularly hectic day for Jesus. It was the Sabbath, the day of “rest”— and yet His schedule was anything but relaxing.
Jesus took His newly recruited disciples to the synagogue, where He delivered a sermon so impressive that everyone in attendance knew He spoke as “one of authority, not as the teachers of the law.” (Mark 1:22)
Then, following the service, Jesus turned to scold a particularly obnoxious demon that had shacked up inside a man.
“Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek. (Mark 1:25-26)
As it turns out, shrieking demons make for particularly good gossip, and so, as Mark sums up, “News about him spread quickly.” (vs. 28)
And the day was just getting started…
As soon as they left the synagogue, they went with James and John to the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was in bed with a fever, and they immediately told Jesus about her. So he went to her, took her hand and helped her up. The fever left her and she began to wait on them.
That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. The whole town gathered at the door, and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was. (Mark 1:29-34)
Wowsers! What. A. Day.
If anyone ever deserved to sleep in, it was Jesus that next morning. Yet Jesus Himself modeled what our souls really need when the demands of life are overwhelming. He purposely carved out time alone with His Heavenly Father, the Author and Giver of Life.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” (vs.35)
Well, it didn’t take long for the knocking to start again. You know it never does.
Simon and his companions went to look for him, and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!” (vs. 36)
But instead of exuding annoyance, Jesus responded with compassion and purpose.
Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.
So what can we learn from Jesus about rest and leadership?
In rest, we are rejuvenated. We are restored. We are empowered for a new day. And it’s only through those moments with the Creator, that we can discover the purpose for which we were created.
Jesus clearly needed spiritual rest and solitude with His Father. How can we possibly think we need anything less?
Prayer: Heavenly Father, life is so very busy; sometimes it’s hard just to find time to breathe. Help me carve out purposeful time with You. Draw my heart to yours as I complete the tasks you’ve given me to do. Every minute, every day, my life is entirely yours. Help me find my rest in You. Amen.
Written by Heather Day