Making room for rest

March came in like a lion and went out like a lamb.

On the cusp of the month I heard gentle, persuasive roarings from the Lion of Judah as He made it clear to me that I should take a blogging break.

Only here’s the rub ~ it was to be for an unspecified time but definitely a month at least.

Because I was burnt out physically and mentally, in need of rest, restoration and lots and lots of sleep.

Ideas and inspiration were still flowing freely but the energy to execute them wasn’t.

So I stepped back, withdrew reasonably willingly and cheerfully.. at first. After all, God was calling me to enter His rest more deeply and fully than before. What’s not to like about that?

Plenty, actually, as I soon discovered. It was hard to lay down my pen, remain silent, still my soul and surrender.

Resting turned out to be something I found very challenging – yes, even as an M.E sufferer where resting and pacing are a necessary part of life.

But this was different. This was taking resting to a whole new level.

Before I could properly rest and relax I had to discover what was blocking the process.

Letting go felt like drowning, even with my Lifeguard at hand. I’d taken off my writing shoes, padded gingerly out to sea and lost myself in waves of invisibility.

 

Or at least that’s how it seemed for a while. I felt isolated, lonely, bereft of the writing community’s friendship and support.

However, God was drawing me into closer communion with Him.

It sounds lovely and it was at times, but it was also painful.

Holy ground tends to show up our dustiness, selfishness and soul depravity. All that God longs to put right in us.

Resting was far from restful for a while.

When thoughts presented themselves to me I ran with them in my eagerness to be Doing Something.

Why not journal my experience? Great idea.

Why not consider turning it into an e-book? Excellent suggestion.

Why not read several books at once? Oh yes.

Why not try my hand at other creative activities instead? Hmm.. why not?

Hence the challenge.

I didn’t become an expert on the subject but, thankfully, I did eventually learn what to listen to and what to ignore and how to evaluate what I was going through.

Here’s the low down:

a) The hard facts:

 

  • Resting is really hard work
  • I totally suck at it
  • My mind resists switching off
  • Inner restlessness is my default position
  • Calm is hard to come by
  • Worry worms its way in
  • Pulling away from busyness can make us doubt our purpose
  • Discouragement drowns out God’s voice
  • Impatience makes it take longer
  • I really need to learn how to do it
  • I guess practise makes perfect
  • I doubt I’ll ever fully learn it in this lifetime

b) The golden truths:

  • God wants us to enter His rest
  • He calls us with gentle persuasion
  • Letting go of control can be liberating
  • Time in God’s presence is never wasted
  • Sitting at Jesus’ feet aids surrender
  • Listening for His voice gets easier over time
  • Prompt obedience brings better results
  • Inner rest promotes outer rest
  • We get to exercise our faith
  • It enables us to be more receptive
  • It paves the way for creativity to flourish
  • Realisation of our identity in Christ is heightened
I’m sure more nuggets of truth will emerge as I read through and reflect on my notes.
As it is, my slow M.E brain has taken several days to piece these words together here. Resting for a month seems to have made me rather rusty! Thank you for your grace.
But I have wondered, would it would help you to read about my experience? Maybe I will write more here or in an e-book in the future.
It could be that my tentative searching and struggles will help others who want to ‘let go and let God’ but find it really difficult in some way or other.
For now, I see how resting in God is the natural outcome and outworking of His grace. Its benefits become clearer as we begin to rest in Christ’s finished work on the cross and our new identity in Him.
My friend, maybe God has been signalling to you a need for rest. Could it be time to draw back a bit from busyness as we draw closer to Easter? Pause a while to ponder as we walk the path of the cross with Jesus. Wonder anew at His mercy and grace as we trace His way to Calvary.

Hope springs eternal in human hearts. The cross is a rallying cry for all mankind. It is calling to you too.

The Lamb of God has come to pave the way for us to return Home to the Father’s heart and find our soul’s deepest rest in relationship with Him. 

Over to you
What does resting in God look like for you?
 
What helps or hinders the process?
 
Please feel free to join in with the comments below. Your words matter. Thank you. 🙂

12 Comments

  1. Hi Joy, just posted a long comment and lost it sorry, signing into WordPress :-(. Wanted to say thank you and that I know exactly what you are saying. God bless and may His rest envelop and strengthen you.

    1. Hi Liana. Oh dear.. what a shame. I'm sorry to hear that. It's so annoying when it happens, isn't it? Thank you for trying and finally succeeding in leaving a comment! I appreciate hearing from you and knowing this resonates with you too. May God bless you too as you rest more deeply in Him. 🙂 x

  2. You are not alone in this! It's hard to rest, and I agree that ceasing to be busy makes us doubt our purpose. I think that's why our culture feels being busy = being important. But Jesus does call us to rest. Thanks for pointing out the importance of resting and the benefits of being obedient and doing it.

    1. Hi Kristen. Thank you for helping me feel less alone with my inability to rest properly! It is probably endemic in our culture of busyness and constant activity. But we cannot keep resisting God's call to rest. Rather than hindering us in our progress, it enables us to focus on priorities. Bless you for stopping by, friend. 🙂

  3. A resting challenge would be difficult and yet, when you know He is calling you to it, then rest we must! I'd like to read more. I'm your next door neighbor over at Holley's today.

    1. Hi Susan. Yes, "rest we must!" When God is gently urging us to do so then it is folly and detrimental to our well-being to refuse. Thanks for visiting and for encouraging me to delve deeper into this important topic. 🙂

  4. Your list of Hard Facts resonated with me in that I checked each one off knowing I was guilty of the same. It really is hard to just rest. I am so grateful that God is patient and loving because apparently I'm a slow learner. Thank you for your words which serve as a reminder that we should encourage one another and rest.

    1. Hi Celi. It's good to know you have experience which mirrors mine. Maybe our restless souls take a long time to learn to unwind and allow God to set the pace of our days? But I can vouch for a degree of learning and growing in this area despite the "Hard Facts" hindering my progress. And I am sure that you too are growing too far more than you may realise. We may not be where we want to be but we are learning deep soul lessons on the way. Do stop by again and let me know how you're getting on. I'd love to hear from you! Blessings in Him. 🙂 x

    1. Trudy, I am grateful to have some lessons to share. When I began this period of pulling back and abiding deeper in God it felt very challenging indeed, and I doubted I would manage it at all. But God… (wonderful words, aren't they?) made sure I picked up some things to not only encourage me but also help others on the journey.
      As you sink into "rest mode" remember your frail humanity and don't be surprised if it takes a while to even feel relaxed. We don't tend to realise how wound up we are until we allow ourselves to slow down. I'm convinced you will learn all you need to and have a message to share at the end of it. Although we never stop learning its valuable lessons. Thinking of and praying for you as you rest, my friend. Blessings and hugs! xox 🙂

    1. Thank you, Sarah. It's good to have your company on the journey! Bless you, friend, as you lean on and rest in God this Easter. May He give you peace and deep soul ease. 🙂 x

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