Rest By Leonie Currin
Psalm 8: 4 …what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
What is man? What am I?
The Bible says that I exist as body, soul and spirit. My body was formed in my mother’s womb and Ecclesiastes (11:5) speaks of the mystery of how the spirit comes to the bones in the womb of a woman with child. I have a soul made up of my mind and emotions.
Are you mindful of me Lord? Do you care for my body, soul and spirit? This year has been tiring. I am weary on so many levels. You care; your Word tells me you do. Do I care? Part of caring is that I find and take rest. What does that mean physically, emotionally and spiritually?
Physical rest has many aspects to it. It can mean recreational time with our families and friends. This is an area that has been challenged by the restrictions of lockdown but there are many avenues to pursue. Exercise builds up our muscles and immunities, and an added benefit is the release of feel-good chemicals in the brain which leave us with a sense of well-being. Sleep is important. And how about setting aside our computers and smartphones?
Our eating habits affect us; this year I have seen that in my physical well-being. The lockdown resulted in our adult daughter being at home for a season and she introduced me to a whole array of healthy whole foods, many of them new to me, kefir and chia seeds, quinoa, spirulina powder! I have more energy and my general well-being has improved.
How is your thinking? Is it distracted or focused? And if it is focused what is it focused on? What stories are you telling yourself? In the last few years, I have battled to have sustained sleep. I fall asleep with no problem at all, but I wake up through the night and my mind scatters into a thousand directions, from worries and concerns, to plans and strategies. I almost feel like I have no control. Yet I do, and I can choose to quiet my mind by quoting a psalm. One of my favourites is Psalm 23. I savour the truths and I find mental rest.
My emotions are closely linked to the way that I am thinking. When last did you take time to be quiet, to listen to the external and internal sounds? The gospel writers often speak of Jesus removing himself from the noise of his day and withdrawing to “lonely places” for prayer. Jesus understood the place of silence, paying attention to God’s voice by purposefully withdrawing and turning off the noise around him.
And how about that phrase, “take time to smell the roses”. Do you pause to enjoy God’s creation? One of the greatest lessons God has taught me this year extends the concept of “living in each moment”. I have always been proud of my ability to plan and be organised; I am disciplined and I usually start what I finish. But the weakness of this strength is that I tend to miss out on the now. Often, I am so busy looking back and evaluating or looking forward and planning that the current moment is lost. Even in simple day-to-day life, like when brushing my teeth, I am learning to savour the moment. I can be thankful that I have teeth to brush and running water, and the list goes on. I am learning to live life abundantly with God and to rest in each moment.
The key to our balance and rest is our spiritual rest. Everyone is trying to figure out who they are. We want to prove ourselves; we want the acceptance and approval of those around us. It is a constant struggle until we place ourselves in the hands of the Creator God. Hebrews 4: 10 reads, “for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” God rested from creating because he was entirely satisfied with what he had done. This verse says that we can have the same rest from work.
Sin makes us restless. We never measure up to our own or others’ expectations. Yet God cares for me, so much that he came as a man, Jesus, and died on the cross, taking on the entire weight of the sin of the world. At his death, the debt was paid and, when I believe, I find spiritual rest. The only person to satisfy is God. When he looks at me and you, he sees his finished work and it is good.
I rest in his finished work. To remain in this place of spiritual rest I must seek out his ways every day, through the Word of God and through prayer. I ponder his words and listen to his heart.
As this turbulent year draws to a close take time to rest. Pause and allow the Holy Spirit to reveal the areas of your life that are crying out for his promised rest.
Leonie Currin is one of The Women of Reverence contributors to know her more click here.