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Jess enjoying the wind on her face and the sand in her feet at the beach, taking some time to rest.

Reflection – Time to Rest

What do you think about rest? Is it something you long for at the end of a long day or week? Or is it something you routinely schedule into your day or week to prepare yourself for what’s ahead?

On a recent discipleship day, I was reminded that way too often; I don’t take the time to rest and refresh my body and soul that I need. I’m a busy person – with a husband and three kids, two jobs, and a footy club to help run, there’s not much ‘free time’ in my week, and if I don’t schedule time for rest, it just doesn’t happen.

To be honest, my default is busy. I rush from thing to thing, crossing things off my to-do list, adding more as the day goes on, and I get lots of things done! Someone once told me, ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person,’ and I live up to that. When I look back at my busyness, I sometimes lament that I missed opportunities. I missed times to connect with people, enjoy the moment and soak in the atmosphere, and miss times of joy and fun because I was too wrapped up in the stress of getting things done.

So, what to do? I recently found a meme that says: “Jesus slept through a storm. Daniel slept in the Lion’s Den. Peter slept in prison. Elijah slept while running from his executioners. No matter the circumstances. You should take a nap. The Bible says so”, and it reminded me that it’s ok to stop in the busyness and take a rest or a nap (and I did just that last week). But is that enough?

On reflection, I realised that I need to rest more often, not just at the end of a busy day or when I’m tired and need a nap. But rest before the work to fill my cup in preparation for what’s ahead. I need to spend time resting in Jesus, his presence, and his word because I know that my capacity is directly related to my own discipleship – my own relationship and connection with God.

I know a few people who lead well out of their discipleship. I hear them say things like “I was reading this week…” and “while praying this morning…” and “I’ve been wondering about…”. I get the sense that they have a deep and close relationship and regular discipleship patterns that help them bring the most to every day. They inspire me, and so I am trying to plan more times of rest and cup-filling into my day.

Some days rest looks like sitting down to breakfast and reading (instead of eating on the run), sometimes it looks like going for a walk around the block or along the beach listening to music and soaking in the beauty of nature, sometimes it looks like sitting in the car to finish listening to a podcast or song before going into the office or the house, sometimes it’s as simple as stopping to take a deep breath and praying “Lord be with me” in the middle of the day, and sometimes it looks like taking a nap amid chaos.

Whatever it looks like for me or you, the act of resting and fitting it in isn’t meant to be complicated. God rested at the end of creation and even ordained a day of rest in the ten commandments. We were made and meant to rest, but we have filled our lives with being busy and taking on things that maybe we were never meant to take on.

I have a coffee mug at home with an inscription of Matthew 11:28. It is a daily reminder that our life and ministry aren’t meant to be burdensome and that we are continually called to rest. Some days, I do ok at resting; other days, I need a nap by 2 pm, but what I know to be true is that if I follow Jesus, rest in him, take his lead, and let him take my burdens, I will find rest for our souls. For His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Jessica Pinkerton is the Mission Integration Project Officer – Uniting Early Learning

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