Come to me, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
God had been trying to reach me lately, but I ignored His calls. Between work, day to day chores, errands, church, small group activities, my blog, social media—I’ve been putting a couple of very important things on the back burner: God and rest. The truth is, those two things really do go hand in hand. You cannot truly connect with God if you’re always distracted or working—you won’t have the time nor the energy. When you’re rested, it’s so much easier to connect to yourself, to others, and to God! Likewise, you cannot truly rest without a connection to God as He is the absolute source of true peace. Without God, everything is meaningless and chaotic. How would one find rest if their life had no meaning? Ecclesiastes reminds us: Everything we toil for under the sun outside of God is merely chasing after the wind, meaningless—we won’t be able to take it with us when we leave this earth.
Our time with the Lord isn’t always about Bible study or church. You can be doing both of these things regularly and still feel disconnected from God. It’s like any relationship. You can spend all day and all night in the house of any loved one with people that also love that person as well, and you can spend all your time learning about that person from other sources, but if you aren’t actively spending time with that person—talking to that person, being in the presence of that person—the connection can only go so far.
I never quit praying. But, the more we neglect our need for rest, the harder it is to keep a relationship alive as opposed to going through the motions. Recently, I found that I had begun to go down a list of things I thank God for every day, almost using the same verbiage each time as well. In doing this, I was, in a sense, sending God to voicemail—a prerecorded version of my voice. Why? Because I lacked energy. My prayers were becoming stale and lacking passion. I don’t ever want to become complacent in my relationship with God.
It was Monday morning, and I felt the all too familiar tickle in my throat. I knew it; I was getting sick. The truth is, I probably should’ve taken some time off work to rest before I got sick, but especially after getting sick. “It’s just a cold” I told myself. “I don’t need to take off work.” God speaks to us in many different ways, and I whole-heartedly believe illness is one of them. I ignored the call.
On Tuesday, God said, “If she won’t answer my calls, I’ll just have to show up at her work.” Our air conditioner at work finally bit the dust, and we were all sent home for the next two days.
“Finally.” God said. “I have your undivided attention.” After dinner, I went into my bedroom, closed my door, and just talked to God for over an hour. Shortly after, I went to sleep, and slept for 11 solid hours. Not to sound dramatic, but when I tell you I woke up a brand new person, I literally mean it.
I’m a highly productive person. I thrive off producing, creating, getting things done. It’s one of the reasons, I believe, I don’t struggle with depression. Productivity is a natural source of dopamine! Just as important as work, though, is rest. God knew what He was talking about when He told us to work six days and rest for one!
God knows what is best for us. The things He commands aren’t just commandments; they are gifts, and it’s through obedience we can receive the God-given gift that is rest.