Rest: Not Deserved, But Needed

by Dianne Dougharty

Rest


Just a few weeks ago, Mark and I went to Dallas to keep our grandchildren for three days while their mommy (our younger daughter) and daddy went to Oregon to run in a marathon relay race. While we were there, I fed them, bathed them, cleaned up after them, went shopping, played in the yard, went on walks, made homemade ice cream and cookies, fed the dog, did their laundry, played Hide-n-Seek, took them swimming, made sure they had all their equipment for baseball practice and games (their other set of grandparents took care of transportation), tucked them in at night (which included reading a book and praying), and took the boys, along with Lila (age 2) to their “Meet the Teacher” night. Whew! Makes me tired just telling you about it! I am certain there were other things I did; I either blocked them from my mind, or I was too tired to remember doing them.

Sunday evening, after Kelly and Robby arrived back home, and the children were in bed, Kelly informed us that in two weeks when Lila started Mother’s Day Out and the boys were back in school, she was headed for the pool to chill out. I encouraged her in that, and hoped she would be diligent in making sure it happened.

This past Thursday, my cell phone rang and I looked down to see that it was Kelly calling. I answered and the conversation went something like this: “Well, I did it, Mom. I went to the pool this morning for an hour.” “That’s great, Kel! Did you relax and enjoy your time?” “Well, I would have if I hadn’t looked at my phone at least 50 times, and then began to think about all the things I should be doing.” “Kelly, at that moment when you thought of all you should be doing, did you also have the thought that ‘Certainly, I deserve this time?’” “Yes, I did.” “I thought so. It’s interesting that we as women think we must ‘deserve’ a rest, or time to be still when it’s a biblical principle. We’d each be better off if we learned to follow Christ’s example in this area.”

Kelly agreed, but we came to the conclusion that as necessary as rest is, and as great a biblical principle it is — doing it doesn’t come easily!

Luke 5:16 says, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray.” It doesn’t say, “Jesus felt He deserved a break, so he went away.” It also doesn’t say, “because of all He had to do He was unable to get away.” No, He was deliberate in seeking out quiet and rest.

I was with a friend this past week and asked her what she did on Labor Day. She said, “I was lazy. I stayed home and read a book all day.” I told her she needed that time to rest and just let down. She seemed a little embarrassed telling me she rested instead of cleaning, running errands, or having company over. I wondered as I left her, why is it that we view relaxing and reading a book as being lazy?

The thought passed through my mind, could it be that we are somewhat prideful about our busy lives? Way down deep, we enjoy telling others about all we have to do, and all that we are involved in. We must sound very foolish to the Father who desires our attention and a setting of ourselves “apart.” It’s not busyness He wants, but our undivided attention, focus, and ears attuned to His voice. He wants us to be still, and He desires that we find time to rest.

Jesus got away and rested from His work. He was attentive as the Father spoke. If we don’t make resting a priority, it will be difficult for us to hear His voice, to be spiritually refreshed, and to be physically refreshed for the multitude of responsibilities we have.

Okay, back to the list of all I did while I was at Kelly’s home. I am not foolish in thinking that many of you young women are reading this and thinking, “Yeah, right! Rest? Be still? Is she serious? You can tell she’s far removed from my world!” I realize it wouldn’t be easy for many of you, monetarily or otherwise, to take a weekend here and there and get away, be still, and rest. So I am going to suggest some practical ways to take time away. But first of all, you have to do a couple of things:

  • Acknowledge being still and resting as a Biblical principle.
  • Give yourself permission to do it.
  • Be diligent in committing the time.
  • Remove any feelings of guilt.
  • Realize you will be a better godly daughter of the King, a better person, wife and mommy, if you will allow yourself the time.

Now, let’s think of some practical ways you can accomplish this:

  • If you get to go out alone, while driving in the car, do not get on your cell phone or turn on any music. Just be still, quiet, and listen for the Father’s voice. Talk to Him and He will answer you back. This may feel awkward at first, but you will begin to long for your time in the car!
  • If you have a day without any of the children, go to the local pool, coffee shop, or just stay home and crawl into a chair with your Bible (no cell phone, or at least put it on vibrate) and listen for His voice, rest, and be still!
  • I know a young mom who was a member of the YMCA. They would give mommies two hours for the nursery. She exercised for 45 minutes to an hour, and then went and sat by the pool. She rested and was still.
  • Find a friend who is longing for rest and quiet and exchange babysitting days in order to accomplish this.
  • If you have the luxury of having a Mother’s Day Out, do not fill all those days with cleaning, activities, or errands. Set one day aside a month to be still, rest and be quiet.
  • If all your children are in school, take advantage of the car pool time. Arrive early, sit, be still, read your Bible, talk to the Lord, listen for His voice, or lay your head back and take a cat-nap. Our tendency is to take “advantage” of that time to connect with the “world.” But what good is that if we are not first connecting with Him?
  • Once a month ask your husband for one to two hours alone, where he would be responsible for the children. Then LEAVE the home! You will never rest, be still, or be able to listen if you stay in the home.
  • GET OFF electronic devices! Take a fast from Pinterest, Facebook, etc. You will be amazed at how focused on the Lord and attentive to His voice you are when you eliminate all those distractions. I was meeting with some girls this summer and we decided to take a ten day fast from Facebook. Afterwards, they commented on how much happier, less distracted, and contented they were, and how much more time they had to be with their husbands, or do other things.

These are just a few practical ideas. Think of some of your own, being creative and intentional. Jesus realized His need to rest, to be alone, to set Himself apart, and to listen for the Father to speak. Lest you think it was easy for him, he was here on earth for only thirty-three years. Time was of the essence for him to accomplish the task He’d been given. He was in great demand. Not only did crowds gather around him everywhere he went, pulling and tugging at him, but also his disciples were in constant need of him. Yet he made a choice, as Mary did. He chose to get away, be still, and sit attentively listening for the Father to speak.

Girls, be intentional! You need it more than you realize!

Dianne Dougharty

*What are some ways you find time to rest and be still before the Lord?

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