It almost seems funny to talk about resting this time of year. Resting can seem like a nice idea, but not too realistic. Whether we’re talking about physically resting – or maybe even mentally or emotionally – both can seem daunting at times.
Do you know that there is a way for us to rest, despite what’s going on around us?
To be honest, this is something I am still working on. I can make the decision to rest physically when I need to, but resting my emotions and trusting them with God (instead of worrying or striving) can be a big challenge for me. I am a thinker, and my mind tends to run all day long.
How about you?
This is where Psalm 23:2 comes in perfectly: “He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.”
Let’s face it. We are all busy! God wants us to take time to re-charge our batteries, and lie down in His green pastures. He created six days for us to work, and one for us to rest. I think most of us have the six days of working figured out pretty well. It’s the one day of rest that many of us neglect.
I find it interesting that the verse says, “He makes…” God often needs to slow us down, because we can be unwilling to do it on our own. Often, it’s not even that we don’t want to, but more that we don’t know how to slow down. He knows that we all need time to rest, or we will suffer spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally.
Have you ever noticed that when you are physically tired (or maybe when you are sick) the other areas of your life suffer? Even your spiritual life?
I know when I am tired or not feeling well physically, I am more likely to get distracted and not read my bible or spend time with God as much as I do when I’m feeling well. Meanwhile, that’s when I need Him the most. Peace and joy can seem so far away when we go through physical trials.
Maybe your mind is constantly running, and you find yourself easily worrying or striving to make things happen. God has also provided us a way to rest our emotions and to have peace – no matter what is going on around us. Both peace and joy are fruit of the spirit.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5:22-23
Peace and joy are not something we need to earn or beg God for, but they are something we have when we walk in the Spirit and seek Him first.
Matthew 6:33 is one of my favorite scriptures: “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
Our lives will become centered around whatever we put our focus on.
Our lives will become centered around whatever we put our focus on. Our focus needs to be on God and His righteousness first. When we learn how to do this, peace and joy will seem much more attainable.
Years ago I was at a women’s retreat, and God gave me a mental image of something I will never forget. I was studying Matthew 6:33, and I was trying to grasp what it meant to seek Him first. In my mind, I saw a picture of a man walking down a path. This man had many bags piled up on his back. As he walked down the path and kept his focus on the light (representing God) ahead of him, the bags started falling off one by one. He didn’t have to make the bags fall off or work hard at taking them off. They started falling off one by one as He kept his focus on the light.
The Holy Spirit started teaching me what it means to seek God first. We can work very hard sometimes to change aspects of our lives that we don’t like, but when we put our focus on Jesus, He changes us from the inside out.
This also applies to learning how to rest, whether it’s physically, emotionally, mentally or spiritually. He can teach us how to rest from the inside out.
We all need rest. True rest can be found in quieting ourselves as we put our focus on Him. He will show us how to rest in the green pastures that He has provided for us.
Setting time aside to spend with God alone is so helpful. For me, every day I intentionally wake up earlier than everyone else in my house so I can have some time with God alone. That’s a consistent time I have found that works for me. When I do this, it is much easier for me to keep my focus on Him during the rest of the day.
Are you resting in the green pastures that God has provided for you?
Psalm 23:2(b) “He leads me beside still waters.”
Still waters are calming. They are refreshing. We all need to feel refreshed now and again. Our minds are constantly “on the go”, and this can be as draining as any kind of physical activity. I know that it’s really easy for me to feel overwhelmed if I’m not focused on God. There are so many things in life that can cause us worry, have anxiety, and to feel overwhelmed. Jesus wants us to rest in Him, which is why He leads us to still waters.
- When you find yourself worrying or feeling lonely, depressed or overwhelmed, where (or who) do you turn to?
- Are you choosing to rest beside the still waters with Him?
He has provided green pastures and still waters for us to rest – even in the busyness of life. I encourage you to seek Him first and to rest in Him. He can teach us how to rest from the inside out. We will actually accomplish much more, and we will be able to embrace the peace and joy that He has available for us.
This not only affects us. When we are resting in Him, we are able to love others better while displaying the peace, love and joy that others are needing so much as well.
Thank you, Jesus, that you have provided a way for us to truly rest. Thank you for lovingly restoring us. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.