REST—Is It REALLY Possible?
Summer is here for most educators and the “to do” list has begun! I can remember spending my summer trying to do everything I had put off during the year. From home remodeling projects to school work, my summer was packed! The term rest was not in my vocabulary. What does it mean to rest anyway?
Most definitions regarding rest include words such as relax, refresh, and recover. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I can’t think of any educator who would not desire to experience this type of rest; however, too often it eludes us. Rest today is replaced with deadlines, job targets, fear, and worry. We live in a world characterized by restlessness. It is the norm. Is rest REALLY possible? Of course it is, but maybe not how you think!
I don’t know why, but rest doesn’t come naturally to most of us. Maybe this is why God spoke so much about rest in the Bible (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 20:8-11, Matthew 11:28). We could go into depth on what Biblical rest means, but I want to take a slightly different approach. Being a former English teacher, I love acronyms. I’ve found acronyms helpful when I am trying to expand on a meaningful concept. In June I can’t think of anything more appropriate for educators than REST!
After nine months of go-go-go, rest must be a priority. What does rest mean to you? What recharges your batteries? Join me in exploring some ideas; hopefully, these will leave you feeling refreshed by summer’s end and ready to tackle a new school year!
The older I get, the more I realize how much I have forgotten. I was up in the attic the other day and stumbled onto some old college notes. As I read through those yellowed pages, I was shocked at all of the information I supposedly once knew and understood. I literally had no recollection of the content once deemed so essential! Times have certainly changed.
To be honest, some (or most) of my old notes are not worth remembering and certainly do not provide an element of relaxation or rest! May I suggest a few truths worth remembering? Truths we don’t want to forget? Truths that will leave us with a renewed sense of energy?
Remember, as believers we are…
We are forgetful human beings. Forgetting some things (like my old college notes) is inconsequential, but forgetting what God says about us in His word can be a “rest stealer.” Living defeated lives, allowing ourselves to be overcome by guilt, feeling abandoned…thoughts such as these are NOT RESTFUL!
Want to rest this summer? Remember!
Now don’t stop reading! I’m not necessarily talking about physical exercise, although some may consider a good walk restful. I would venture to say when we think of rest, the term exercise does not come to mind, but hear me out. One important reason for rest is to gain strength and be rejuvenated. Just like there are health benefits to physical exercise, there are spiritual benefits to exercising the spiritual disciplines of prayer, Bible study, and service. Take a look at these verses, and tell me they won’t produce rest in your life!
· Prayer. Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
· Bible Study. So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11
· Service. Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. Colossians 3:23-24
Want to rest this summer? Exercise!
As educators we are always so busy. The concept of sitting is nearly nonexistent. I am terrible about sitting. For some reason I think I have been programmed (not sure how) to feel guilty if I sit too long. I even catch myself periodically standing up to eat! Not only do I need to stop and sit, but I need to sit and unplug from social media, television, podcasts, music, and sometimes even from friends. I need to just sit and be still.
I’m reminded of the times Jesus sought solitude. At the very beginning of his ministry, He spent 40 days praying in the wilderness (Luke 4:1-2, 14-15). He encouraged the disciples to separate themselves from people to rest (Mark 6:30-32). Jesus knew how important it was to get alone and spend time with God (Luke 5:16). If sitting alone with God was a priority for Jesus and his disciples, it should be a priority for us.
In a noisy world, we need to learn how to value solitude. We can’t hear from God when our minds are constantly distracted. It’s time to be still (Psalm 46:10).
Want to rest this summer? Sit!
T: TRUST I wanted to avoid the word trust because it’s a word we’ve heard a million times, but for some reason I just couldn’t let it go. I began to really ponder how trust is so connected to rest.
Think about it this way. What is the opposite of trust? Worry, fear, uncertainty—all of these can simply wear us out. How much time and energy do we waste when we get all worked up about things over which we have no control? I have done it too many times to count, and to be honest, it leaves me not only physically exhausted but emotionally spent as well. Part of learning to rest is to let it go and trust God with everything. This includes the little things and the big. If we do not, rest will evade us. Many educators are already starting to worry about next year. We could be concerned about the students we’re going to get, the leadership we’re going to have, the parents we have to serve, or the curriculum we have to teach. If this is the case for you, stop! It’s okay to let the Lord know you’re concerned about the unknown or upcoming changes in your life. After that, trust Him with your struggles and let Him open the door to rest.
Consider what the Bible has to tell us.
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7
Peace…isn’t this something we all want? Peace is the key to rest, but peace is only possible when we trust Him. Whatever is stressing you, lay it down.
Want to rest this summer? Trust!
For the Christian, our ultimate rest is found in Christ. He invites all who are weary and burdened to come to Him and cast our cares on Him (Matthew 11:28; 1 Peter 5:7). It is only in Him that we find complete rest from the cares of the world, from the sorrows that plague us, and from the need to work to make ourselves acceptable to Him. Finding rest in Christ doesn’t just happen. It requires our cooperation. We CAN rest this summer when we…
Take time to rest. It REALLY is possible!
Want to read more about rest? See these blogs.