Rest

It is one of my favorite rhythms of life, not just for what it gives me but for what it reveals within me. Rest forces me to wrestle with my propensity to find my identity from my work and not my God. True Rest, the Sabbath Rest of Jesus (Hebrews 4), restores us back to what we were originally made for: a fullness of life in God.

The curse, on the other hand, leads us to operate with the false idea that we’ll be able to work enough to then have rest, or that by my work I will find my fulfillment. But the Bible shows that we were never meant to work for our rest but rather work from our rest. After all, God did create man on the 6th day, meaning mankind’s first full day on Earth was a day of rest.

When I practice Sabbath each week, (the rhythm or resting weekly from work), I practice dying to my flesh. I say “Lord, this is how you designed life and thus I will trust in You to provide for me even when I take a day off.” I say “Lord, you are the Creator of the universe. I can trust Your heart for me.”

God made rest for us. He’s God; He didn’t need to rest after 6 days of creating. He rested to show us the way life is to be lived. He made the day holy for our sakes and for His name’s glory.
I began practicing the Sabbath during my junior year of high school. I read in the Bible about Sabbath and knew it was important but never really tried it. I remember the Lord kindly revealing to me that I had made schoolwork an idol and that it was killing me. He told me to rest from schoolwork.

Practicing Sabbath became a way to reset and recharge. I had a lot of anxiety when I started, but I kept being obedient by taking Friday to Saturday evening off from my studies. I soon began making the same grades, if not better, with less hours of study. I also began experiencing more of God’s presence in my life because Sabbath wasn’t just refraining from doing schoolwork, Sabbath was choosing to spend intentional time with my God and my community.

As with anything in my life, I allow Sabbath to ebb and flow based on the season I am in. During my years of college, I was able to keep the Friday through Saturday evening guarded.
However, currently I am working full time and cannot take Friday-Saturday off. This does not keep me from honoring the Sabbath, I simply move the day.

One of my favorite practical “next steps” in terms of resting, is this: to rest well, first figure out what work is for you in this season of your life.

For some, it’s clear: work is my job I go to.

For others, it’s not so clear. Maybe work is school or it’s doing the chores around the house.
Either way, once we have a good understanding of what our work is, we can begin to practice resting in ways that are beneficial and life giving to us while honoring our Father.

For instance, during my time as a student, work was schoolwork and thus during my sabbath, I would not study or do any school related work. I engaged my body with the world outside and enjoyed doing things with my hands (like art and sports) rather than with my mind. When I work mostly with my hands, I find I rest by doing something with my mind: reading, writing, etc.

When Rest becomes the “ground zero” of our life before we work, we begin to prioritize things differently in our lives. For me, I have grown to prioritize the presence of God and the deepening of healthy community through my journey of Resting.

Author | Samantha Richey

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