Free People Rest. Do you?

May 16, 2012Find joy today, Heal from the past

A few weeks ago my husband taught about the last supper as it appeared in Luke 22.  Luke 22:20 says, “When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twelve.”

A throwaway phrase, right?

But it’s not.

The Passover Seder hearkens back to the day when God delivered the Israelites from Egypt’s tyrannical rule. They ate their meal together in haste. No time to even leaven the bread. They ate standing up, in a hurry.

But here, they reclined. Why? The reclining symbolized a free people, a people no longer enslaved, no longer fleeing, no longer in angst.

Free people rest.

The simplicity of that statement woos me.

The problem? I don’t act like a free person. I act enslaved to my schedule, my to-do list, my agenda. And if I go a little deeper, I realize that my frenetic pace has everything to do with my perception of worth. I do things so I will feel worthy of occupying space on this earth. So if I relax, I don’t see my value.

God wants us (me!) to rest. He has set us free from sin, from a lifestyle bent on self, from feeling like we have to do things to prove our worth.

In light of that, I believe every Jesus follower should choose rest for these three reasons.

  1. Studies show that people who dare to retreat and take strategic breaks are far more productive than those who push-push-push. I wrote a post about that here. I’ve learned to take a break in between bursts of work, using the Pomodoro Method. And I’ve seen the value of taking time away from the computer screen.
  2. Our rest is proof of our freedom. If we’re not resting, we’re showing others we’re not really free. Is that the message we want to send to the world? Meet Jesus, then burn out? Be set free only to be enslaved to your schedule?
  3. God commands it.It’s on God’s Top Ten list. Resting is our faith in action. Every night we go to bed in faith, believing that God commands the day and night, that He can effectively run the universe without Him. Why is it that we forget that He can run it fine even while we’re awake? Set aside a weekly time to rejuvenate…to worship God, to re-engage with your family, and to rediscover perspective.

You are free. Now, rest.

Q4u: What obstacles do you face when you need/want to take a break? What advice can you give to someone who is facing burnout? What are your favorite restful activities?