Posted by: JennyRain | February 27, 2009

Learning the Practice of Rest

Be still, and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10

Today’s reading in my Daily Bread devotional talks about rest. Living in Georgia the last four and a half years has taught me the abundance that arises out of a regular times of rest and reflection. God has re-established His reign of rest in my life, and is teaching me healthy balance. The results have been a better physical health, healthier friendships, and restored family relationships. Who knew this could all come from rest!

Rest is something I have had to learn and be intentional about practicing here in Georgia. I was rest-o-phobic when I lived in Northern VA. Truly, the lifestyle around I-495 fosters anything but rest… too much to be accomplished, to many people to see, places to go…who has time for rest?!? Yet, after twelve years of beltway-bandit-living, this non-restful lifestyle landed me in rural Georgia exhausted, burned-out, sick in body, and sick-in-soul.

So as I enter this season of preparation for marriage and the resulting move back to Northern VA, my weekly prayers have returned to the discipline of rest, of coming home to my Center, of finding Home within myself and dwelling there. My friend Keisha observed years ago, “Home isn’t a place you go to, it’s in your heart. When you find rest in yourself, you will have peace wherever you go.”

I admit, I’m a bit nervous to return to Virginia because I do not want to lose this precious treasure of rest I have learned to nurture in my life. Virginia tends to beat the restful lifestyle right out of you! So today’s devotional really reached out and grabbed me. Particularly Mark 6.30-32:
 

 

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  

 

 

Secondly, Jesus had to teach the apostles to rest. The apostles were hurrying to and fro, trying to DO, trying to FEED, though not taking time to fortify themselves with food. The apostles spent verse 30 telling Jesus all the “stuff” they had just “done and taught.” They had just come OFF of the ministry path, and then stepped out of one ministry activity and stepped right into another one as they ran hither and fro attempting to feed the 5000 (though they had not yet eaten).

Jesus had to say to them, “Stop.” He had to encourage and teach them to “Get some rest.” He gave them permission to rest and we might infer from His instructions that He was already modeling this behavior of resting Himself. After the apostles gathered ‘round Jesus to tell Him all they did (I imagine them all sitting on the side of the hill excitedly sharing with Him), perhaps then – mid-sentence, one by one, they began to leave the huddle-share, and began their hustle and bustle to get people fed, Meanwhile, Jesus remained seated watching them.

“Stop. Come with me. Rest.” And they listened. They practiced the discipline of rest. They began to nurture the healthy habit of balance and rest. Despite the surrounding need, they rested. Despite the hub-bub of activity, they found their silence in the chaos. They learned how to rest.

Noteworthy to me is verse 30, Jesus was ministering to the “apostles” at this point. They were no longer “disciples” (followers) but they had moved into the realm of “apostles” (the ones establishing and teaching). I am moved to think about how often – when we move into apostleship roles, we lose our rest.

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