Wise Men Know How To Relax

Dear Lewis,

I’m exhausted. I’m tired from lack of sleep. I’m drained from giving every once of energy to what I love.

Sadly, I’m not talking about you. I’m not talking about your mom. I could spin it and say it’s for God. But, who am I kidding?

I’m tired because I don’t know how to stop.

Lewis, I’m a driven, dedicated person. If you take after me be prepared for some inherent flaws:

– The inability to relax.

– When you try to relax all you can think about is how this time could be used “productively,” which leads to anxiety.

– Never being satisfied with yesterday’s success.

– Scared to get out of bed today because you think there’s no way to outdo yesterday’s success.

And on and on the list goes.

The dangerous thing is it’s all so easy to justify.

You’ll say things like: “God has given me this ability. I can’t waste it. That’s not good stewardship.” Maybe you’ll get super-spiritual with it: “God is using ‘this’ for his glory and honor. This is no time to rest.” Even if you’re honest, well…“I refuse to be mere potential. I’m determined to do great things for God.”

Why do I bring God into my most selfish actions? Why do I hide behind the veneer of God when, really, it’s all about me at the core?

Because I’m foolish, Lewis. Because I’m selfish.

Because even after all these years, all these experiences, all these lessons learned I still can’t get it through my thick skull that what I do for God doesn’t show me how close I am to Him; my ability to rest in Him does.

I imagine God looking at me this morning, saying, “What are you doing? Why are you running yourself ragged? Why aren’t you sleeping? Why are you anxious? Why are you afraid to stop?”

And my only response, the honest answer: “I don’t trust you, God.”

I’m sorry, Lewis, but it’s true. It must be. That’s what my actions say, don’t they?

My actions show I haven’t accepted Jesus’ invitation to, “Come to me all who are weary…and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29). They show I haven’t considered how He cares for the ravens and clothes the lilies. They show I haven’t thought through the depth and breadth of His goodness.

My actions show that my trust is in the work, not the one I’m working for. Otherwise, I’d be able to rest from the work, and rest in Him. My ability to rest shows my ability to trust.

So that’s what I’m going to learn to do.

Tomorrow is Labor Day. In the past I’ve taken advantage of this government-issued day off, and used it to get ahead. Tomorrow, however, I will work on resting. Yes, you read that right. Resting doesn’t come easily, so be patient with me as I learn. Tomorrow is all about you, mom and God. Anything but me.

By the way, Labor Day is another example of how God is smarter than us. We have one day a year set aside to rest and reflect. From the beginning, God set aside one day a week for it.

This is a tough pill to swallow, but God says, in Exodus 35:2, anyone who works on the Sabbath should be put to death.

I’m not going to comment on God’s command, but I’m proof that if you don’t know how to rest you’re just killing yourself anyway, regardless of what God says.

Lewis, I absolutely want you to have a strong work ethic, like your mom and me. I want you to work hard to achieve great things, especially for God. But, more than I want you to do great things for God, I pray you’ll learn to rest in Him.

Enjoy your nap, Lewis. I’ll be in shortly to do the same.

– Dad

Are you a driven person? What does your work/rest ethic say about your trust in God? What excuses do you hide behind in order to justify your inability to rest?

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photo credit: Giulio Magnifico via photopin cc

2 Comments

  1. Megan Starbuck   •  

    I needed this today! It’s never been so hard for me to rest than this year. I just got to the beach and am ready to reclaim my rest. I need to find something weekly that works for me. I used to love rest & am sure I can enjoy it again! Great message. Thanks!

    • Paulie Godbout Paulie Godbout   •     Author

      Megan,

      I’m glad to hear I’m not alone in my struggles! You should check out a book called “Mudhouse Sabbath.” I think you’ll find it an incredible resource.

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