This past Sunday we were in Cleveland, OH with our Kings Church family visiting (great church to check out if you're in the Cleveland or surrounding areas). The pastor that morning was speaking on rest and practicing Sabbath. This morning a friend of mine text out this verse
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Now Jesus is speaking about a specific type of rest in this passage, but nonetheless he is still speaking to the concept of placing our trust in Him and casting our worry to Him. It's about pausing in the midst of our busyness, to-do lists, messy homes, childrens' activities, projects, and taking a breath. Not just any breath, but breathing in the very breath of God.
I find this very encouraging and yet challenging for Lauren and me during this church planting season. It can become completely crippling all of the projects that need to be done, the funds that need to be raised, the people that we need to somehow meet, and then you add in family time and meeting the needs of our two preK children. When you begin to live behind your to-do list, it can very quickly become dangerous. Not just with your personal relationships and the neglect that can take place. But something else begins to take place. We begin to believe the lie that we are in control of the list. Now don't get me wrong, it's important to be organized and to get actual things done. But the damage happens when the "candle begins to burn at both ends" in our lives. When stress, worry, and exhaustion enter our lives because there aren't enough minutes in the day, days in the week, or months in the year . . . we forget to breathe.
The whole purpose of practicing a Biblical Sabbath wasn't necessarily about physical rest and relaxation, although at times it is much needed and deserved. But for God's people, the mandate of the Sabbath was more about His people pausing for one day and acknowledging the lack of control they really have over their lives. Pausing, breathing and acknowledging to God that our lives are really just His. That He holds the keys to it all and that none of it really matters unless we realize that He is really the one in control of literally everything. It's all about shifting our perspective on a regular basis. We have lost in many ways the art of Sabbath, and it is robbing our culture of true rest.
As I wrestled with this thought this morning something clicked inside of me for the first time in months, I felt a release. My to-do list is very important (and still needs to get done), but as long as I put the work in and trust God he will take care of the rest. I don't need to live under the yoke of stress or anxiety because my job is to step where God leads in faith, and when I understand my place I can begin to walk with a deeper understanding of who is leading me. A mentor of mine always says:
"Work like it's up to you, pray like it's up to God."
It's true. Our lives aren't really in our control and part of the journey of understanding God in all of his majesty is putting our lives in the proper place. Maybe your a business professional and it seems like the stack on your desk is neverending. Or maybe you come home from work and the home projects just keep piling up, to the point where you lay awake at night wondering how you will get it all done. Or maybe you are a stay at home mom juggling the pressures of being a wife, parent, caretaker, and struggling just to keep your sanity and some piece of order day in and day out. The answer isn't more minutes in the day but rather understanding who is in charge of the very breath your lungs take in . . . God. I want to encourage you today to press in, find the Sabbath not only on a weekly basis (be strict about it), but find the time on a daily basis to get your focus right. He is where we find true peace, comfort, and rest from the troubles of life. He is always with us.