Written by: Sarah Lee
What comes to mind when you see that word?
The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rest as:
- A bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.
- Freedom of activity or labor
- A state of motionless or inactivity
- Peace of mind or spirit; free of anxieties
So, tell the truth- how many of us really do this? I know, I know, you are thinking to yourself, “I am a Worship Pastor < (insert your position here), I don’t have time to rest…” (there’s that word again)
Even God rested after speaking Creation into existence, so, why don’t we take the time to rest?
In fact, I would venture to say that most of us carry a lot of stress due to seemingly unending responsibilities. You have services to plan, musicians to schedule, Christmas season will be here in 5 months(sorry if that caused you anxiety), your key lighting guy just got transferred to another state, one of your guitarists moved to a city 2 hours away, a key vocalist needs some time off, or there’s drama on your team. All these things can cause stress and keep you from resting. Understandably, all these things need to be taken care of; but when do you stop and take care of yourself, the capacity of your soul; your core?
The truth is we all have wasted space in our lives. We need to stop at some point, evaluate what is really important, and make hard choices to stop things that are simply keeping us busy or that someone else can do. It’s when we are tired that we tend to give into temptation and sin.
God has designed you to need rest. In fact, physical rest is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible.
Here are just a few verses:
Mark 6:31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”
Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.
Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.
Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.
The above verse is repeated several times. Exodus 31:15; 35:2 Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Leviticus 23:3. I think God wants us to get it- really get it.
I understand our jobs or volunteer positions call for a lot to be done weekly and seasonally, and all the needy people that require our time. And then, to top it off, the Lead Pastor returns from a Study Break with so many ideas to implement that it boggles the mind. I’m right there with you.
I just want you to understand that your calling is important. So important, that you need to take time weekly to just rest in God’s presence.
Here is an idea to get you started. Most of us have 2 days off per week…use one of those days for taking care of the family to do list & other personal things and take the other day to rest, seek God’s presence- just sit still and listen. You may have to work up to one day a week; but before you know it, you won’t know how you ever lived without this quiet time away with God. The books Soul Keeping by John Ortberg and Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul by Brady Boyd, are excellent resources to help you navigate slowing down and resting in God.
You will find that when you spend the time seeking Him, he will take care of all of your needs because you will ask when you are with Him. (Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.) Ideas will flow, you will have less anxiety. (Philippians 4:17, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [This requires time alone with Him] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.) You will even find that your sleep is better! (Proverbs 3:24, When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.) < Total truth!!
Don’t get me wrong, you still have to do your work, plan the services, do the rehearsals, take care of your people, deal with the drama, and yes, when your pastor comes back from his study break, there will be all those ideas….But, your outlook on life will be so much sweeter.
It’s incredibly amazing! He is incredibly amazing! It just takes trust, pure trust, to lean back in your Father’s arms and just breathe.