Busyness is today’s badge of success. We even carry this over to ministry, thinking the busier we are for God, the more He must be blessing our church, our business, or our ministry. But God would rather have us be with Him than do a bunch of things for Him.
We are to work hard when we work.
Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)23 And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,24 knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.
But we are commanded to rest;
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NKJV)12 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
The Commandment about the Sabbath Day says as much about rest as it does anything else, in fact this Commandment is the one with the most written about it.
Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)2 It is vain for you to rise up early, To sit up late, To eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.
He gives to His children even in their sleep.
That means that as you rest and trust in Him, He can provide for you.
2 Corinthians 9:8 (NKJV)8 And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.
Renew Your Spirit
Church, people, schedules and taking on Satan head-on is depleting. If you are exhausted you won't be able to fight and resist the devil. When you are feeling discouraged, stop yourself for a moment and release the burden to God. On your bad days, you should rest and on your good days, you should rest.
When you don’t feel like you can make it another day, turn to the Scriptures to drown out depression, anxiety, doubt and anger. God promised to renew our strength like the eagle, and we will run and not faint.
Isaiah 40:31 (NKJV)31 But those who wait on the LORD Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.
Also, go to the Bible, a devotional, enter into prayer, or play worship music to encourage yourself and to keep your spirit energized. You need to come to Jesus and just humble yourself before Him.
Matthew 11:29-30 (NKJV)29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
Serve God out of love for Him, not to earn His love for you, and not in order for Him to bless you. When you take time to rest and to remember that you were created to love God and enjoy Him forever, He brings a satisfaction to your soul and a joy to your heart and a productivity to your work.
Psalm 16:11 (NKJV)11 You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 107:9 (NKJV)9 For He satisfies the longing soul, And fills the hungry soul with goodness.
That is restful and successful living.
Jesus Needed Rest and So Do You
by Alli Worthington
Our lives have gotten so cluttered up with things we think we “should” do, we can’t figure out what we were meant to do.
Setting boundaries in our lives is the only way to ensure we stay healthy physically, mentally, and spiritually.
Jesus Himself set boundaries around His time. One of my favorite stories is in Mark 4:35-40.
That day when evening came, He said to His disciples, “Let us go over to the other side.” Leaving the crowd behind, they took Him along, just as He was, in the boat. There were also other boats with Him. A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”
He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
He said to His disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
[And for some reason, in my mind, He then groggily laid back down on His cushion and went back to sleep.]
Here’s what is so great to me about this passage: Jesus sees that there is work to be done. He sees the crowd. He knows people need to be healed, demons need to be cast out, and lessons need to be taught. But He still tells His disciples to get in the boat, and once there, He falls asleep. Yes, the needs of the people are urgent, and their requests (or cries) for healing must have been compelling, but Jesus knows that He needs to stop and rest.
If even Jesus needs to stop and rest in the midst of a chaotic world, with all of the important things He has to do, don’t you think we need rest, too?
I think we need to follow His example and set boundaries on our time, in order to do live lives full of what we were meant to do, not what we think we’re supposed to do.
As my friend Christine often says to me, “You don’t burn out doing the right things. You burn out because of what you don’t do.” We can say no to nonessentials in order to do lots of great things in our lives. We can work all day and all night doing what God calls us to do. But without adding in time to connect with Him and others regularly, we will burn out even on good activities.
1. Add in time to stay connected to God through prayer and Scripture
One of the most beautiful reminders I have of the importance of spending intentional time with God is found in Matthew 14. John the Baptist has just been beheaded, and Jesus wants to be alone, so He retires to a private place to grieve. But the crowds hear that He is there and follow Him. He has compassion on them and heals the sick among them. Then He performs the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. And Scripture tells us this:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of Him to the other side, while He dismissed the crowd. After He had dismissed them, He went up on a mountainside by Himself to pray… alone.
Once again we see Jesus leave the crowd, with work still to be done, to take care of what is important. He knows He needs to connect to His Father, to pour out His heart to Him, to rest in the comfort of His arms as He grieves the loss of John the Baptist. He doesn’t rush around to fix everything for everyone. He could have — He is God, after all. But He is also a human being who needs to spend time alone with God.
We too must add into our lives what is important to the well-being of our souls.
I knew I had to learn to become a morning person and get up to pray and have quiet time before the kids woke up and the hurricane of morning activity in the household started. So I began to wake up earlier every day to pray and read my Bible.
It still hurts when my alarm goes off so early, and I need two cups of coffee to get going, but when I stay connected to God and prioritize that time, I am more likely to spend the rest of my day focused on the important instead of the urgent. There’s no right or wrong way to spend time alone with God each day. I remember in the early days of my faith, I heard that I should spend twenty minutes a day having a “quiet time” with the Lord. But later in life I met a woman who told me she never used the words “quiet time” to describe the time she spent connecting with God each day. Instead she calls it “unhurried time with the Lord.” I love the picture that paints. It’s not rushed, it’s intentional, it’s purposeful, and it’s meaningful. Exactly what staying connected to God through prayer and Scripture should be like.
2. Add in time to connect with others
We have to be intentional about connecting with others, including our spouse, our children, and our friends. It’s easy to allow our work, even our work for the Lord, to keep us from purposefully connecting with those we love.
Throughout the Gospels, we see that Jesus spent time with those He loved. He spent weeks on end traveling with His disciples. Sure, they did ministry together. They even performed miracles together. But Jesus also went to weddings. He visited His mother and brothers. He hung out with His great friend Lazarus and Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha. (Of course, He had to raise Him from the dead first…) Jesus was a man who not only understood the importance of spending time with those He loved, He modeled it throughout His time on earth.
3. Add in time to take care of yourself
Breaking busy also means adding in space, time, and energy to take care of yourself. Just as you would make an appointment to go to the doctor, make appointments during the week to exercise, to read that book you have been putting off, to take a bubble bath, or even just to lie on your bed and stare at the ceiling.
You have permission to take care of you because the world needs what only you can bring to it. Your colleagues, your family, they need you to be who you were created to be, and you were not created to be overstressed and overbusy.
Are you doing things today that are urgent? Or important? When we put every choice through that filter, we are able to prioritize how to spend our time instead of living a life of crazy busy. We have to start breaking busy before the busy breaks us.
Adapted by Alli Worthington from Breaking Busy, copyright Alli Worthington.
Have you ever felt like a fraud or failure as you struggle to find balance in life? Do you find yourself juggling everything in mediocrity and feeling like you’re succeeding at very little? In her no-nonsense way, Alli Worthington tackles the big questions about finding happiness and one’s God-given purpose. Breaking Busy marries popular secular research with solid biblical principles, instilling confidence that you, too, can move from crazy busy to confident calm. With refreshing candor, uproarious true stories, and a Christian worldview, Alli delivers truths that dismantle common happiness myths. Then she empowers you to get unstuck, to let go of the good to make way for the great, to know yourself and your Creator, and ultimately to find peace and purpose in this world of crazy. $16.99
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.