Rest for the soul

Some of us are Type A Christians. Although we know that God’s love is unconditional, we nonetheless find ourselves always doing something to prove our love for God. Maybe we do it to prove to others that we love God. The fact is that we don’t need to prove anything to God. God’s love for us is radical. God’s love for us is beyond all human reason. I want to suggest that there are times when God simply calls us to rest in him. As Pastor John Ortberg wrote in his book, “The Life You’ve Always Wanted,” “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is take a nap.”

If you feel like you’re on a spiritual treadmill that’s going faster and faster and getting nowhere fast, maybe it’s time to press the “off” button and step down. Taking care of yourself spiritually is a key to spiritual growth and avoiding burnout.

I want to encourage all of us to spend more time alone with God to learn how to take on His yoke, which is easy and light (Matt. 11:28-30), instead of bearing our burdens by ourselves.

The other day, I was severely multi-tasking. I had done a morning prayer service at an assisted living center. I came home and did legal work. I then started working on a sermon. At some point, I found myself staring off into space…zoning out if you will. I went to my den and sat in my recliner and started reciting the Jesus Prayer, “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me.” I was then moved by the Spirit to…finish my sermon? No. Perform some great act of social justice? No. God said, “Go out get a pumpkin spice latte and chill for an hour in your favorite local bookstore,” which I did. Maybe these things don’t sound very spiritual, but the Lord did “restoreth my Soul” through them.

May God help us all find rest for our spirit (Ps. 51:10-12) when we are tired and heavy laden. Maybe your spiritual respite will be a walk in the park, curling up in your favorite chair with a cup of hot tea with soothing music on the stereo, or playing with your dog. Perhaps you can claim enough time to enjoy an entire weekend away on a silent retreat. Make it a practice to do whatever works to restore you and whatever draws your spirit closer to His Spirit. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). 

+Deacon Vern