Do you feel like a hamster running on a wheel going nowhere? Our culture has coined a term for this. It’s called the Rat Race. Busyness and endless activities often rule our day, and then we fall into bed exhausted, worrying about what we need to do tomorrow. How can we discover the destiny God planned for us if we can’t sit still long enough to listen to Him? A mind at rest is key.
I felt like that hamster when my husband and I raised our five kids. Even as a stay-at-home mom, I was a workaholic. I labored to be a good mom and a good Christian, always working to please others, including God. After fifty years of marriage, I’m finally learning how to relax, enjoy my family, and delight in my time with Jesus.
A MIND AT REST IS KEY
Last week we talked about how to wait on God. We found three keys based on Isaiah 40:31. “Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength…“ You can access that blog here. God Gives Us Wings to Soar Above the Storm!
Our first key focused on clearing our minds, putting our next task on hold, and setting aside our “to do” list for a moment. In other words, we must put our minds “at rest.”
VACATION WAS GOD’S IDEA
God ordained rest from the beginning when He rested on the seventh day. Vacation was God’s idea. He created mankind to need restoration. Although culturally, we start our days in the morning, God began each day with evening. In the creation account He says, “And there was evening and there was morning.” The Hebrew day begins in the evening. Sabbath, the day of rest, starts on Friday at sundown.
GOD SET US UP TO WORK FROM REST
I recently discovered an amazing author, Brian Orme. In his book, The Ascended Life, Brian says “We live in a culture that rests from work. It’s a week of overexerting and collapsing each night and constantly looking forward to the weekend so that we can finally rest. What if we began to look at our days differently and saw them beginning in the evening? So when asked, ‘What does your day look like?’ we can simply state, ‘Well, I am going to start my day with eight hours of sleep.'”
REST BEGINS WITH INNER PEACE
Learning to work from rest begins with inner peace. Hebrews 4:3 says in the Amplified translation, “We who believe [that is, we who personally trust and confidently rely on God] enter that rest [so we have His inner peace now because we are confident in our salvation, and assured of His power.]
When I turned my life over to Jesus, I experienced a peace I’d never had before. God gave me grace to believe that somehow my concerns were now in His hands. However, life got in the way, and I often forgot Who’s in charge.
Peace is cultivated in a place of rest, where we can meditate on the goodness of God.
WORKING HARD TO PLEASE OTHERS CAN STEAL OUR PEACE
Working hard to please others can steal our peace. It can make us feel we have no value if we don’t meet certain standards. When we understand that God loves and values us, no matter how we perform, our work can originate from a place of rest.
REST USED TO BE BUILT INTO OUR CULTURE
Rest used to be built into our culture. Every store was closed on Sunday. Growing up in the 50s, our 7-Eleven was the only store open. If we ran out of milk, buying it there was our only option. Now more people grocery shop on Sunday than any other day. We catch up with chores on the weekend.
Do you remember Family Ties? In one episode of this 80s sitcom, Alex (Michael J. Fox) felt guilty because he hadn’t bought his family any Christmas presents. A Scrooge by nature, he was feeling a bit of remorse. However, it was Christmas Day, and the drugstore was the only place open. He purchased cough syrup and similar items to put under the tree.
Nowadays, even if we can’t find our favorite store open on Christmas, Amazon is at our fingertips.
I’m not advocating that we turn back the clock, but we do need to relearn the principles of rest.
A MIND AT REST IS A REMEDY FOR THE RAT RACE
Our brains are always cluttered with stuff. A mind at rest is a remedy for the rat race. It takes practice to quit focusing on my to do list and calm my thoughts. It’s easier to pick up my phone and check Facebook. But we can learn the habit of waiting on God. Because He lives within us, we can enter His presence anytime we want to . He is eager for our fellowship.
ALL REVELATION FLOWS FROM REST
Brian Orme also states that, “All revelation flows from rest.” God reveals his plans for our destinies when we are quiet enough to listen to His voice. Have you ever read a scripture and felt like God was speaking directly to your heart? It probably happened during a tranquil time.
WAITING ON GOD RENEWS OUR STRENGTH
When we choose to wait on God, He renews our strength. It seems contradictory, but the more we spend time with God the more we accomplish. Our “doing” becomes more streamlined. We don’t run in circles. God lights up our path with clearer direction. Psalm 119:05 says, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.”
GOD DELIGHTS IN YOU
So how do you jump off the hamster wheel? Cultivate time with God, but don’t judge your performance with Him. Rest in His presence and receive His love and affirmation. He loves you right where you are. He made you because He delights in you.