Nothing Shameful about Rest
“Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.” ~ Genesis 2:1-3 (ESV)
I have recently started on my personal sabbatical. Even though it was scary to start with and even though I have yet to get into a “rhythm” with my freed up time, I have to admit that I had been more blessed than ever. As I go through this period of rest and restoration with God, I also am learning and discovering new things, re-calibrating and spending time on things that matter to me and aligning myself to God’s will for the next seasons ahead. I have indeed come to better appreciate the importance of resting in God, as He continues to impress on me and teach me about it and as He downloads to me on the “Transformative sabbatical” project I’m working on through Emmaus Strategies to help others to rest.
Recently, I met up with a friend. As we inevitably talked about the sabbatical I’m having now, we both come to realize how, amidst our efficiency and busyness, some of us may have unknowingly began worshiping work and efficiency. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with work and efficiency because God gave work to man and we need to be good stewards of the time and resources blessed us by God by being efficient. However, too much focus on it may cloud God out from our lives, as work and efficiency takes center stage in our lives. We do need to be mindful of that.
In fact, we may have gotten too used to being busy that taking time to rest may seem like a sacrilegious or sinful thing to do. A friend recently shared with me an article by someone who advocated that people should not be “penalized” for taking sabbaticals or career breaks in their lives. This is regardless it is to rest and/or to attend to family commitments. Many people may still be of the opinion that “oh, this person stopped working for a while, there must be something not right“. But yet, the author’s argument is that people who take sabbaticals are in fact courageous people themselves, as they take responsibility for taking care of themselves and the loved ones around them by calling timeout. It is a proactive way of taking care of ourselves before we break down in our emotional, physical and spiritual health. There is nothing shameful about that.
Earlier this morning, God further impressed on me that there is nothing wrong with rest. In fact, while we may understand God to have stopped creating on the seventh day, He had actually “created” rest (Gen 2:1-3). At several parts of the Bible, God continues to remind us to rest in Him:
“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” ~ Exodus 33:14 (ESV)
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.” ~ Hebrews 4:9-10 (ESV)
“And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat.” ~ Mark 6:31 (ESV)
So really, there is nothing shameful about resting in God because (i) God Himself rested (Gen 2:1-3) and (ii) rest (not just rest here but eternal rest too) is from Him (Exodus 33:14, Hebrews 4:9-10, Mark 6:31). So I should stop being harsh with myself for resting during this period of sabbatical. And after all, as we rest in God, it takes great faith to say that we will trust in Him to provide. As we know it, faith pleases God (Hebrews 11:6a).
It had indeed been a “road to Emmaus” experience (Luke 24:13-32) for me, as I came out from being burnt out, to a phase of discovery and onward to what I believe to be a renewed purpose and passion.
May you remember to rest in God too and allow Him to bring you through your own “road to Emmaus”. My sincere prayer is with you.