My husband and I have been moving and shaking since 2014 when God first spoke to us about relocating. We’ve had the opportunity to meet various pastors, ministers, and some great friends. We’ve been to so many churches in a few different states and they’ve all in one way or another not only impacted our lives, but taught us some life changing lessons.
For every place God has taken us, we’ve always jumped into ministry. We love to worship and offer up help in any way we can…well, accept children’s ministry. We’re like magnets for youth, but always say we don’t do kids. It’s weird, I know. Anyways, I digress!
When God began to speak to us about Arizona, we assumed we would come here and jump right into ministry at a church. In some ways we did, but God had other plans. I remember one of the biggest things God made clear was that He was going to bring complete healing to our inner parts while being here. I never quite understood what that meant until we actually got here and life slapped us up a couple times.
We’ve experienced some extreme highs and lows being here in Arizona. I mean, things I never thought I’d think or do….it happened. And it hit me and my family hard.
Yesterday for the first Saturday in a long time I was intentional about doing nothing. Normally when my husband has to work, I’ll get up and find stuff for me and the kids to do, but I simply chose to rest. As I sat there on the couch, God reminded me of something my pastor says a lot. The blessing of rest. I always chuckle when he says it because I can think of a thousand things to do in a single day.
As God brought that to mind, He showed me ME. How I had spent the last couple months trying to conquer the world for everyone else, yet I lost myself. I lost my zeal for everything He placed in me. I was so busy trying to be super mom, wife, family member, employee, etc. that I lost my very own self. Then I drowned myself in a failed effort to numb the pain of being lost just for God to bring me to this very pivotal moment.
Can we say #relentlesslove?! I went to sleep thinking on rest and woke this morning with Paul on my mind. Paul was imprisoned a few times, but during those times of imprisonment Paul wrote the very words that encourage Christians today to keep going. What makes Paul’s writings so inspirational to me is that he wrote them while sitting a prison cell:
11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength. Philippians 4:11-13 NIV
Paul knew what it was to be in ministry and he knew what it was to live like hell. He had all human right to complain about where he was given the fact that he gave his life over to ministry and yet was still going through so much. The thing is, Paul chose to look at his situation through God’s eyes and not mans or his very own. Yes, he was sitting in a prison. Yes, people hated him. Yes, people wanted him dead. Yet Paul still was at rest.
Paul had radically changed. He heard the voice of God and decided to obey and be changed. His decision didn’t change the world he lived in, it changed how he saw the world. He no longer reacted to what was happening in the natural, but he chose to trust the God he served not half way, but wholly submitting his entire life to God.
In doing so….even in a prison cell….Paul discovered the blessing of rest.
It’s in that blessing that Paul was able to find contentment.
It’s in that blessing that Paul found healing from the inside, out.
It’s in that blessing that Paul was able to write encouragement to the church who lived outside those prison walls.
It’s in that blessing of rest that the writings of Paul inspired by God’s rest is able to speak and minister to my heart this very morning.
You see, when we feel like life has come to a screeching halt, we start to panic.
We start soul searching as to why life has stopped. We find mundane activities to keep us busy when quite frankly, God is saying Rest.
Resting doesn’t mean life has paused or that something is wrong. It simply means God is doing what He needs to do in and through you so you can be ready for what’s coming.
When a woman is pregnant, her baby is at rest inside of her. It’s only job is to simply be while being fed and comforted in its mother’s womb. Life hasn’t stopped for the fetus. On the contrary, it’s just beginning. It may be stuck in the same place for a couple of months, but while it’s there, it’s growing and maturing in ways it can’t do for itself. It may not comprehend what’s happening, but all questions are answered when the child is birthed.
Today I want to encourage you to embrace the blessing of rest. You may feel stagnant right now, but if you will simply submit wholly and completely to God, you will find that He has been doing a work in you this entire time. If you will decide to simply stop and take in the moment, you will see that He’s been giving you time to breathe and grow. Whether you think you need it or not.
We need it a lot more than we know. Ministry is great and all, but the blessing of rest is what empowers us, equips us, and strengthens us for the journey ahead.
God is a limitless God who Himself understood the power and blessing of rest. Let’s stop trying to run the show because we always learn the hard way that we simply can’t do a thing without God. Let’s embrace the blessing of rest so God can prune and prepare us for the movement ahead.
Until next time, Be Blessed….and Rest.