“Stolle-en” Moments: A Time to Rest

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I’m not good at taking a vacation. There it is. I said it.

I’m not used to taking time off. When I became a lifelong caregiver due to my son’s significant needs, my life became work through the BCM/D and work at home. I buried myself in it. All of it. “No rest for the weary” I’d tell myself. I told myself that the work had to get done, and it had to be me doing it.

I was wrong.

I’ve tried hard to serve Jesus, to give Him my best, and to honor him through my work. I’ve strived to be a loving and devoted husband and father. I’ve worked hard to love and serve our BCM/D staff, our churches, and our pastors. “Hard work builds character” I would tell myself. “Serving God well requires a commitment to excellence” I would tell myself.

Working hard, serving well, and striving for excellence are important, and I do believe God honors those things. Do you know what else God wants us to do?  Take care of ourselves!

Recognizing this, in 2020 I began to set aside about an hour a day for physical fitness training, riding a spinning bike. I’ve never felt better. I’ve dropped weight, I have more energy, I sleep better, and I feel like I have more clarity. All of these things are great. This routine is settled for me.

Extended rest, that’s something different. I’m not used to it. It’s been many years of soldiering on.

I decided to try to take a vacation recently. I discovered I still don’t take vacation well. I told myself I’d unplug. I didn’t. I didn’t release my work or my worries about my work. So I felt the time had come to ask myself a simple question. Why? Why can I not let go, even for a short period of time?

I’ve concluded it’s because I’m not listening to God concerning rest and how it benefits ourselves and those around us.

Psalm 23:1-3 (CEV) says, “You, Lord, are my shepherd. I will never be in need. You let me rest in fields of green grass. You lead me to streams of peaceful water, and you refresh my life.”

I believe God provides time where he leads us to places in which we can rest, places where we can relax, recharge, and find refreshment. However, we must be willing to set aside the cares of this life and trust Him. Do I trust God enough to allow Him to work through others when He says It’s time to take a few days off, so someone else is playing in the game? Sometimes part of trusting God is trusting others He places in your life.

I love people. I love investing in people. I love giving them opportunities and seeing them grow. But there is something about taking time off, being out of the game, that is uncomfortable. Staying with the sports analogy, all players need to come out of the game at times for rest, or eventually, they wear out. They must trust their teammates that the game will go on and that they will execute. When rest is sufficient, that player returns. The teammates that had the opportunities to face and overcome challenges become stronger players, that team becomes stronger, and they win more games….. together!

I love the BCM/D staff…intensely. Sometimes, the way we process love causes us to hold on, to tighten our grip, and protect those we love. As a lifelong caregiver, I’m used to that. The truth is we have to love others enough to let go, get our rest, and let those we love carry a bit of the burden. It’s another way that we grow, providing an opportunity for others to grow.

One way we demonstrate that we love others is to demonstrate that we trust them.

In Luke 9:1-6 (CEV) there’s an incredible account of Jesus trusting His disciples with the ability to cast out evil spirits and heal people affected by disease. Scripture says: “Jesus called together his twelve apostles and gave them complete power over all demons and diseases.Then he sent them to tell about God’s kingdom and to heal the sick. He told them, “Don’t take anything with you! Don’t take a walking stick or a traveling bag or food or money or even a change of clothes. When you are welcomed into a home, stay there until you leave that town. If people won’t welcome you, leave the town and shake the dust from your feet as a warning to them.” The apostles left and went from village to village, telling the good news and healing people everywhere.”

Jesus, the greatest leader and lover of people the world had ever known, trusted His disciples with an incredible responsibility: representing Him and giving them the ability to access the incredible healing power of God. He didn’t keep it to himself. He shared it. I’m guessing they may have felt they weren’t ready. If polled, others may have said they weren’t ready.  But Jesus trusted and gave responsibility to them. They accomplished the task, and they grew!

Let’s keep trusting God with more! God has an unlimited capacity to handle everything. In truth, we need God. God’s purposes can be accomplished without us, but our purposes can’t be accomplished without God!

Get our rest when it’s time. Trust others as God has trusted you! Most of all, trust God.