Many of you need this.
Rest of soul is different from physical rest. Rest of soul rarely comes from a vacation. It may even be elusive at a noise-filled church where there is little if any time to quiet your spirit. We enter into soul-rest when we cease all striving, walk free from burdens, and are at peace with God. Here’s what that looks like today.
Let it all go.
O Lord, my heart is not lifted up;
my eyes are not raised too high;
I do not occupy myself with things
too great and too marvelous for me.
Covid, vaccines, the government, conspiracy, the economy, the election, anarchy, corruption, the end of the world… We’re not meant to carry these things, or as God said, “occupy ourselves with them.” Many Christians are so tightly wrapped around this stuff that they’re exhausted, stressed out—and irritating to others. I see and am messaged the latest end-of-the-world, conspiracy theory, and prophecy videos and articles all the time. This doesn’t mean we go ostrich and pretend everything is bunnies and sunshine (as many churches are doing), but that being aware of the environment we’re in for the purpose of prayer and taking the action steps that lead to positive change isn’t the same as letting it own you, drain you, or weigh you down with obsessive anxiety.
Let God be God, and let Him handle it all. Your role and mine is to fight the battles He gives us, where He’s planted us, and to care for the people He’s put in our sphere of influence. Pray for current circumstances fervently, but don’t hold onto them. Release these weights and invest your emotional energy in the action steps that make a difference, beginning with spending an hour in prayer.
Use wisdom, but stay away from the casket.
So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom.
The church we’ve been attending here in Arizona has around 200 members in their weekend church services; no one wears a mask. I knew that wasn’t going to be a smart environment to be in during the holidays with the spike in Covid cases, so my family and I have taken a break from going to church until it calms down. I’m not afraid of getting sick, but I’m not charging into a situation that puts me and my family at a high risk of exposure. That’s called wisdom.
At the same time, my focus is on making my life count for eternity so I’ve continued to engage the battle, which includes being around people and ministering to them.
There are some who are so wrapped around the fear of getting sick that they’ve bedded down in a nice, comfortable, casket. Those silk pillows the undertaker gently places in there for the dead may be comfortable, but confining yourself to a wood box is a waste of life, bad for your mental health, and atrophies your spiritual muscles.
If God told you that you had three months to live, how would you spend your life? Stay in the battle, but use wisdom. There is no rest of soul in a casket, only emotional and spiritual rot.
Got someone God wants you to forgive? Release your heart from the pain of their sin and grant them a pardon.
A little honesty here. I’ve never hung Christmas lights around our home over the years because I didn’t want to spend the time hanging them and taking them down. Last night I did so, not for me, but for my family members. As I was putting the lights up (which I found myself enjoying) I encountered an unexpected sense of peace. Serving others loosens the grip of selfishness on the heart, paving the way for rest of soul.
Rest in silence with Him
But I have calmed and quieted my soul,
like a weaned child with its mother;
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
If you haven’t already, weave an hour alone with God in silence into your schedule for at least one or two days a week. Learn to rest with Him, listen for Him, enjoy His presence, and allow Him to minister to you. Many Christians live choked spiritual lives because they haven’t taken the time to build their life around His priorities and make time to cultivate their first love.
Enjoy a meal and meaningful conversation with a trusted friend.
Sharing your weaknesses and struggles with a friend will lighten your load and help you to live free. You might even have fun.
Use the two-letter N word.
Some of your need to practice this word – NO. Guard your time and watch your emotional fuel gage. Clear out your schedule as needed. You’re not meant to save the world, nor should you burn yourself out trying to make everyone happy.
In this context, I don’t mean at church with the worship band rocking at full volume. Get alone with God, and give Him your heart in praise and worship. Tell Him you love Him and want to know Him. Enjoy Him.
I’ll finish by giving you several music videos for you to listen to while you’re in a quiet place. Music touches the heart; allow God to minister to you through it.
Keith Green – I can’t believe it
Rich Mullins – Peace
Photo: Juan Pablo Correa