When I was a little girl, I used to collect the beans that fell out of the bags in supermarkets just so I could plant them in a plastic cup and watch them grow.
I remember looking at the cup every day and being very excited to see my little plant grow. And fast!
The growth was so evident. The cup often transparent. I was able to see the roots get deeper, grow stronger.
But growing up is not like that.
Growing up sneaks up on you and it hits you before you realize it’s happening. Realizing things have changed (and you have changed) is not something so evident as seeing a bean plant grow.
When I was blow-drying my hair today, it hit me. It hit me that two years ago I would have never blow dried my own hair, much less do it without thinking about it. Before, I would finish with a mediocre result, looking at it disappointment, thinking to myself “well…I tried!” Now, it’s another story.
When I was catching up with old friends and they mentioned going to the movies, it hit me. It hit me that I can’t even remember the last movie I saw!
When I was about to send a report to a client the other day, it hit me. It hit me that I had just written a 100-page report about statistics in the financial sector, with charts and graphics that would have been unrecognizable and incomprehensible to me a year ago, but made complete sense now.
And that’s just the beginning.
When the longings in your heart are stronger, and deeper, and nothing really seems to satisfy or fill up anymore, it hits you.
You stop seeing time as something to be wasted, and start seeing time as something to be valued.
Conversations with people start being less and less superficial and more and more complex.
Money is invested, not wasted. You crave for depth and purpose in everything you do.
But that’s not the only way to grow up. There’s also another route, and it’s the route of mind numbing.
When things start hitting you, you re-route. You engage in activities where you disengage your mind.
Minutes easily turn into hours with little depth or substance.
Binge watching. Binge scrolling.
Another day flying by.
Just another day.
We equate rest with this, but we are not really resting at all.
Growing up, regardless on how we manage it, is exhausting.
In the end of the day, we long for true rest.
But what is true rest?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
“Be still, and know that I am God.”
All verbs. All intentional. All actions.
So necessary, that God even made it a commandment to have a day of rest, the Sabbath.
But rest in the Sabbath never started with doing whatever we felt like doing, whatever we thought we deserved to do, or whatever definition of rest we could think up ourselves.
“If you keep your feet from breaking the Sabbath
and from doing as you please on my holy day,
if you call the Sabbath a delight
and the Lord’s holy day honorable,
and if you honor it by not going your own way
and not doing as you please, nor speaking idle words (words that are trivial, shallow, purposeless), then you will find your joy in the Lord,
and I will cause you to ride in triumph on the heights of the land
and to feast on the inheritance of your father Jacob.”
True rest does not conform to our definition of rest, but is transformed to God’s definition of rest.
The rest of this world can be the very thing that detriments us, tires us, and make us more vulnerable to being attacked and caught off guard.
Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world.
1 Peter 5:8-9
True rest doesn’t numb the mind. It is found in being sober, and being there. And this true rest doesn’t come easily or naturally to us.
Doesn’t it sound even more exhausting? Doesn’t it require more strength?
“Finally, be strong IN the Lord and in the strength of His might.”
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
God is the one who can give true rest. He is also the one that can teach us how to rest.
See, as Christians, we often know we need to sacrifice for the Lord.
We are often willing to sacrifice many things, including rest.
But are we willing to sacrifice work, for the rest He’s commanded?
Even more importantly, are we willing to sacrifice our definition of rest?
Before scrolling and watching and doing, ask Him first. Read His Word. Talk to Him and wait long enough to listen.
God is saying:
When you are tired, come to Me, not the things you believe will make you rest.
When you are overwhelmed, stand still and wait. I want to speak.
Next time the weight of this world comes upon you, seek me first,
before other sources for answers and relief.
Rid yourself from your own ideas of rest and make way for MY way.
It will always be better. It will always be worth it. It will last.
I’ll be waiting.