The Rest Season (And why it's difficult for me)
Here’s something that I’m working on right now, and in particular this week while I’m on vacation:
Be ok with the rest season.
I’m the type of person that wouldn’t normally tell others that I’m “on vacation”. Not because I don’t want people to know so they leave me alone, but actually quite the opposite. I don’t want people to think that I’m not working. Not only because I love what I do, but because culture doesn’t tell you to rest. Culture says you can “rest when you die” or “rest when you retire” but if you don’t make rest a priority now, the former might win…
As Rihanna says, “work, work, work, work, work…"
A conversation that I had with a good friend prompted me to write this, because I SUCK AT RESTING, and I felt a little convicted… then, God dropped this bomb in my heart during our conversation. He said, "If you don’t feel ME in the rest season, it may be because you’ve equated your works with ME moving…” and in that moment I knew I needed to work on it and correct it, because many times, I’ve equated feeling God’s presence only to when I'm doing something for Him or for someone else. Yes, faith without works is dead, but I was immediately led to Ephesians 2:8-9 "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast…"
My works are important, but God is still working when I’m not. He’s working all things (including my rest) for the good those who love him and are called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
This is a dangerous and unhealthy place to be because at some point, we create a pathway in our thoughts by playing the line, “I’m the reason that I’m seeing things happen” over and over again. My guilt and my feeling of “letting people down” during my time of rest was just rooted in a dangerous stronghold that I’ve held on to strongly. I love other people, and I love doing things for other people, but their success isn’t dependent on me. I may can play a small part in their life, but I’ve come to realize that my love for doing things for other people and saying “yes” to everything and everyone was really just a stronghold. Saying YES to everything was fueled by the stronghold of my need to be needed.
Saying YES to everything was fueled by my need to be needed.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t the one that was “needed”. I was chubby, dorky, and wasn’t very good at sports (unless it involved a controller - I was really good at NBA Jam). I got picked last for dodgeball because I was an easy target. My Algebra teacher told me I needed to get in to football and set me up a meeting with the football coach. I thought maybe he saw something in me, but really they just needed a "big kid" because in Middle School, girth substituted for talent.
My need to be needed was rooted in a childhood of never feeling needed. Isn’t it crazy the kinds of things that stem out of our childhood? Strange psychological habits and pathways form from what we think are small things. This is why we must be very diligent and intentional with how we raise our kids. It may look like a small problem or “no big deal” while they are 3, but could potentially be emotionally damaging when they are 33, but that’s another blog for another time...
I had to break my need to be needed by learning to say a simple 2 letter word. The word I feel like I have ZERO problem telling my kids when they are doing something they shouldn’t be, but is so tough to say to someone that asks me to do something that takes me from spending time with my kids... and that word is “NO”.
We HAVE to learn to Embrace “NO". We must embrace the rest season. Maybe it IS the season to do less extra curricular stuff and spend more time with your family. Remember, you may be saying “yes" to 1 thing, but at the same time, you’re saying “no" to a bunch of other things. You may be saying “yes" to starting a poker night with your friends, but you’re saying “no" to spending time with your new spouse. You may be saying “yes" to staying up late and playing video games, but you’re saying “no" to waking up early and working out and taking care of your body. You may be saying “yes" to scrolling through Facebook or Instagram, but you’re saying “no" to spending intentional time with God.
When you see that you’re coming up on a rest season, don’t be afraid to say, “no." There will be plenty of chances to say “yes" again in the future.
The Bible says that there’s a time to sow and a time to reap, but there’s also a time to rest. In the story of Jesus feeding the Five Thousand, He and the disciples had just finished going village to village and teaching. Mark 6:30-34 says, "Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, 'Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.' So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. But many who saw them leaving recognized them and ran on foot from all the towns and got there ahead of them. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things.”
See, Jesus knew the importance of rest, and while the disciples rested, Jesus still did what Jesus does; He had compassion on the people. This tells me that when I’m resting, Jesus is still caring for everyone.
You will have a time to get back to the field. There will be a new season of sowing and reaping, but in order to be ready to work that field with everything you’ve got, there needs to be a time of rest.
That time may be short or long. There’s some seasons where you need to be working the field, and some seasons that you need to be working at home. It might be a personal pruning season or a personal growth season, but it’s necessary. Sometimes we sow, and sometimes we work the ground, and sometimes we get to see God water it and experience the harvest, but you can’t always be the one pruning and growing others. Sometimes YOU need the pruning and the growth. SO, rest and take time to celebrate the harvest and work on yourself. Celebrate the victories of others and make their victories your victories. The season to sow and reap will come again. The plowing season, the planting season, and the harvest season will all come again. Use the resting time wisely and be eager and ready, anticipating the moment that God says, “It’s time to get back to work.”