Let me explain.
There is an adorable commercial on TV that I just love.
It starts with a dad, a big and strong and muscular dad. Who talks about taking care of his small son. And how he's always so busy chasing and cleaning up after him and his friends that he has no time for *deep couch sitting.*
The doorbell rings.
And, lo and behold, some new cleaning products arrive. Well, clean-up chores are now greatly expedited, and the dad has extra time on his hands. The commercial ends with big ol' dad cuddled up next to his cute son. And he says, "Now this is deep couch sitting." Which is adorably echoed by his son, "Deep couch sitting!"
It's a great ad on many levels.
I love the fact that it portrays a close relationship between a father and son. I love that it shows a man who isn't afraid to do household chores! And let me tell you, the little boy is too, too precious.
But, the thing I love the best is the phrase – deep couch sitting.
As I write this, I am doing some babysitting for my youngest son. That means all sorts of wonderful bonding time with my favorite granddog, Marty. Last night, as I was reading my current book, just to wind down and get ready for a good night's sleep, I looked down at the furry little buddy curled up oh-so-close to me.
He was warm and snuggly, sound asleep, with his upper body draped across my legs.
"Ahhh," I thought to myself. "Now this is deep couch sitting!"
And with a rather stunned realization, I recognized the truth of it. I was indeed more relaxed and restful than I had felt in a good long time.
It got me thinking…
(C'mon guys, breathing gets me thinking!!)
I got to pondering the whole concept of rest, specifically as it is talked about in the Bible.
What does it mean?
Of course, we know that it is a necessary thing.
How do we know that?
Because both God and Jesus rested.
Let's start in Genesis.
God did His great work of creation, and on the seventh day He rested.
Ever think about that?
Did God rest because He was tired?
"Phew! I'm tuckered out. Making the heavens and the earth was tough. Creating all the creatures was challenging. But, boy oh boy, making those humans? That took the last ounce of my energy!"
So here we come to the first concept of rest in Scripture.
The Hebrew word translated "rested" in Genesis 2:2 is shabat – which means "to cease or stop." So, the understanding here is that God stopped His work, He ceased creating on the seventh day.
It is from His example, and His directive, that the Hebrew tradition of Sabbath came into practice.
The Law of Moses taught that there should be no work at all on the seventh day. And in this, we have the beginnings of our seven-day week.
The interesting thing to me is that God’s *resting* was purposeful, intentional.
I wonder – do I rest intentionally?
More often than not, I don't stop what I'm doing – be it activity or worrying or thinking – I don't stop until I'm forced to by utter exhaustion.
But God showed us by His example that we should take purposeful time to cease our work. Time to refocus, time to ponder and meditate, time to just *be.*
God rested on the seventh day because His work was complete and perfect.
So, let's be resolute in planning time to cease what we're doing for the purpose of focusing on Him, meditating on His Word, and just taking the time to *be* with Him!
Now, what about Jesus?
We are shown by His example that He often removed Himself to spend time alone.
Don't you wonder what He did during those times?
I'm sure He spent time talking to His Father.
But, I'll bet He also did it to keep Himself from exhaustion. To find some peace and quiet away from the clamoring crowd. To re-group so He could face the next steps in His journey.
I wonder – do I look for rest before I wear myself out?
Maybe this could be called preemptive resting!
Taking a *time out* before that moment of sheer exhaustion arrives.
I don't think we're very good at that.
We sorta pride ourselves on a hearty work ethic. We like to do things to the extreme. We even approach our leisure time with full-speed-ahead gusto. (Sometimes a vacation can wear you out more than work!)
Jesus did not do this.
Though there were still people to heal, and lessons to be taught, and multiple demands on His time, He instead pulled away for time alone.
I think this is an area where the enemy is very clever.
He can fool us in a couple of very wrong directions.
First, he can convince us that activity is serving.
And the more we do, the better "Christians" we are.
Unquestionably, we are called to serve God and to serve the Body of Christ. But honestly, don't we all know someone (or are you *that someone*) who does this to the extreme? The person who is never home, constantly doing something, the perfect volunteer.
On one level, it might be tempting to admire this person.
But, can we lose ourselves in ceaselessly serving to the point of exhaustion?
The enemy would love just that.
After all, a tired disciple is an ineffective disciple. We're no good for Kingdom work if I we're all worn out. And the father of lies would be overjoyed if we kept busy all the time – never giving ourselves time to think of what's truly important – sometimes even too busy for God.
Let's remember this…
God is not impressed by our *works* – but all too often people are.
So, let's be careful why we're serving, and whom we're serving.
Second of all, the enemy can deceive us into thinking that taking time for ourselves is selfish. And oh boy, we don't want that!
"Think of others as greater than yourself" – oh, how the devil twists that sentiment!
If Jesus pulled away for rest-full times, was He being selfish?
I once had a very wise person tell me that taking time for myself was not selfish – it was self-care. It changed my thinking dramatically. No longer feeling guilty about periods of *time away,* I instead gave myself permission to take care of myself. It's so necessary to do this.
I wonder – am I practicing self-care?
So, let's be wary of frenetic activity, even if it's for good reasons and better causes.
Let's take time to take care of ourselves so we can be refreshed for further service.
Finally, I have one other area I'd like to talk about.
It's about when you've gone beyond the limit.
When you find yourself exhausted, weary, frazzled, weak, debilitated, sapped, overwhelmed and overdone.
It doesn't matter how you got there.
There are many roads that can lead you to this point.
Sometimes it's our own fault. Sometimes it's just life.
There are just times when we collapse – physically, mentally, emotionally.
These are the times when we cannot take another step. We cannot muster the strength to go on. We cannot find peace. We cannot quiet our thoughts. Our emotions run rampant. Our bodies ache.
Ever been there?
Only Jesus can help us in these moments.
Remember His precious words:
"'Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Put My yoke upon your shoulders – it might appear heavy at first, but it is perfectly fitted to your curves. Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble of heart. When you are yoked to Me, your weary souls will find rest. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light.'" (Matthew 11:28-30, THE VOICE)
I don't know about you, but those words just sound like a cool cup of refreshing water after crawling through a desert for days.
Really, this is what Jesus is – an oasis in the midst of life.
Quiet, peaceful, loving, caring, gentle, kind.
This is our Savior. This is our Friend.
So, the word *rest* can also imply an invitation from the Lord.
A Hand held out, bidding you to step out of the fray, to step away from the clamoring din of life.
A Hand held out, asking you to join Him in a quiet place.
I wonder – am I listening?
Oh dear ones, let's take Him up on His offer!!
I encourage you to ponder this concept of *rest* – and to look at all the lessons we learn from our Father and our Savior.
Let's be intentional and purposeful in seeking times of rest.
Let's not forget the value of meditation, of solitude and silence.
Let's not be fooled into thinking that activity in and of itself is any good at all – busy isn't always better.
Let's not serve or volunteer to the point of exhaustion.
Let's be more discerning in what we do and why we do it.
Let's realize when the enemy is telling us lies.
Let's be courageous enough to say "no" when it's needed.
Let's take care of ourselves.
And let's not be guilty when we do…
So today I'm planning to cuddle up next to a beagle who knows a thing or two about resting! And I'm gonna join him in some good ol' *deep couch sitting!*
For *rest* is a good and necessary thing – restorative and refreshing to body, mind, and soul.
Let's embrace it…
For God calls us unto Himself when we take the time.
doing some serious
deep couch sitting!!
"'Be still and know (recognize, understand) that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations! I will be exalted in the earth.'"(Psalm 46:10, AMP)
"The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him." (Habakkuk 2:20, NIV)
"He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength." (Psalm 23:2-3, NLT)
"For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes." (Revelation 7:17, ESV)
"God has told his people, 'Here is a place of rest; let the weary rest here. This is a place of quiet rest.'" (Isaiah 28:12, NLT)
"For we who have believed enter that rest..." (Hebrews 4:3, ESV)
Is God calling you into a time of rest?!
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