Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Four Steps to Finding True Rest


I'm finally beginning to listen, and I'm discovering, to my great delight, what God means when he tells me to rest.  

God's rest is not passive inactivity.  Instead, it's a deliberate action on my part that leads me into the center of His peace.  Here are four elements of God's rest that can revitalize us and bring fresh excitement into our walk with Him.

RELINQUISHMENT

Entering into God's rest involves, first of all, my relinquishment of my own agenda. 

Agendas are not intrinsically wrong.  God has an agenda.  The Bible is His revelation of His agenda, from the first chapter of Genesis to the last chapter of Revelation.  His agenda is all about goodness and grace. 

My agenda rarely takes into account those two attributes, so it's often at cross- purposes with His.  My agenda centers around my needs and desires--my list of priorities--my "To Do" list.  That's why living according to my own rudderless agenda leaves me restless and frustrated.

To find true rest, I must put my agenda into His loving hands.  When He's finished the purification process, my agenda will be ready to be incorporated into into His perfect one. 

This relinquishment involves the same kind of active decision as the one I made when I gave myself to Him in the first place.  This day I deliberately choose to let go of my own understanding and commit my agenda to Him. 

EXPECTANCY

After I relinquish my agenda to Him, I must wait with expectant attentiveness for His revelation of His agenda for me.  I must listen for His voice.

The attentiveness must be deliberate, and I must be patient in the listening.  No quick prayer for guidance in the morning before I head off into a day's frenzied activity.  I must give him permission to tune my heart and mind to his, and then wait for Him to speak.  I can go as I wait, but if my going is not marked by rest, it's a sign that I'm not being truly attentive.

The attentiveness must also be expectant.  I must be convinced that God will speak.  I must lean into His voice.  

He may not speak immediately.  He sometimes has to wait until He has my full attention.  There are no shortcuts to hearing from God.  But when I do hear, the word I receive is well worth waiting for.  Waiting in expectation that He will speak is a joyful activity that leads me into true rest.

SATISFACTION

Only after I relinquish my agenda and take the time to listen to Him will I begin to discover that He, and only He, can satisfy my restless heart. 

The world is full of restless human beings who search frantically for satisfaction of their needs and desires in all the wrong places.  Their restless activity leads them away from God's rest down many different dead end roads--paths that ultimately result in addiction and despair.

Everything we need, and every good thing we desire, can only be found in the context of a deep, intimate relationship with God.  His agenda of goodness and grace leads to complete satisfaction, and nothing else will.

Realizing this, and relaxing into this reality, will lead us into a place of true rest.

TRUST

Trust in God is the foundation of true rest.  It's the bedrock attitude that will keep us at peace in the midst of the chaos that surrounds us in this crazy, frantically restless world. 

We who belong to Jesus can be completely at rest, all the time, because our lives are anchored in the eternal reality of the deep, unconditional love of a good, omnipotent God who is faithful and will never change.

In Proverbs 3:5 and 6, God admonishes us to embrace these four elements of true rest. 

To "trust in the Lord with all your heart" is the master key to finding rest. 

To relinquish our own agendas is to "lean not on your own understanding."

To recognize that He is the only one who completely satisfies is to "acknowledge Him in all your ways." 

And expectant attentiveness to his voice will allow Him to "direct your path."

Lord, teach us how to relax into You and so come to experience true rest.  Make us instruments through which You can lead broken people around us into Your rest as well.  We choose, this day, to make ourselves restfully available to you.  Accomplish Your good and gracious agenda through us, we pray.

P.S.  Here's a delightful example of what happens when we make ourselves restfully available to God.  An example of how He takes our agendas and incorporates them into His own.  It's an amateur video, which makes it all the more moving.  

4 comments:

Janet Sketchley said...

Ginny, what a nourishing post! And I love how you tied it into Proverbs 3:5-6, which seem to be my life verses (at least they're taking a lifetime to learn!)

Thank you for these words, and Amen to your prayer.

Ginny Jaques said...

Janet, I think God has given me that one as a new life verse as well, just recently. I'm entering a new stage of the journey, and in this life, that's so full of confusing voices, it anchors me.

Thanks for commenting!

Karla Akins said...

Well said. I have a sign in my office that says, "God works when I rest" to remind me to rest. I'm awful at resting. Great post.

Ginny Jaques said...

I love the sign, Karla. So it's saying that when I'm not resting, God doesn't (or can't) work? There's a lot of truth in that reading of it, methinks.