What is the number one thing you would change in your life?
Before you read on, take a moment and think what that would be.
In counselling, we often set goals and objectives, issues that the clients want to address or need to be examined. At first, these can be rather unclear, and often what the real issues are, end up being a lot different than what the client came in to discuss.
I think that is true of most of us. We just are not inward focused. We focus on what we do, not who we are. What we want, not what we need. Even when we focus on what we need, it gets mixed up with what we want. Here is an example. I need a rest. I want to see my friends. I will rest from my work by seeing my friends. While this may be a break from work, it is not a rest. You would only switch from work persona to friend persona.
The idea of rest is not of much value in a culture that over-values performance. A pastor of a large church with hundreds of attendees is seen in a higher light than a pastor of a smaller church. We reward success but it is success defined by the world’s values such as prestige, ability to make money, and doing things that entertain.
These pursuits tend to take us away from who we are. Men and women who can kick a soccer ball are highly prized and highly rewarded. Why does a professional athlete make millions of dollars? It is because he makes millions more for his ‘owners’. Why do we look to them as role models in politics, morality, and beliefs? Is it because they are smarter, more insightful or have some special wisdom the rest of don’t have? No, we look to them for answers because we put them on pedestals. They become celebrities, and then we expect more of them then just their sports related performance. We don’t know who they are, only what they do. When they no longer are in their prime and don’t perform at the same level, we go on to the next star. And the cycle repeats.
But what happens when the cycle breaks? When we no longer have their performances to admire and the sports and entertainment world stop? Right now, we have no sports or movies. Our distractions are the constant recycling of news. Actors and celebrities still try to remain relevant by commenting on how they respond to this pandemic.
But we need to rest from all this. Do you know that God values rest so much that He rested on the seventh day of creation? This is a God that never tires or grows weary so what was He doing resting? It was to show us the importance of rest. One of the ten commandments, the fourth one, is to keep the sabbath holy. Six days we are to do our work and on the seventh day we are to rest. We are to take a break from basing ourselves on what we do and rest in who we are and more importantly, in who God is.
It may seem odd that in this time of house bound isolation that I write about rest. But even though we are house bound we are not resting. We are so used to noise and distraction that even from our own homes, we seek out entertainment and stimulation. There is a great opportunity here to rest and we are blowing it.
To rest means to go back to who you are. Many of us don’t even know who we are anymore. When we are introduced, it is our name and what we do.
Earlier I asked what is the number one thing you would change in your life. I am sure we all had different answers and desires. Some of us may even want more rest. As important as family time is, and it is absolutely crucial, we still need a sabbath’s rest.
A sabbath’s rest is one in which you connect with the Lord. You reflect upon who you are in relation to God. You don’t have a performance evaluation or a check list of petitions to present. It is a time for you to listen to what the creator of the universe is telling you. To hear him, you need to quieten your mind and soul. You need to rest.
Andy Becker is a retired counselor and author of The Travelers, a fictionalized account of spiritual warfare (available on Amazon) as is, Stupid Thyroid, a book he co-wrote with his wife, Stella. He and his wife, Stella, lead Lighthouse Ministries which offers love, hope, and encouragement to one of Canada’s poorest and roughest neighborhoods, North Central Regina. His book, The Travelers, is available at Amazon.com and Amazon.ca