“I’m sorry, but I’m not going to be able to talk to anyone else this evening,” I declared this week to my family, fully intending not to talk again that night, however; I was unable to honor my declaration. If you know me, then you know how hard it is for me to pass on a good conversation.
I was tired, just really tired that night and wanted nothing more than to go to bed. Some days are like that. We launch out of bed in the morning, full of enough energy to make it to the coffee pot, with high hopes that it will inject torque-like “fuel” into our bodies to get us through the day. Some of us run ragged most of the day. We take care of everyone else and then fall into bed later than we had intended, on a daily basis. We often wake up tired, only to begin the routine over again. I find it hard to feel like I’m really flourishing when I function this way.
When I finally make it to my bed at the end of the day, I’m reminded again of how dependent I am on this very simple task that I embrace every night. One night recently, as my head touched my pillow I couldn’t help but say, “Oh thank you Lord!” It felt so good! The sheets were clean and soft, my three pillows were placed “just right,” and I knew I was in for a good night’s rest. I felt a gentle word from above. “This is a gift.” And I knew it was. This little gift of sleep is a nightly reminder of my dependence on the Lord. It confirms my frailty and position before Him, my Creator. I sleep. He doesn’t. I need sleep in order to function or to even be tolerable to be around. Again, He doesn’t.
When a day of rest was given to the Israelites in the Old Testament, it was also given as a gift. They had been slaves in Egypt. They had worked their fingers tirelessly making bricks for a Pharaoh who continually demanded more and more work from them. Once free, this little gift of a day off and time to really rest was a way for the Lord to bless His people. They could take a moment to recognize their frailty and dependence on the Lord.
I think sometimes the “Pharaoh” in our lives that is demanding more and more of us, is actually “us”. We try to accomplish more than perhaps we should and we begin to feel like slaves to emails, texts, and even our Facebook and twitter accounts. We wear ourselves out with comparison and dissatisfaction and instead of resting in the Lord and enjoying Him, we fill our day with more and more of ourselves, and it’s tiring. Ever been there? I have and I know it’s not what God intended for us.
Some nights, as I’m tucking in my wiggly “I’m-not-tired-yet” little girls, I remind them that rest is a gift. I don’t think they’re “buying” it yet, but one day as they tuck in their little children (who I imagine are also jumping on their beds), I’m counting on the fact that they will remember what I always said to them and it will make them smile.
So let me encourage you to think about your week and times that you allow yourself to really rest. Are there any? This week as you fall into bed, thank the Lord for this gift He’s given us. Thank Him for another opportunity to recognize how different we are from Him and for yet another confirmation of our great need for Him. Then sleep peacefully; it is a gift after all!
The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14