As Christians, we are called to serve – to be doers of the Word. We push ourselves and work hard to live the calling that God has given us. Somewhere along the way, however, many of us have taught ourselves that it’s not okay to rest. But God never intended for us to be overworked. He longs to give us His rest. Because the truth is, resting in Him is just as important as working for Him.
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I decided to start seriously running about 8 weeks after my second daughter was born. I was anxious to get back into shape, and running seemed like a perfect solution. Since then, I have spent most of my training days indoors on a treadmill.
Finding the time to run outdoors with two children under the age of two can be extremely difficult. (I commend anyone who tries!) With that being said, I finally made it outdoors and ran a 12K race on a challenging course with lots of hills… and hills aren’t exactly easy to train for on a treadmill. Needless to say, my legs were a bit sore!
I pushed myself pretty hard during this race, and my body needed some time to recover. After months of regular training, I found it extremely difficult to take a few days off. My head knew that my body needed to rest from the race, but my heart was dying to get back on that treadmill.
When it comes to running, or any athletic sport for that matter, it is important to know your own body. There are times when it is okay to push your body to the limits, and then there are times when you need to back off and allow your body to heal. Pushing through the pain when your body needs a break will ultimately lead to injury.
In the end, it is far better to take a couple of days off and prevent injury, than to push through and injure yourself. In the case of my race, I knew that my body needed a few days off to recuperate. I needed to rest in order to train to the best of my ability.
In a culture that is in a constant state of striving and working, we sometimes need to remind ourselves that it’s okay to rest.
In life, we need to know our limits. God wouldn’t emphasize “resting” the way He does in His Word if it wasn’t important. He even took the time to rest on the seventh day after creating the world. It’s not that He needed the rest. (He is God, after all.) Yet from the very beginning, He set an example for us. If God took the time to rest, how much more should we be following His lead?
Jesus took the time to rest as well. He is seen throughout the Gospels spending time alone with His Father. Time and time again, He would withdraw from the crowds and pray. Praying not only provided Him quality time with God, but it also provided the strength He would need to carry out His ministry. God the Father was the only one who could offer the kind of strength that would be necessary for Christ to endure the cross.
Faced with the cross, Jesus knew to rely on God for both the rest and strength He needed to endure.
Runners find their motivation and inspiration from many different sources. During long-distance training, it’s important to find an inner strength to keep going and push through no matter what. As believers, however, our “inner strength” comes from God. When we rest in Him, He becomes the strength we need to endure.
I can say from experience that time alone with God is rejuvenating. While spending time with our heavenly Father, we find both the rest we need as well as the strength to endure the many trials that come our way.
We can rest in the fact that we serve an all-powerful Father who loves us deeply. And we can find our strength in knowing that He desires victory for our lives.
I love the fact that when things get difficult, I can rest in His arms.
As Christians, we are called to serve – to be doers of the Word. We push ourselves and work hard to live the calling that God has given us. But God never intended for us to be overworked. He longs to give us His rest.
Because the truth is, resting in Him is just as important as working for Him.
*Unless otherwise indicated, Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.
**Photo by Ben White at ChristianPics.co