Unlike the things around us, rest is not humanity’s default state. We don’t fall back into rest after we’ve accomplished something. Instead, we move to the next thing that distracts us.
By rest, I don’t mean kicking up our legs while we watch football. I mean time spent focused on God’s Kingdom and not our own. I mean when we give up on the busyness of this world to recharge. In that way, it’s essentially a fast—giving up our stuff for a time to take up God’s stuff.
Rest doesn’t just happen. You don’t accidentally fall into your room, turn off your phone, and just listen to God. If you take that approach, you’ll never experience true rest. You’ll spend a few moments praising God—and then you’ll be thinking about what update you’re missing or what you need to do later.
But you need rest. When we rest, we let God show us exactly where He needs to work. We let God speak to the hurts we’ve been trying to ignore in our an update-a-picosecond culture.
Getting into the rest mentality is tough, but here’s how you can make it happen:
- Schedule times of rest. If you don’t put it on your calendar, you won’t do it. Something else will bump it off. Tell people you’re busy, and let only real emergencies intrude. Make these times ongoing and regular if possible.
- Prepare yourself. Before you go into a time of rest, leave a buffer. If you enter into a prayer time or Bible study right after you’ve just checked your Mint.com balances, you’re going to be thinking about that. Take a walk or spend some time clearing your mind before you go in.
- Go in with a plan. Unfocused quiet time can often lead to meandering thoughts. I suggest making a list of things to pray about or read.
- Watch yourself. Thanks to the Internet, your brain has been conditioned to multitask. You’ve got to make it a point to bring your mind back to what you’re doing in the present. That’s why a plan can be helpful.
- Leave time to listen. It’s not all about talking. Sometimes you just need to wait and see if God speaks. No, I don’t mean audibly, but I do mean pointing something out to you.
- Do something about it. If God does show you an area to work on, take notes.
Rest isn’t optional. God calls us to do it for our own good.