The past few weeks have been full of madness and stress and deadlines and severe lack of sleep. And, as I look ahead at my calendar, it’s just going to get worse in the coming weeks. There’s a looming deadline ahead of me and, even though I know I’m going to make it and it’s going to be okay in the end, I can’t help but tense up as I think about it.
I don’t know about you, but when I’m stressed, I tend to take over control, or at least try to. When things are hard, I don’t rely more on the Lord–I actually rely on him less. In the moments when I, arguably, need him the most, I tend to push him away, wanting to rely on my own strength and will instead. And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing as of late.
I realize that this is truly insane. The thought that I can do things better without God is absurd. He is the Lord of the universe and he made me and everything around me. God knows my future from my past and is in complete control of everything. And yet, in times of stress, I don’t want to trust, I want control.
Last week, I finally hit my edge. I realized that everything that I was doing and managing was far beyond my control. While I can do a lot, I couldn’t handle it all. I wasn’t strong enough to hold it all together. And, if I kept going at the rate I was, I knew that I would hurt myself and others in the process.
So I stopped.
I stepped away for a day and gave myself permission just to be.
This is a tremendously difficult thing for me to do. I have this internal voice that judges me when I have to slow down or stop or take a break. This critical voice shames me for being human. This terrible voice screams at me when I’m trying to rest, saying that I should be productive instead. I look at others and think they can handle it better than me or that they’re judging me for taking care of myself.
A Sweet Reminder to Rest
I find myself returning to Psalm 23 again and again. This is one of those chapters that is known by many and quoted often but is often overlooked. It’s amazing how familiarity can make us gloss over important and life-changing truths.
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord
forever.” Psalm 23: 1-6 (ESV)
This whole chapter is written from a posture of rest. God makes us lie down in green pastures where he refreshes and restores us. We can trust where he’s leading and because he’s with us we can reject anxiety in favor of following well and entering into the comfort that he offers. We can recline and dine with him, unfazed by the madness around us because his goodness is overwhelming. When we are with him, when we know who we are and whose we are, we can choose to rest.
The truth is that when I find myself in a state of frantic workaholism, it’s because I have lost sight of who he is and who I am. When I forget his goodness and love for me, then I revert to finding my identity and worth in what I do instead of who I am. But he lovingly draws me back to himself, his goodness and his grace. I am grateful that I can rest well knowing that he is God and I am not, which is a very good thing, indeed.
How can you be intentional to work from a place of rest today?
Sarah is an entrepreneur and published author, currently living in Dallas, Texas. Her dreams include founding businesses, giving strategically, and sharing art with the world. And her life motto is: Every number has a name, every name has a story, and every story is worthy of being shared.
You can find more of her writing on her blog or connect with her on social media.