Summer break is halfway through and I don't feel all that rested. Do you?!? The schedule's let up and everyone's enjoyed a bit more leisure, but rest? I'm still looking fo that idyllic rest and relaxation I put my hope in back at the end of May.
That's because my mental picture of rest is one of sitting by the poolside sipping cherry limeade and reading, while my children swim and play harmoniously for hours nearby, but not too nearby. :) Rest: It's enjoyment, it's pleasure, it's feeling refreshed. It's knowing that everything is under control, and all is well.
And maybe it's because I keep thinking that relaxation comes after finishing my lists--like organizing closets, changing out seasonal clothes, cleaning out the garage, and finishing the kitchen remodel. I can't relax until it's all checked off and there is simply nothing more to do. Relaxation: It's being off the hook, it's being free, it's the work being finished.
But, perhaps my most misguided view of rest is that I often equate rest as having no worries, no stress, no frustrations, no failures, no redos, and no...work.
Let's face it: Work is not rest, and rest doesn't feel like work. But, everything in our daily lives --big and small-- requires work and usually feels like it too, sooner or later. The perpetual upkeep of home, of health, of relationships, of our spiritual growth...takes effort. And, all good things in home, health, relationship, and growth come as a result of paying your dues, putting in the time, and achieving your goals.
Except Grace. Grace--our salvation and forgiveness in Christ-- is like a carefree afternoon, poolside. We experience fullness in the enjoyment of God, himself, and refreshment from him. We trust in his sovereignty and rest in his care. We know all things are in his hands and all things work together for good.
And, Grace is having your to-do list completed. We are released from the burden of what we have left undone and what we have done poorly. Instead, we've been given the freedom of a job completed (and done well, on account of Christ!) Rest has been earned-- by the blood of Christ, and there is nothing left to do to complete the job he has faithfully completed himself.
You are free. You are loved. You are complete in Christ.
You have rest and you can rest.
Life is exhausting, I admit. But only when we are trying to get too much out of what we are working for. Physical rest pales in comparison to the rest bought for us through Christ's finished work. There's nothing left for us to squeeze life out of. So, kick up your feet if you want to, take the afternoon off; diligence and hard work is but a reflection of stewardship, not of worth and merit. Praise Jesus.
True rest is costly. And is completely free. Go ahead, and be at rest.