Ecclesiastes 4:6 Better is a handful of quietness than two hands full of toil and a striving after wind.
I was out working in my yard and it was time! Time to tackle the bougainvillea!! You know, that wonderful vine type plant that does not need all that much water and can be trimmed about any way you would like and has those brilliant, vibrant, and almost neon type colors of purple, pink, orange, red, and even blue accented by their dark green leaves. They are a lovely addition to any garden, a wonderful plant, all except for one little detail that gets over looked because of their beauty. They have vicious and unyielding sharp thorns! These barbs of torture, these spikes of torment, seem to pierce through the toughest of gloves, tear through most articles of clothing, stab miraculously through any hat, and even penetrate the soles of most gardening shoes! I had waited and put off this punishing event as long as could and donning long sleeves, thick gloves, and good hat, I dove in. It was the nightmare I had imagined. Though taking it slow and careful, I still got stabbed, poked, speared, gored, and gouged…right through my shoe, my hat, and my shorts. It was bad. It was also hot and sweat stung my scrapes and puncture wounds. But I had to keep going. I had to finish. The bougainvillea fought back having twisted itself around to make it nearly impossible to cut through the mangled mess. The heat was getting to me. I was parched. I even felt a bit dizzy. I was exhausted and needed to take a break, get a refreshing drink, retreat a bit from the battle and see what new plan of attack I should take. So I slumped down in a chair and the cool water, along with moment of inactivity, replenished my sore hands and arms from snipping, holding up, and maneuvering the gas-powered trimmer, pulling out those stubborn vines.
As I sat there resting my weary, scrapped up body, something happened. I did not notice it at first, but slowly it came over me as stopped my efforts and just rested. As I took time to look over my wounds, I noticed the carnage of the bougainvillea and that I was nearly done. I caught my breath and felt like I could endure the heat and thorns for another assault. I did…and with a few more times of rest, I pushed back that bougainvillea beast and cleaned up the mess. See, rest was key. I could not have completed the task without it. Rest is good. Rest is needed. Actually, God created us to make time and take time to rest.
Exodus 34:21 Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.
Now yes, we are not to rest all the time or work all the time, but in all times we are to find time to lean into rest and take full advantage of its blessing and benefits.
Jesus and His disciples were teaching, encouraging, healing and helping people, and it was exhausting. Yet, they took time to rest.
Mark 6:30-32 The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves.
Time of rest has many benefits. One online article revealed rest and sleep can improve our immune system, improve memory, restore energy, stimulate creativity, help weight management, process stress, slow the aging process, and can even make us feel happier. God designed us to rest. It’s a good thing to take time and make time to lean into rest.
Rest is tough when we are troubled and dealing with the struggles of life. The Bible encourages us to pull away and let God know.
1 Peter 5:7 casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.
As well Jesus says to us:
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke (way of life) upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
To soak in Jesus’ way of life and let the refreshing truth of His love, care, and help revive us, we need to lean into rest. Will you?
I don’t know what your bougainvillea beast is in life; a tough job, a house full of kids or big family, past hurts or deep emotions you are dealing with, too many projects undone, loads of expectations from others, a ‘perfect storm’ of troubles, or maybe just life right now. Maybe it’s time to lean into some rest. I encourage you to take Jesus with you and ask Him to revive and revitalize you. You might be surprised at what happens.
Isaiah 40:30-31 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait (rest in Him) for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
Church can be a great place to lean into rest. If you don’t already have a church you regularly attend, we would like to invite you to Cypress Church or any of our branch churches. We are in the midst of a Bible teaching series called “Leaning in – Experiencing God in everyday life”. Our website has more information: http://www.cypresschurch.net. It would be great to rest in the Lord with you!
Leaning into rest along with you,