During the weekend message Whitehouse Campus Pastor Shawn Bellner said that our stress may be an indication of where we trust God the least. Nowhere is that more evident, I believe, than in our refusal to rest. The statistics Shawn presented were pretty shocking! Americans take less vacation time than at any point over the last 40 yrs, and according to Glassdoor, 61% of employees work during vacation.
Those of us as old as I may remember a real concern some 50 years ago when we were told all the “time-saving inventions” were going to reduce our work week to 15-20 hours—what were we going to do with all our leisure time? Pretty funny, right? All that our modern conveniences have provided us with is the opportunity to work and/or be available 24/7. Addicted to stress, we cannot stop checking our phones, our emails, our social media pages for the next crisis, whether it has anything to do with us or not!
This is not now, nor was it ever, the will of our Father in heaven! He who spoke the universe into existence, set aside a day following his creations to rest and enjoy what he had made. But we refuse that opportunity, and if we drill down into why we just won’t rest, I believe the reasons make us uncomfortable.
Maybe one of the top reasons is, “If I don’t seem as frantically busy as everyone else, that might mean I am less valuable or less needed than they are.” Another might be, “Well if I don’t do it, no one will!” (One of my personal faves!) An addendum to that one is, “Well, they might do it, but it won’t be done the way I would do it.” (Which of course is the better, if not the absolute right way!) And another might be, “I’m going so fast, I don’t know what I could possibly let go of, even though I’m not sure what I’m doing with any of them!”
28 … “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and my burden is light.”
He asks us to trust him with the weight that we carry. He wants to walk beside us and share in our burdens. We matter to him because we are created individually as God’s children in his image.
We must not derive our personal value from what the world says about us, or about what we spend our time doing in obedience to God’s call on our lives. He asks us to be still, and know that he is God (Psalm 46:10). He tells us to give all our worries and cares to him—because he cares for us (1 Peter 5:7). Let us turn to him, be still, and trust him.
Remember, to be at your best, you need to rest!
Can you identify areas of your life in which you are not trusting God? How can you make time to be still and hand those areas over to the God of the universe?
Write down the three things that stress you the most. Spend some time thinking about what you can do about them. Write down the steps you can take to resolve them. Pray and ask God to help you create a plan and put it into action. Share with friends or family how you will implement your plan and ask them to help you. Trust that Jesus will share your burden and give you rest.
Heavenly Father, I know it is not your plan for me to be stressed out and anxious. You say I should be anxious for nothing, but some days, maybe most days, I am. Teach me to be still in your presence. Help me to feel your peace wash over me. Show me how to trust that you love me and you have my back. Let me rest in the confidence that you work all things together for the good of those who love you and are called according to your purpose, even though I cannot see how that could possibly ever happen. I choose to trust you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
This post was written by Lauri White. Lauri is one of the 25 people that God used to start CedarCreek in the Fall of 1995, and was on staff until 2013. Lauri loves Jesus, and loves helping people, especially women, live out of the truth about who we are in Christ. She and her husband Mike live in Oregon, but now spend winter months in Florida near daughter Kelda and her family.
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