Finding True Rest in a world that's too busy
If you feel like you're just too busy, what do you think might be driving it?
You might think that you have to do all the things you have in your plate, but what if you realised there were internal drivers making you too busy?
You may be driven by a desire for status, feelings of anxiety, a desire for approval, the expectations of others, or because you compare yourself to other people.
Take some time to sit down and identify the symptoms of being “too busy”
- Feeling tired a lot
- Not refreshed after a night's sleep
- Feeling behind on work despite working hard
- Feeling anxious the night before you go back to work after the weekend
Most of us don’t need a list to recognise our busyness. We feel busy at work, busy at home. Even our holidays can sometimes be so busy we say we need a holiday to recover from our holiday!
God made us to work
It is worth noting that there are good reasons to be busy. It is good to be productive, to be hard at work. In Proverbs the sluggard, the lazy person, is called “a disgrace” (Prov.10:5). However, this is not the problem for many of us. Rather we feel overwhelmed with work. We feel like we belong to a culture, a workplace system that demands a certain pace of work if we want to keep up. And it can at times feel like slavery – that there is no escape.
This may come as a surprise, but the Bible says that busyness is not just a time management issue but is linked to whether we have ‘soul rest’.
We become used to earning our “status” with other people, and comparing our performance with others. It is natural to bring this way of measuring ourselves to how we relate to God. We need to take to heart the fact that “salvation is not earned, it is a free Gift of God.” (Ephesians 2 :8-10)
The Bible talks about two very different ways of relating to God. One of these is through effort and trying to earn God’s favour. The other is understanding the gift or Grace of God in Jesus. We can know this in our heads but not have embraced it in our hearts and lives.
Let’s compare these two ways of relating to God……
1. Read Matthew 23:1-4 (NIV)
1 Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples: 2 “The teachers of the law and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3 So you must be careful to do everything they tell you. But do not do what they do, for they do not practice what they preach. 4 They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.
These verses describe a kind of busyness that is burdensome and meaningless, imposed on people by leaders that do not carry the same load.
2. Read Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV) -
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke* is easy and my burden is light.” (NIV)
Jesus offers us an alternative to the burden of seeking to please God through our works. He offers a yoke/burden that is actually light, the leadership of a God who is gentle and humble.
Putting it into practice…
In Matthew, Jesus is actually talking about spiritual rest. To an audience that felt burdened by a system that demanded they work hard to be right with God, Jesus offered a yoke which was different, one which promised rest for their souls. Now it can be rest for your soul too;.
There is a deep interconnectedness between spiritual and physical rest. Jesus understands that getting ourselves right with God spiritually will effect our physical busyness also.
Take some time to consider how the knowledge that Jesus provides you with rest changes your relationship with people at work:
Consider how this freedom changes :
- Your relationship with your boss or supervisor
- Your relationship with people who report to you at work
- Your relationship with your colleagues, those who are good to work with
- Your relationship Colleagues you find more challenging to deal with
- Your rhythms of work, such as your desk at home versus your desk in the office.
- Your rhythms of taking breaks from work for lunch, errands, or just a walk
- Your rhythms of starting and finishing work for the day
The more we can embrace the truth that God is in control and that he cares for us, and that we don’t have to earn his approval, the more we will be able to “rest” . In fact we will find this liberating and restorative.
*A yoke is a wooden crosspiece that is fastened over the necks of two animals and attached to the plough or cart that they are to pull.
Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash