You have two hours of time that is unscheduled – what do you do? Clean the kitchen, read a book, take a nap, play the piano, go grocery shopping, take a nap, mop the floors, hike, watch TV, take a nap, declutter, exercise, cook, take a nap, eat, blog,…? Is there a “right” answer? Is there “one thing” you should be doing every moment of every day? Will God be mad at you if you don’t do “the right thing”?
Oh, I have been there:
“I can’t rest, I have too much to do.”
“I’d like to read a book, but I really should do laundry.”
“I feel like I need to get away for a few hours, but I should really stay home and help my husband take care of the kids.”
“I’m so tired, but I should bring a meal to that new mom.”
I obviously can’t tell you exactly what you should do with your time. However, three simple but powerful ideas help us wade through the choices bombarding us every moment:
- We must get proper rest to be able to serve others
- We must have a proper understanding of who God made us to be, uniquely, to help guide our decisions.
- If we have God’s Spirit living in us, we’re delighting in and walking with Him, and all our options are good, we can choose what we want because our wants are infused with His life.
There are times when we have energy and time to devote to those more mundane tasks of life. But there are also times when we need to rest, renew, and restore ourselves.
Ultimately it is Jesus who gives us rest: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) But I believe there are many ways He gives us rest: reading, writing, walking, time with friends, naps, sitting and staring out the window, listening to good music, etc… What is it is that refreshes you, that brings rest to your soul?
Who God Made Me
How do we know what refreshes and restores unless we allow time to explore what that is for each of us individually? Think about these questions:
- What do you find gives your brain a rest from your to-do list?
- What areas of service do you find energizing rather than draining?
- Where are you and what are you doing when you feel most connected to God?
These are important questions because God never intended for His people to be weary, exhausted, unhappy people. If you can’t answer these questions, I encourage you to start noticing those things that bring rest, energy and connection, and to find ways to do more of them.
Have you rested in the fact that, if you are a believer in Christ, you are a new creation with God’s spirit residing in you? “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Emphasis mine, Galatians 2:20) Yes, we can chose to go back and pick up the old man (click to see one of the funniest Beth Moore videos!), but the old man has no power over us as it did before we became children of God. We are good fruit trees.
If I choose wrong, I trust that God will show me that. I won’t be able to focus on the book I’m reading, I won’t be able to nap, I’ll be unsettled about this activity, etc.
A Thousand Ways to Glorify God
What do we do? The laundry needs to be done. The kids need care and attention. We need rest. So am I saying we should ignore those responsibilities? No, I’m suggesting that when we nourish ourselves with that which refreshes and restores, when we focus on those things that fill us up because of who we are, and when we follow God-given desires, we will have renewed energy to fulfill our responsibilities.
I believe that God’s grace allows us to choose, not restricting us to “one right choice” but offering a wide array of options. As Ann Voskamp says,
There are a thousand ways in a thousand seasons to make a life glorify God.
God has given us freedom in His grace. Let us walk (or nap) in His freedom joyfully.