I get pretty consumed with doing things, sometimes. I can stare at my computer screen for hours trying to come up with something meaningful to share, only to end the night drained, overwhelmed, and frustrated. And then, I have those weeks where all of my many commitments pile up and I realize that I might have taken on too many. I look at my phone and I have 20+ unopened text messages, emails that I need to respond to, and Instagram DMs from way too long ago that I have yet to get back to. I keep adding commitments to my plate and I never schedule in time to rest.
Sadly, I think I can make a fifteen bullet point to do list each day and get it all done without needing time to refuel.
I know we all get that way sometimes. You don’t realize that it’s happening until you’re right in the middle of it and it seems like there’s absolutely no way out. Don’t get me wrong, it’s good to make plans, have goals, and see them accomplished but that’s all secondary.
Jesus, and the sweet rest we experience in his presence, should be our primary life pursuit.
That is our highest calling. It’s good to be consumed by purpose but it isn’t really purpose if we lose connection with the One who created us for fellowship with himself.
There’s a beautiful story in the Bible about two women: Mary and Martha. I feel that each woman represents a different side of all of us. Since Jesus was a guest in their home, it was expected that they would prepare a meal for him. However, Jesus showed up a little suddenly and they had no time to prepare. Naturally, Martha frantically begins putting together the best meal she could given the circumstance. But, it was challenging for her. She was working all by herself and Mary, her sister, didn’t seem to care to help.
Eventually, Martha had enough. She expresses to Jesus just how upset she is that her sister, Mary, sat around doing absolutely nothing while she worked overtime. Personally, I feel that way sometimes. I have so much to do and it seems like I have no help. It’s not like I can stop because the work I have to do is an obligation. Or, is it?
Jesus responds to Martha and no, he doesn’t say, “Martha, you’re right. Mary should be helping out.” Instead he says this:
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 41-42
I love that. Jesus tells Martha, Mary has chosen the good portion. The reality is, Martha’s work wasn’t really an obligation. Sure, it was good to do but it wasn’t necessary. Only one thing was necessary: to sit and soak up the moment because the Savior of the world was in her living room.
Sometimes, we miss Jesus because we’re too busy doing all the things, thinking we’re serving him when we’re really not.
It’s great to serve but the highest act of service to God is to simply be with him and find rest in his presence. Besides, how will you know where to go if you don’t receive direction from the one you claim to be serving?
When I get in that mode of working and doing to no end, I simply stop. I stop because nothing is more important than letting the love of God fill me up. Nothing is more important than sitting in the presence of God and letting his word be my strength. Nothing. No act of service, no business, no ministry, no pursuit.
If I’m going and going, I don’t have time to hear from God. That’s why I end up stuck and starving to find something good to share. If I’m empty, I can’t pour into anyone else.
If you’re struggling to prioritize rest, I’ll leave you with some tips you can start putting in place right away:
- No matter what tasks lie ahead of you, take time to be with Jesus first thing in the morning.
- Learn how to say “no” and don’t take on too many commitments
- Be flexible. Even if you have a lot on your plate, clear out some time to rest intentionally
- Release any anxiety you have to Jesus.
- Take breaks as you work.
- Remember, you take this journey one step at a time. Keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you’ll get there.
I hope this article helped you in some way. Feel free to reach out to me if you need prayer, advice, or simply someone to talk to.