by A.C. Williams
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my thoughts even when I’m far away. You see me when I travel and when I rest at home. You know everything I do. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. Psalm 139:1-4 NLT
Little babies make a lot of noise when they cry, and the angrier they get, the louder they scream.
I don’t know much about babies, but I’m at the age now where all my friends have them. So I’ve had a crash course. The other night I was trying to get my best friend’s exhausted 10-month-old to sleep. It was late, and the baby was so tired. But she was having none of it.
How dare I force sleep upon her! How could I betray her in such outrageous fashion? (This is how every 10-month-old speaks, by the way.)
This fourteen-pound squishy-child full of applesauce and drama can throw her head back and squall loud enough to rattle windows. Big wet tears pour out of her eyes. Her little toothless mouth twists all up, and she just howls like the world is ending.
There was nothing wrong with her. She just didn’t want to miss out. The child desperately needed sleep, but she fought it every step of the way. All I could do was hold her and rock her and reassure her that the world would look so much better if she’d just admit how tired she was and let go.
After all, I knew better than she did.
In response, of course, she flailed and punched me right in the face and sent my glasses flying across the living room.
And then, as I was laughing at her, I felt a very pointed tap on my spiritual shoulder, and I could practically hear the Lord whisper in my ear: Now you know how I feel with you.
I stopped laughing at the squirmy, wiggly, bawling child in my arms and nearly started crying myself. Because, as usual, God was absolutely right.
That very day was supposed to have been my Sabbath, but I’d worked through it. Like every other adulting adult, I have deadlines. I have people who are counting on me. So I sacrificed my rest in order to do my work, which is pretty much the opposite of what God desires (Exodus 20:8).
I fight against rest as fiercely as this little baby-child does. Maybe it’s my fear of missing out. Maybe it’s my fear of letting people down. Whatever it is that keeps me working when I ought to be resting, it’s connected to fear. And I’m fairly certain that I’m not supposed to be making decisions that way (2 Timothy 1:7).
God knows me better than I know myself. He knows everything about me. He knows what I think before I think it, what I say before I say it, and what I want before I want it (Psalm 139:1-4). That means He’s the one who knows what’s best for me. So when He tells me to rest, I should rest. Not throw a tantrum. Not howl and bawl about it and fight it, like an infant who wants what she wants even if it’s bad for her.
Know what I did the very next day? I slept in. I gave myself a day to rest, and I felt better about life. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
We all need rest. Sure, there are always exceptions, but if rest weren’t supposed to be part of following Jesus (Matthew 11:28), I don’t think He’d talk about it so often.
So maybe it’s time for us all to just take a nap. Can you make space for that today? I think I will. Looming deadlines or no, I’ve learned that God values obedience more than sacrifice.
This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA)
About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if she isn’t, her socks won’t match. An AWSA Golden Scrolls finalist and an editor at Uncommon Universes Press, she believes that God works miracles through stories. Learn more about her coaching services at www.amycwilliams.com and subscribe to her daily devotional emails at www.alwayspeachy.com. Amy is offering a special: the first seven days free, then $5/month. https://acwilliams.substack.com/arisedaily
Join the conversation. What do you plan for practicing rest on the Sabbath?