Idleness or Rest?

 by Terri Gillespie

She watches over the affairs of her household, and does not eat the bread of idleness. Proverbs 31:27 TLV

What does idleness mean? Possible definitions include: avoiding work, lazy, without purpose or effect, or spending time doing nothing. There’s also an idle like a car’s engine, running slowly while disconnected from a load or out of gear. Hmmm. There’s something about that last definition. Disconnected…

For a long time, I thought rest was the same as being idle. And when I compared myself with the woman in Proverbs 31, I began to believe I was really idle. As a result, I was in a perpetual state of exhaustion. Over time I noticed that because of that fatigue, I began neglecting my highest priorities— my family, spending time with the Lord, friends, and church.

I’m thinking that the difference between idleness and rest has a lot to do with a lack of connection. Could idleness actually be the result of disconnecting from our God-given purpose? Then that would make rest the act of reconnecting to God, in order to recharge ourselves for the journey ahead.

Our Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, completed His work and rested on the seventh day. Why would an all-powerful God need to rest? Our answer lies in Genesis 2:1-3 (TLV): “Now at last the heavens and earth were successfully completed, with all that they contained. So on the seventh day, having finished his task, God ceased from this work he had been doing, and God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he ceased this work of creation.”

Our Father knows we are dust; we aren’t super beings (Psalm 103:14). Just so we are clear, rest is important for us.

How do we rest? Especially as Thanksgiving approaches—which is the second most stressful holiday of the year? Let’s take our cue from God.

God didn’t only make honoring the Sabbath a commandment (Exodus 20:8), but He appointed the Sabbath as a festival (Leviticus 23:3). Every week we get to commemorate and rest; celebrate and reconnect with loved ones and Him.

The British Statesman John Lubbock (1834-1913) once said, “Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

Is it possible to rest and connect in light of all the preparations during this holiday season? Yes. If we chose to.

Over the years, I have learned to watch my husband’s face and body language. If all my scurrying from pot to pan to table décor has him looking like a worn-out dishtowel, I must stop and reevaluate. What is important? That everything looks perfect? Or that our home is an environment of peace and joy and gratitude for all—guests and husbands and our children.

Sometimes the rest is where I reassess my priorities and let God give me direction and peace. If the weather permits, go outside, breathe. Or one of my favorite escape locales is the bathroom. Shut the door and breathe. Listen. See if God has been trying to tell us something, and we have been too busy to notice.

Whether it’s an hour or a few minutes, reconnecting with the Lord can make a difference when we feel overwhelmed with activity. Just as God chose a whole day out of seven for rest, we can also add purposeful moments to connect more deeply with God and family anytime.

Rest has purpose. Probably even more than we realize. May we watch over our rest, my friends.

This article has been brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the author: Award-winning author and beloved speaker, Terri Gillespie writes stories of faith and redemption to nurture souls. Her novels, devotionals, and blogs have drawn readers to hunger for a deeper relationship with their Heavenly Father, and His Son Jesus. She hopes to abide in rest for as long as it takes.

Making Eye Contact with God is a women’s devotional that will enable you to really see God in a new and fresh way. Using real life anecdotes, combined with Scripture, author Terri Gillespie reveals God’s heart for women everywhere, as she softly speaks of the ways in which women see Him.

Join the conversation: These are just a few ideas to help reconnect in our rest. I would love to hear what you do when things are chaotic—where do you go for rest?