by Lori Stanley Roeleveld @LoriSRoeleveld
“Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.” Leviticus 23:3 ESV
I live in a house where many of the shelves are up high. The rest of my family is tall. They put things away in places that don’t seem that high to them, but I feel like I’m always reaching. It’s tiring to always be reaching.
I feel like that in life, too.
Such pressure we put on ourselves, right? Have we taught our children enough? Have we loved our spouses enough? Is our house clean enough? Have we worked hard enough? Exercised enough? Eaten enough of the right foods? Been vigilant enough with our teens? Spent enough time with our parents and friends? Reached out enough to neighbors? Become informed enough? Healthy enough? Enough like Jesus?
It gets worse on our day of worship.
If my body bore a stamp for every sermon I heard, I would be covered with things like this. Pray more. Read the Bible more. Witness more. Submit more. Worship More. Give more. Reach out more. Reach out further away. Teach your kids. Teach others. Love your husband. Love your neighbor. Love your enemy. Love the person in the next pew. Serve more. Resist Satan more. Be more active at church. Be more active in the community. Be more active in the world. Trust more. Have more faith. Confess more. Forgive more. Be more joyful. Be more repentant. Study more. Share more. See more. Be more. Reaching always reaching.
This idea that we are never enough—that we must constantly do more, give more, be more – doesn’t come from God. Often, it comes from living in a consumerist society where MORE is the message of the media and the motto of every day. It also comes from within our own sinful, fearful hearts that place us at the center of our worlds and somehow believe that everything and everyone depends on us.
It also comes from others who have, themselves, fallen prey to this haunting drumbeat rhythm of “never enough, do more, do more, never enough, do more, do more.” When we do it to ourselves, we are likely to pass it on like a virus. And it comes from the evil one who wants to undermine the work of God within us.
God saw fit to insist that we labor only six days a week and spend one day “resting from our labors”. I believe it was His way of saying, “Enough. You’ve done enough for one week. You’re only human and it doesn’t all depend on you. Spend a day remembering who I am.”
We are to work and to do what the Lord puts before us six days a week, but I don’t believe He means for us to strive or fret or labor under the constant accusation that we are never enough. And, weekly, we are to rest from our labors – not just physically, but mentally as well. We are to worship, to rest, to laugh, and to enjoy the fruits of our labors. We are to say to God, to those around us, and into the mirror – “You’ve done enough. You are enough. Rest in love.”
If you’re tired of always reaching, remember it was God who reached out for us. Jesus is the arm of the Lord who is revealed to us and who knew our reach would be too short, so He reached down to bridge the gap.
Rest in those arms this week. Rest and know that He is enough.
About the author: Lori Stanley Roeleveld is an author, speaker, and disturber of hobbits who enjoys making comfortable Christians late for dinner. She’s authored four encouraging, unsettling books. She speaks her mind at www.loriroeleveld.com.
Lori’s latest release is The Art of Hard Conversations: Biblical Tools for the Tough Talks that Matter. The dialogues everyday Christians delay are often the very channels God wants to use to deepen relationships and transform lives. Through funny, vulnerable personal stories and sound biblical teaching, the principles here are guaranteed to increase the confidence and competence of Christians in discussing sensitive topics of every kind.
Join the conversation: What things can you put into place that will ensure you take time for rest?