Taking 19 credit hours in college has got to be the biggest mistake I have ever made in my life.
This is the first semester of my junior year, and honestly I don’t really know how I am going to make it. Between stressing about homework and making good grades, trying to be a good mentor to younger classmen, to finding time for my friends–I have felt more exhausted this year than any other time in my life. The whole time I’m reminding myself of what my Spiritual Formation professor told us first semester, “Sleep is spiritual.”
Sometimes I think as Christians we can overload ourselves with more than we can handle. We will keep saying yes until we have so many commitments, we become overwhelmed with even the thought of it all. We become Marthas (Luke 10) and we exclaim to God that we can’t possibly juggle everything. We forget that sleep is indeed spiritual. We have to have rest.
- Our Father, you know–The Great Almighty required rest. Sometimes I get so worked up and stress myself out trying to do everything and be everything that I forget that God himself rested.
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. –Genesis 2:2-3
After creating man, animals, and all of creation, God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, he rested from his work. Not only did he feel the need to rest, but he declared it holy.
2. Jesus needed rest. Jesus, our Savior and God in the flesh, also needed rest.
But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed. — Luke 5:16
Jesus was constantly surrounded by people, pulling and tugging at him to heal them. He was always teaching and preaching, casting out demons, and performing miracles. However, even amidst the ushering in of God’s kingdom, Jesus needed to retreat from all his followers and be with the Father. If the Son of God need rest, then how much do we need it?
Now, don’t get me wrong. This whole idea doesn’t excuse complacency. God has called each of us to live the bold life of his mission, and the things we do in alignment with that mission are good. Trying hard to get good grades is a good thing. Mentoring is a good thing. Helping out with kids, a food pantry, or any kind of service project is a great thing. The problem isn’t in the things we do. It’s a heart problem in the way of how and why we do them. We cannot truly live the life that God has called us if we are not resting in his presence. Anything that is taking away time resting in God’s presence is not something good, and it should be fixed.
Maybe you are a mom overwhelmed with a beautiful growing toddler, or an overworked father trying to pay the bills, or maybe you are like me, a stressed college student trying to make it one day to the next (and not get bad grades)– whatever the case, I ask you, Are you resting in God’s presence?
If the answer is no, or even an I don’t know, I urge you to follow our God’s example and take time to step away from your work, draw away from the crowds, and sit at the throne and truly find rest in the presence of God.
Come to Me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. — Matthew 11:28-30