We live in a modern society where resting is difficult. Some of us may have been taught to value hard work and that resting means your “lazy.” God definitely does not want us to be lazy but resting is not the same as laziness. I have often struggled with understanding the difference between resting and laziness. Similarly I have often found resting challenging. Doing something is sometimes much easier than resting.
When I was younger and a competitive gymnast I did not understand the concept of physically resting. I would physically push myself to exhaustion and cause injury. I learned that I am not some superhuman therefore my body needs rest. I later found out that my brain is also part of my physical body and my mind needs rest or it will too will become sick.
God tells us that our body is his temple and I have learned through the years that God desires me to prioritize keeping my mind and body healthy over success and hard work.
“Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 (NIV)
So how do we take care of our minds and bodies? Through my training as a doctor and my own battles with illness I have learned this is complex. But something that is universal among all people is the need to rest. As I realized this truth I then struggled with having a place to rest. In order to fully rest we need a safe place to do it.
As I looked for a safe place and could not find one I cried to God. He provided. For me I have come to understand I have 2 kinds of safe places. One is the safe place inside me that I can meet with God and rest. This is the best safe place because I can take it anywhere. It took a lot of counseling, medications, prayer and talking to God to get this safe place inside me cleaned out, fully furnished and livable. The second safe place is physical. I tried to make my church my safe place and found that it was not sufficient. I left the church and found a safe place at a hospital. God eventually blessed me with a husband that provides me a safe haven.
The church home or a spiritual family should be a safe place. Unfortunately this is not always the case. The church has often been a place of judgement not a safe place to rest within the body of Christ during a time of need.
For those who find themselves in need of rest, I pray God would show you how to rest in him and that he would provide you a physical safe place. For those who have a safe place already, I pray God will show you how to balance hardwork with resting. And to all, may God show us how to be a body of Christ that is a safe place rather than a place of judgement so everyone has a physical safe place to call home. Amen