But First, Rest

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But First, Rest

Schools out, it’s hot, you’ve worked hard all year. What’s next? The most glorious time of the year.
It’s the hot topic this time of year.
I seriously can’t go a day or two without someone asking me, “ Are you going anywhere this summer?”
I love vacations. You get to totally disconnect from responsibilities, reconnect to loved ones, and most importantly, rest.
Rest is such a lovely word. Just the thought of resting makes me drool a little on this keyboard, y’all. I dream about rest as I’m resting. Anyone with me?
Do you remember when you were a child and you used to fight naps? Hilarious.
When I was living in Italy, I once had a conversation with a Italian man who informed me that Americans were doing things all wrong. Despite his very thick accent, I managed to hear this: “Americans wake up early, rush through morning to get to work, don’t eat breakfast, work hard until lunch. Then they rush through lunch, get off work and pick up fast food, vegetate in front of the TV until they can’t keep their eyelids open any longer. And start the process all over again the next day. Their weekends are filled up trying to catch up on sleep and laundry. No one is rested. America is epidemically sleep-deprived and it’s become normal to function from that place of unrest.”
That marked me.
This unhealthy way of life is not normal in other places around the world. People move in a much slower pace and they seem to lead a much more balanced rest life. But the reality is that for most of us is we have very demanding lives and schedules.
Hence why vacations feel like heaven.
Dare I say that this whole process is backwards?
What if, dear sister, we don’t reward our hard work with rest but we determine to start from a place of rest?
As I was hanging out with friends the other day, a conversation started about how important it is to rest on the Sabbath. One of the girls said, “you’ve worked hard all week, it’s important to rest and get refueled. You deserve a little down time.”
But ladies, did you know that our weekly schedules actually start on Sunday? Technically, if we rest on Sunday, we are starting our week in rest, not ending it.
Well, why does it matter whether it’s starting or ending… we are still resting?
It’s about following God’s example to us.
All throughout the Bible, God has asked us to come to Him first and acknowledge Him before we do anything else. It’s the heart posture of going to Him before we move and make another step. It’s the mindset that we don’t want operate unless we know that we’ve heard and gotten confirmation from the Lord.
Think about our quiet times in the morning.
Most of us like to start our days off with thanksgiving, worship, and prayer. Why is that? It’s because we want to operate from a place of the fullness of God. We don’t want to start our full day on E with the Lord. Gosh, the mornings I wake up early to spend time just meditating on His faithfulness and goodness are the best moments of my day. I’ve never ever missed the lost sleep or regretted the decision.
In the same way, we need to operate from a place of rest.
Being rested is a sign of intimacy with the Lord. When we are rested mind, body, and Spirit, it’s because we are resting in His promises for our lives. We are able to slow down and trust that everything will work out.
How do we operate and function spirit, mind, and body from a place of rest when we are struggling to even eat all three meals?
We determine it in our hearts.
If we do not determined to live rested lives, it simply will not happen. The pace at which we are moving, the constant barrage of distractions that are flying at us all day long… they WILL drain and exhaust us if not handled the right way.
Rest isn’t always about getting enough sleep. It isn’t always about doing nothing. Rest can mean so many things to different people. 
For me, rest looks like cooking a meal with my husband, watching a movie, and spending the evening unpacking each other’s hearts and minds. No distractions, just pure quality time.
If I can’t get that, then rest looks like getting to spend a few hours reading a book that feeds my soul. Normally, something that helps me know Jesus more.
Sometimes rest looks like going through my clothes and making outfits for the week ahead. It’s kind of therapeutic to me.
Two questions I want to leave you with this week:
1. Have you determined in your heart to operate and move from a place of rest?
2. What is restful to you?
I pray that in this season you are able to rest a lot more and that God will help you get to a place of rest spirit, mind, and body.
The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name. Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me. You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the LORD forever.”
{Psalm‬ ‭23‬:‭1-6‬ MSG}
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