STRESS or REST
It is the beginning of a new year and I am asking myself if I want 2015 to be a restful or a stressful year. No matter how hard I try, it seems like there is always some stress involved during the Christmas season that has just passed. Now I am in need of some of rest. As I contemplate about my choice between the options of stress or rest, I realize that the letters of the word “rest” are found within the word “stress.”
When I look more closely at the additional letters in “stress” compared to “rest,” I discover that “s” is the additional letter in both cases. Since “s” is added to a word to make it plural, it signifies more. Stress occurs when I add to many “ses” to the rest in my life. I find that I am likely to feel stressed out when I get too busy. If I squeeze too many things (too many “ses”) into my daily agenda I become stressed, while if I give my day to the Lord and allow Him to be in control of what I accomplish, I am more satisfied, more at rest, at the end of the day. By evening I may be tired but I will not be exhausted because I went in too many directions. I like rest better than stress!
By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing;
so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
It is interesting that the first time a form of the word “rest” is found in scripture, it is used to describe the action by God after He created the world. Was God tired? If I had been responsible for this kind of project, I would not only have been tired but I would have been stressed out! Since God in the Almighty God, He would not have been stressed or tired. However, He did set an example for me regarding the need for rest. In Exodus 20: 8-11, the fourth of the Ten Commandments tells me to not do any work on the seventh day, but to honor God by resting on this day just as God did after creating everything in six days. The Lord blessed this day, known as the Sabbath, and He made it holy. The word Sabbath originated from the Hebrew verb “sabat” which means to stop or cease. I need to follow God’s example and also obey the fourth commandment! Rest is important for me if I do not want to experience stress!
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding,
will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
As I think about the times when I allow stress to occur in my life, I realize it occurs when I become anxious or worried. Paul addresses this issue in Philippians 4. To put these verses into my own words, I hear Paul telling me not to get “stressed out” about my situations, but to pray about them and give them to the Lord. When I do that, God will give me peace and “rest.” God is able to remove the extra “ses” from my life when I allow Him to do it.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own.
Jesus talks about the issue of stress in Matthew 6. In verse 26, Jesus tells me to think about the birds and how they do not worry. I always visualize this mental picture of how humorous it would be to see a little bird pacing back and forth on a tree branch! In reality, the bird most likely rests on a limb and tweets a happy tune! Does not God want me to rest in His outstretched arms rather than running around and allowing stress to control my actions? I recently read an article online by Sandra Bontemps where she asks, “How many of you truly seize God’s moments? Just moments, one after another, day by day. Praising and delighting in Him with an open heart, spirit and mind for each step of the way. Or do you instead spend needless time worrying and planning step by step, so far ahead – rather than allowing God’s Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct your steps? How many of you take the time to rest in the Lord? Just leaning on Jesus – trusting in great faith with no doubts.”
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus is calling me to leave my stress behind and to come to Him for rest. Another statement by Sandra Bontemps that has impacted me says, “Rest in the Lord so He may rest upon you.” If my heart and mind are filled with stress, the Lord will not be able to find a place in my spirit where He can give me the rest He desires.” This really makes me think! Sandra also says, “To rest in God is His will for us. To be still in His presence and be confident in Him and His power are what He truly wants us to be.” The Holy Spirit desires for me to welcome His presence into my life. I sincerely desire to leave off the two extra “ses” from stress so I can experience His rest!
Truly my soul finds rest in God
My Reader, how are you feeling? Are you experiencing more rest or stress in your life today? Will you join me in proclaiming with David that your soul finds rest in God?