A few weeks ago I attended a conference called “Unleashed”. I had hesitated attending because God has been stressing to me that I needed to learn to rest, and another conference seemed like the last thing I needed.
You see, I’m one of those people who always had big dreams and there are so many things I want to do, but somehow I haven’t been able to understand how God will give me the strength to do what He wants me to do.
Recently, I went through a period in my life where I had stopped dreaming because I didn’t know how to trust God to help me build my dreams. I would jump head long off the cliff into my dream and then inevitably crash and burn because of lack of preparation. I finally decided it wasn’t safe to dream anymore because it hurt too much.
In 2011 God awakened me through a leadership conference and told me that He wanted me to start dreaming again. Some pretty exciting things began to happen. I wrote a book, the book I had been talking about writing for over 20 years. He placed a big desire in me to begin speaking out about my childhood abuse and subsequent struggle to overcome the pain and learn to trust Him as my Father.
As was my custom, I jumped into that dream without a real plan and didn’t understand that God would give me “The Plan” if I would stop long enough to ask and then listen for Him to give me the next step. Things started to seemingly fall apart and I was starting to wonder why God had given me this dream only to abandon me in the middle of it. It was at this point that He started to talk to me about “rest”. I thought, “I don’t have time to rest, I wasted too much time already!” Since I had learned to trust Him as my Father, who loves me and has plans for my good, I set out in search of what it means to “rest”. He began to send resources my way to teach me what He wanted me to know about rest.
He gave me new eyes to see things in the scripture that I had never noticed before. The story of Nehemiah, King Jehoshaphat, Queen Esther, Abraham, and Jesus were just a few that began to show me how God prepares us to live out His dream that He places in us. He also gave me a friend who told me about a book called “For God’s Sake, Rest” by James Anderson, which gave me invaluable information about what God calls rest.
Finally He led me to the “Unleashed” conference where He put all the pieces together and I finally got the message! Resting is not about taking a nap, goofing off, how many hobbies we have, or watching TV to shut our brains down. Resting is about trusting in God to the point that we no longer strive to make things happen the way we think they should. We trust Him enough to do the things He telling us to do and we do them trusting His timing. Hebrews 4 is a wonderful passage of scripture that gives us the description of what God considers “rest”.
Rest is the beginning of great things happening not what we do at the end! We rest and then God works through us to accomplish His purpose.
Do you know how to rest? When do you hear from God most clearly?