When It's Time to Rest With God

Most of us are going a thousand miles an hour in a thousand different directions. I am. For example, this week I’m working on at least 3 different teaching materials, resources for our website, a doctoral project, recruiting small group coaches, and doing a wedding. In the middle I attend meetings and then outside the Parkview doors do the family thing, which is awesome.

This is life.

This is great.

Especially when we feel like it’s what we’re made for.

But even when we’re doing what we’re made for and what gives us life back when we do it, we can get to the point where the tank runs low. This is an interesting spot.

The culture we live in says our value in life is based on our accomplishments.

You aren’t a slacker are you? Did your mamma raise a slacker?

But then we begin to think, deep down inside, that we need to do something about our life and pace or we aren’t going to survive.

When do we know that we’re really tired and need rest and retreat with God? Ruth Haley Barton, author and founder of the Transforming Center gives some great signs that we need to seriously find ways to rest.  She provided the concepts at a recent retreat – I give the descriptions that follow each one.

  1. Feeling too much “ought” or “should” – we get caught in feeling like everything is vitally important and we’re obligated to do something about it.
  2. Having unrealistic expectations – when we desire to try and climb every mountain when our boots have holes and we’ve never seen a mountain.
  3. Having difficulty receiving help from others – we don’t just THINK we are the only ones who can do what we do, we’re CONVINCED of it
  4. Having few or no boundaries in our life – we don’t say “no” often enough to the things that we feel we “ought” to do (see #1)
  5. Becoming ”performers” or “perfectionists” – when we become compulsive and intolerant about avoiding errors and become obsessive about the way we present ourselves (i.e. the show must go on!)
  6. Finding sadness or unresolved tensions in relationships – when we feel our most important relationships are killing us rather than giving us life (including our relationship with God!) We say "don't go there" when it comes to certain relationships.
  7. Becoming dependent on our own willfulness – acting as if we really are in control of the universe and if we don’t do something the planets will all crash into each other (metaphorically of course!)
  8. Becoming isolated – when we find that we’re hiding from the people we work with, interact with, even love and respect (Just me and Jesus, that's all I need...)
  9. Becoming overloaded with information – being constantly connected to information streams like the web, our smartphones, etc. without creating space. Reading tweets, blogs, and Facebook compulsively and without any regard to the flesh-and-bone life around us.

If you said, “Hey, that’s not a sign that you’re tired or being drained” then I hate to say this but someone has to:

You’re tired and drained.

Or you soon will be.

Unplug. Retreat with God.

Get alone. Be quiet. Focus on your breathing.

Pray: “God, I’m here. I’m tired. I’m listening”

And wait.

Throw away distractions. Turn off your phone. Turn off the TV. Ask your family to give you 30 minutes (or however much time works for your life) and just get quiet with God.

Let your mind focus on Him.

Be ready for some honest thoughts to come to light.

Write them down.

Plan to do it again tomorrow or in a week.

Soon you’ll begin to feel a bit more rested and ready to turn the sources of exhaustion around and do what it is that you love and ACTUALLY love it again. You may actually start to love God again, who knows.