Rest is Beautiful

Our life took a twist in 2015 and we found ourselves (all 7 of us) living with my in-laws and wondering why God didn’t allow us to get into a rental home as soon as we liked. During some parts of the year we lived with them it was like God just allowed me to rest well and enjoy the beauty of nature. I began photographing things like my mother-in-law’s roses and I really dove into birding and photographing local birds.

I don’t have the same time now as I did that year to really delve into some of the things I did. I see those photos and it makes me think this: Rest is beautiful.

 

 

Embrace your times of ministry rest or just plain life rest and don’t worry and fret like I did about why God isn’t allowing the next step. He has it all designed well and for a purpose. 

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The Difference Between Resting & Quitting

The Difference Between Resting and Quitting

Quitting isn’t always for losers, it is usually the sign of a weary or worldly soldier of Christ. There is a definite difference between quitting and resting. One of the first things that comes to my mind when I think of this topic is a note that someone wrote to a pastor friend in the yearbook when he graduated with his Master’s degree. The last line of the note said, “Remember, sometimes you must rest a while, but just don’t quit.” Even years later I remember that one line. God has used it to help me, and I pray He will also use it to help you.

Let’s take a look at some Bible quitters:

  • Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world. (2 Timothy 4:10)
  • John Mark left his work at some point in his ministry and the apostle Paul was so frustrated that he was not willing to take him along with him again in Acts 15.
  • All of the disciples forsook Christ and fled when Christ was arrested. (Mark 14:50)

But before we judge too harshly, let’s admit that the thought has probably crossed our mind once or twice, or really maybe on some days once or twice an hour.

Quitting for the wrong reasons usually involves one or more of the following:

  1. Not allowing God’s Word to be the greatest influence in your life.
  2. Forsaking godly counsel.
  3. Walking away from a commitment or vow you made to the Lord.
  4. Listening to and believing lies Satan whispers to you about God and His work.
  5. A love for the things of the world, rather than heavenly things.
  6. Lust and covetousness.
  7. Disregarding the Holy Spirit’s convictions and God’s warning signs keeping you from quitting.
  8. An attitude of ungratefulness.
  9. Selfish motives.
  10. Following men rather than God.
  11. Accepting praise that belongs to God alone.
  12. Looking at people instead of the Heavenly Father.
  13. Unforgiveness and bitterness.
  14. Blocking your ears and heart from hearing Christ-centered preaching.
  15. Lowering your Biblical standards and substituting them with worldly practices.
  16. Replacing godly friends with friends that have lower standards and values.
  17. Discontentment with your current ministry and comparison with other ministries.
  18. Stiffening your neck and being disobedient.

Quitting does not usually happen over night without some warning signs. Almost all of us have seen someone slowly slip away. People, even those in ministry, do not normally jump off ship and run away to the Bahamas with a hot babe that isn’t their spouse in a day.

Satan and the flesh can work against you if you let it and before you know it you can be just a statistic or a vessel set on the shelf by God with no earthly use because you have laid down your sword and abandon the call of God on your life and quit.

The responsibility and accountability are up to us. We must see these warning signs creeping up in our lives and not allow the temptation to quit on God, our family, and our ministry become thoughts we dwell on.

So, if you’re weary and you’re tired and you realize that you just feel so overwhelmed because your ministry is not doing what you think it should when you think it should, then REST!

Resting for the right reasons usually involves:

  1. A temporary time of recharge.
  2. The Holy Spirit’s call and moving.
  3. Changes (small or large) to restore the relationships in your family.
  4. More time to be able to seek God’s perfect will for your life.
  5. Bible reading and searching for God’s answers.
  6. More prayer.
  7. Godly counsel and advice from trusted friends and mentors.
  8. Serving God without large amounts of responsibility.
  9. Quality time with your family.
  10. Listening to Christ-centered preaching and music.
  11. Vacation!!
  12. Purposeful planning for the future including ministry plans and other family-oriented plans.
  13. Unplugging from ministerial responsibility and pursuing hobbies and other things you enjoy.
  14. Reconnecting with other ministry friends and sharpening one another through good encouraging communication. (Call or visit them!)

God did all of His work in the work of Creation and guess what!? HE RESTED!! There is no shame in taking a break or even a nap! While we know that some people may need a longer period of rest than others, we should be understanding and encouraging to them during that time.

Go to God for your rest, it is one of the many benefits to being a Christian.

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30

Rest will do your body, soul, and spirit good! Just do it! It’s better than the alternative!

P.S. Later in scripture John Mark was counted worthy again by call for the work of the ministry. (2 Timothy 4:11) So, even if you have quit, you may not be able to be restored to the position you once had, but God can still use your life!

Confession #2: Some Days I Want to Quit

Our boys recently learned to ride their bikes without training wheels. Our oldest, Uno, who is 7, took off after only a few spills very successfully. Our second, Dos, who is 6 years old has excelled in many areas over his brilliant big brother recently. We were expecting Dos to leave Uno in the dust and take off with gusto. Boy, were we wrong!

Dos struggled with maintaining his balance, his wobbly arms had him going in circles and toppling into the pavement repeatedly. He cried and looked at his palms, I encouraged him to get back up and going. His face reflected fear and uncertainty but he would pick up the fallen bicycle and try again. He was obviously discouraged and I pictured God encouraging me in the same way.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

The Ministry Papa helping our son, Dos, learn to ride his bike without training wheels.

I went and helped him for 10 minutes as he fell and would look up at me with his sad eyes. I would pick up the bike for him and wait for him to straddle the seat and try again. I eventually went about my other business as he continued to try. Then, Dos was done, he was ready to quit and I let him. Enough was enough for that day. I knew he was not going to master his skills in a day so he wheeled his bike into the garage. I felt for him and knew the enjoyment he had while riding his bicycle with training wheels was in the past. He was growing up a bit that day. Two weeks later he is still struggling to be steady and fast and he still crashes often. I believe it is only a matter of time before he is sailing happily down the sidewalks of our neighborhood.

Sometimes I feel like my son, so weary from trying things and failing. Tired of falling and having to regroup and straddle the life God has called me to again… God knows my heart and knows I want to quit but He encourages me to get back up. Sometimes I really wish He would just let me lay there and get run over by a car, surely it wouldn’t hurt as bad as the failure and the hurts of this life.

The days I want to quit ministry are usually the times where our ministry is so busy that we have no time to sit down, spend quality time with our children, or even rest. It’s the times when people are down your throat about factors in ministry that are beyond your control or critical of the things I have invested time and heart in; the times I have neglected my family to finish the task. Some days, my weariness in well-doing and conflict make me want to pack a few bags, drive off in our mini-van, wave sayonara, and move to a life that does not involve so much heartache and frustration. I just don’t have the guts to really do it… Quitting is not really an option, it’s only a temptation.

The times I have quit in the past have really come back to bite me in the you know where… and God has quickly given me His chastisement. I hate to hurt, so back to God’s path I go, like the little plow donkey with its blinders on. Asking for forgiveness and choosing to repent. No more looking around into the world for what I need to fulfill the longings in my heart, I must choose to put my blinders on and look at His path for the life of our family.

So, I stay where God has called our family. I stay in the Lord’s work. And I stay for the sake of His testimony through my life.

We are thankful for the vacation weeks that we have, but honestly, sometimes with our busy church schedule, it just does not seem like enough. I get tired of pedaling and moving forward, and my bike crashes. Our church has a pretty busy schedule, busier than some, not as busy as others I realize… then again, I don’t know if it is the combination of having 4 young children, homeschooling, ministry responsibilities, and just life or my inability to be able to manage them all properly.

I admit, the emotional female creature that I am, my bike crashes a lot. But God always stands beside me and encourages me. He reminds me of Proverbs 24:16, “for a just man falleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.” I get up and get going because deep down I do not want to be a quitter. In my strength though, that is exactly what I am…

I think of how wonderful God’s grace is to give me enough love to help me, patience enough to stand the bike up for me, the strength to walk and run beside me in all that He has called us to do. The long-suffering to know that I will probably just fall down in a few moments, the love to dust me off and kiss my hurts. The kindness in His eyes when I look at Him crying and the gentle comfort He provides as He speaks to me through His Word.

The only thing that really keeps me from quitting is God.

Without the Holy Spirit speaking to me before I pack my bags and wave sayonara, I would have ditched this gig a long time ago. He is my reason for living, His beautiful and perfect Son gave me eternal life, I must not quit, I must go on, for His sake. He lives, so that I may have life more abundantly. He called me, I must remain faithful.

So, there you go… you now know that naturally I am a quitter, but God is my greatest cheerleader in this bicycle ride of life so that I can live and do His will. Although some days I want to quit, He is my reason for living and for staying.

Thank you Lord for never giving up on me!