I know that title must sound rather odd—especially coming from me. But I’m pretty sure I received one last week--an email from God, that is.
I know I’ve mentioned it to you on many occasions, but it bears repeating here that my work load has been heavy since mid-winter. I’ve been juggling project deadlines in between shuttling my dad to doctor visits and trying to do my share of household work—including a portion of what used to be “his” work.
It was Thursday around 2 o’clock. I had been writing all day—about seven hours at that point. That’s a pretty intense assignment. And it probably surpassed the wise max for one sitting. But all I knew was I had so much more to get done—it was a rare day without doctors or other interruptions (even the dinner was made already), so I had to capture those hours to move the paying work forward.
The only problem was I was slowing down from fatigue. No, more than that—I was weary to the bone. My head was throbbing. Unconsciously, I brought my hands up to massage my throbbing temples. I’m so tired, I moaned.
That’s when the email dinged. Now, I’m usually pretty disciplined about letting it ding all it wants and ignoring it until I’m done writing. But for some reason, when my right hand returned to the mouse, I clicked open Outlook and found the new email. It was a weekly devotional I receive from the Assemblies of God Women’s Ministries department—designed especially for Women @ Work. The headline read:
The Rest of Your Life
And the subhead read:
Coffee Breaks Are Not Optional
It might as well have been flashing neon. I read on:
Learning to work well is great, but working well is not sufficient to create a balanced life; we must also learn how to stop working. That’s called rest. … It was on God’s Top Ten List.
You know, I found myself thinking, I may not have too much trouble with some of the commands on that list: don’t murder—sure, no problem. Don’t steal—okay, what’s not mine doesn’t belong in my sticky fingers. Honor your parents—I’m working at that every day. Don’t take God’s name in vain—got it—I love that Name, and will work not to do or say anything that would discredit that Name. But Sabbath rest? I’m pretty-much too busy to get that one covered. Surely, God you didn’t mean for me to worry about that one.
As I read more of the devotional, I was reminded of the command from God that all of us rest—regularly and intentionally. And I found a bullet-list of warning signs that I’m not up to snuff on that particular command: mental fatigue (check); irritability (check); anxiety (check). Kinda like looking in the mirror.
So, I considered the emailed article, written by Ed Gungor, pretty much an email from God, sent from Ed’s keyboard. And I did a little homework on rest. I found a great challenge in the book of Hebrews.
So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:9-13 (ESV)
This passage attributes to God an invitation to His children to enter the gift of His rest. Rest is a privilege He offers—and a failure to accept this offer He considers an affront—a sin, every bit as appalling to Him as our failure to keep any of the other commands. Failure to rest is disobedience—plain and simple. It amounts to crossing the Word—and it will pierce me to the bone. God won’t let it slide.
But God …I began. Then I stopped. No “buts” allowed. I pushed back from the keyboard; shut off the monitor; and went to the family room to rest. Was it convenient? Nope. Was it in the schedule? Nope. Was it without cost? Nope. Was is necessary? You bet! Because I never want to be found on the wrong side of the Word—and when I give account to God one day, I want it to be a joyful moment, not a shameful one.
My prayer is that this challenge will be one you’ll take to heart, as well.
Blessings and prayers,
© 2010, Julie-Allyson Ieron. All rights reserved. For reprint permission, email: firstname.lastname@example.org