Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Importance of Rest Along the Way

Our dog, Lucy loves to hike with us. However, she requires frequent stopping to drink. And she doesn't do well in extreme heat. 

Last weekend we took her hiking with us and she seemed to be doing fine...for the first 3 or 4 miles. But as the day wore on and it became more humid, Lucy's pulling stopped. She even dropped back behind me instead of running out in front. She was clearly tired. So we stopped. 

The problem was that we didn't really want to stop. For some reason, it really hit us this time. We were both very tired, our feet hurt, it was hot and we were starting to get hungry. We hadn't anticipated the almost 6 mile hike. As usual, we were a bit off on our calculations thinking it would be a 3-4 mile easy hike, and for once, didn't bring food. We didn't want to stop; we just wanted to get back. 

But it was important that we maintained our responsible dog owner status, so we stopped. It took Lucy awhile to calm down to the point where she would actually lie down. But you can see that she finally did. 

Rather than enjoy the time of rest ourselves, I think Brian and I both felt somewhat antsy. We just wanted to get back and go find a place to eat. So after about 5 minutes, we pressed on. But I noticed that Lucy was walking with her head down, and seemed to be struggling. We needed to take a serious break. We came upon a huge rock covered in shade. Perfect. And sweet Lucy plopped right down. She wasn't so much thirsty as she just needed to take a rest. And so did we. We just didn't realize the importance of taking a break.

We often do that in life, don't we? Whether it's our spiritual journey or just life in general, we tend to race through it, attempting to get to the next goal, or the next day or the next meeting. We don't take the time to rest. Oh, we rest. For five minutes. But we can't seem to shut our minds off. We can't shut our electronic devices off. We can't shut the world out. We jump back up before we're truly ready to continue, thinking we're refreshed, only to find ourselves trudging through the day, sluggish and struggling.

Sometimes we need to take some time off. To take a serious break. To find a nice big, shady, cool rock to rest on. And then, we can rest on the Rock. He tells us, Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads and I will give you rest (Matt 11:28). The Old Testament used a rock to identify with God to symbolize that the people could rely on Him for absolute protection and safety. My God is my rock in whom I take refuge; my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior (2 Sam 22:3). Sometimes, the greatest weapon against a spiritual, emotional or psychological attack is simply to rest.

As we all know, even God rested. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating he had done (Gen 2:3).  I love that..."all the work of creating he had done."

And we think we have a lot going on? 

Even God rests. And we're not even close to being like God. So we should rest. We should take a much needed break and rest on the cool, shady rock...our protection and safety. 

After we rested for awhile, Lucy was refreshed and so were we. We finished the hike with much more enjoyment than if we had pressed on without resting. If you rest, you will be refreshed. Simple, right? Remember that next time you're rushing through life. Rest. Refresh. Rejoice!

Blessings Along the Path,

PS---On the way home, we discovered a wonderful little eatery (with outdoor seating so Lucy could join us...where we all rested) in Hackettstown called Stella G's. I highly recommend it. Great and unique food. Not the usual sandwiches. Open for breakfast and lunch only I believe.

Songs of the Day
I Will Rest in You (Jaci Velasquez)
The Lord is My Rock (Elevation Worship)

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