I’m a to-do list girl, through and through. From daily lists to weekly schedules, I love planning out my days and filling my hours up with appointments, errands, lunch dates, and everything in-between. I love the possibility that lies in a blank page of my planner, and I feel a little bit lost without having some sort of structure in my day.
With school officially back in session now (even if it may be virtual for many of us), I’m like a giddy kid again as I think about the rhythms and routines the fall season always seems to inspire in me. I want to fill my days with meaningful work and my weekends with time with friends. I want to plan every hour, so I always have something to do or a task to cross off of a list. I’m realizing, though, that this “do-er” mentality can’t be the mindset I operate out of 100% of the time. If I am to give my full self to all of the things God has entrusted me with, I will have to learn to rest.
What comes to mind when you think of rest? Do you get excited about reading a book for a whole day or spending time with your family, or are you a little more like me—unsure of what it means to be still because your mind is constantly racing with your next to-do?
I’ve learned lately that rest is as much of a discipline as it is a gift, but I will not enjoy the gift unless I discipline myself to do it. This year, I’ve started to cultivate the practice of a sabbath each week. It’s never perfect, and I sometimes find myself still thinking about all the things on my multiple to-do lists rather than resting, but what I’ve learned the most is that being still brings me back into the presence of God. It turns out this day of rest really does help me know that HE IS GOD, and I am not. (Psalm 46:10)
I’ve realized that my endless lists and a full calendar can too often be a way I strive to meet the demands and needs of others, instead of surrendering my days and plans to God. But when I’ve spent time just sitting in God’s presence, letting my fullness of joy come from being with him (Psalm 16:11), I have all the vision and direction I need for the days ahead. I don’t need to fill every hour or cross off every to-do; instead, I get to delight in the Lord and bring him glory in exactly what he has called me to do.
But a life that keeps in step with the Spirit simply can’t happen when I’m not filled up with God’s presence and peace. The world is not going to see Jesus in me unless I have actually spent time with him, and the sooner I make time with God my main goal every day, the more I will be walking according to his plans, and not my own. And the best news? Keeping in step with the Holy Spirit sets my life at a pace where I can delight and rest in the Lord, while I’m also doing all that he calls me to do every day. I can actually rest while I run.
So, here we are. It’s the start of a new month, and the start of a new season. Even if you’re still working from home or have taken on the job of homeschooling your kids full-time, there is no time like the present to sit in the presence of God. While you’re making plans for your fall, take your calendar and offer it to the Lord. Ask him how he wants you to fill your days and let him show you the pace with which you have been called to run in this season—maybe it’s slower than you’d like or maybe it feels like a bit more of a sprint than you’re used to. Whatever the pace, trust that when you’re walking with his Spirit, you will find rest along the way. He is always with us to renew our strength and, by grace, he will give us everything we need for the days ahead.
As your days, so shall your strength be. – Deuteronomy 33:25
Written by Kristen Schryver