Girlfriends in God - Feb. 25, 2010

February 25, 2010 

The Beauty of Rest 

Mary Southerland

Today's Truth 
Matthew 11:28 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."

Friend To Friend 
For most of my adult life, I have wrongly equated being busy with being productive. I'm guilty as charged when it comes to living each day in overdrive. My Day Timer has, at times, been my Bible. The result has always, always been exhaustion, burnout and watered down living.  Everything looked great on the outside - but when I was alone with God, we both knew the façade I had so carefully erected was a spiritual monument to self-promotion and pride-filled goals. The house built upon the sand seemed like very familiar digs. And I was not alone.

We are all masters of rationalizing our way to approval. The problem is that the approval we gain comes from impotent and lifeless sources. I am convinced that if we are willing to surrender our lives to the tyranny of the urgent, the enemy will keep the urgent things in life coming - people who need you immediately, those who clamor for your attention above your family and personal relationship with God, the person who can talk to no one but you, and the list goes on. What ego strokes they offer!  And what futility. 

I have always loved music and began taking piano lessons at the age of five. I will never forget that first piano lesson with Mrs. McKenzie, a very sweet, elderly woman who played the piano beautifully. Her hair was slightly blue, her house smelled like lemon drops and she had clocks that chimed every fifteen minutes. I was so excited and ready to play the piano like my sister who played for our church worship services.  Betty was amazing and I was desperately hoping that same musical ability ran in our family.

"Let's get started," Mrs. McKenzie said.  I climbed up on the piano bench, waiting for her brilliant instruction to begin. She placed a bright, red piano book in front of me and invited me to open it to the first page. I was disappointed to see only little, black pictures.  Where was the music?  Where were the songs?  Mrs. McKenzie smiled as she patiently began to explain the musical symbols pictured in the book before me.  I soon grew restless. "What's wrong, Mary?" she asked. "I want to play the piano, please," I sweetly responded. With a knowing smile, she said, "We'll get to that." I was not happy.

On and on - for what seemed like hours - Mrs. McKenzie pointed to funny-shaped black symbols, named them and explained their meaning.  I was not impressed.  I just wanted to get my hands on that keyboard. Sensing my impatience, Mrs. McKenzie pointed to one of the symbols on the page before me and said, "Mary, this small, black box is called a 'rest' and is one of the most important symbols in music." I simply didn't care. It did nothing but sit on a page in useless and unproductive silence. I wanted music. "Do you know why rests are so important in music?" she persisted.  Obviously, I had no clue until she said something I remember to this day, "The music that comes after the rest is the most beautiful music of all."

At the time, I didn't understand the deeper meaning of those words, but life and time have illustrated their importance and their truth. The best part of life comes after we rest in Him. The most beautiful service follows time spent at His feet.  Rest is a powerful part of our life song. The rest in music prepares the listener for what comes next.  So does rest in life.       

Let's Pray 
Father, please forgive me for being too busy to spend time with You. Forgive me when I fail to see the hurting and wounded people who need my love and attention. Lord, I need to rest in You but am not very good at doing so. Teach me, Father, to rest in Your love and Your plan for my life. May the essence of my life be a song of praise to You that others will want to sing.

In Jesus' name, 

More From The Girlfriends 
I know what many of you are thinking. You do not have time to rest. However, the spiritual reality is that we need rest the most - when we have the least amount of time to rest. Maybe it is time to re-evaluate you priorities and goals. Are they part of God's plan for your life or does your life reflect the tyranny of the urgent?  Take a deep breath and choose to rest in Him. 

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Originally published Thursday, 25 February 2010.