But what does it mean to live from a place of rest?
I used to think that it meant setting aside a day per week to ‘rest’. Not work. Like a Sabbath. God modelled this when He created the world. He ‘worked’ on six days and on the seventh day, He rested. This is a brilliant idea and one that God modelled for us. Our family has personally found it hard to carve out that day of solitude in amidst a busy lifestyle.
God didn’t work flat out and then stop to rest. He paced Himself. Yes. He still stopped and rested but He didn’t become frantic and frazzled.
When the kids were small and I was busy all week with them, hubby would look after them of a Thursday evening and that was my time ‘off’. I would set it aside and go out shopping. I loved having something to look forward to but I gradually came to realise that it didn’t ‘fill’ me up. In fact, it seemed to drain me more – the loud music, the bright lights, surrounded by heaps of people, busy shops, racing around trying to get a lot of things done. I needed to use that time instead to ‘chill’, to be at peace with myself and my surroundings, to be filled up by spending time with God and nature.
Living from a place of rest is completely different to setting aside a certain period of ‘time’. When you realise that the opposite of ‘rest’ can also be ‘striving’ then it changes the equation.
Being at ‘peace’ with God and inviting Him into every aspect of our life by turning our hearts frequently to Him through the day to listen and converse together seems a lot more effective. Our internal rest/peace grows and we live out of that. Thus, when we encounter external ‘noise’, disagreements, frustrations, we are quick to retreat to that place of peace and rest and operate out of that area. I find that I tend to let more things go. Those ‘things’ that used to annoy me no longer have the same grip over me.
Does it really matter?
I find that I often ask myself that question as I live from that place of rest. This allows me to then brush stuff off and not let it become a ‘big’ deal in my life or to not spend time and emotional energy on something that isn’t really worth it.
Perhaps the most well know person who managed to operate out of a lifestyle of rest is Brother Lawrence. He writes in “The Practice of the Presence of God” – “by dwelling in the presence of God, he has established such a sweet communion with the Lord that his spirit abides, without much effort, in the restful peace of God. In this centre of rest, he is filled with a faith that equips him to handle anything that comes into his life.”
To cultivate a lifestyle of rest, here are some pointers.
- Be still. Psalm 46:10 talks about being still and internally at rest as that is when we truly know God. It is not reliant on our external world being quiet. Delight in a period of solitude and quietness with God on a daily basis.
- Live a lifestyle with margin. Allow extra time, energy, thought space, finances, & room in our life for friendships etc so that nothing creates alarm or tension. People often ask me complex questions especially about God or healing and my reply is that I just accept what God does and says as I don’t have the emotional energy to ‘waste’ time exploring that issue in a complex way or to give it a space in my life. If we are driving somewhere, we allow ourselves a few minutes extra for any interruptions. In preparing for times of ministry eg Healing Rooms, we arise earlier and give ourselves some extra time and space for preparation.
- Guard your peace. Fiercely guard your peace. This is my personal thermostat for when I realise that I have not been living from a place of rest. When I find anger arising within me, I realise that I have not been ‘resting’ with God as much. If a car driver cuts you off, do you get angry? What comes out of your mouth – blessing or cursing? When we need to leave at a certain time, giving the kids & hubby a 5 minute warning helps in our household. The same with talking about expectations. We find that this helps the family know what is expected and therefore we are able to operate out of peace more often.
- Spending time meditating on God – His goodness, His character, His attributes.
- Constant interaction with God about the small things in life, the daily grind, the emotions and feelings. Abide with God. Enjoy delighting and wondering with God in the small things.
- Increasing your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. Exploring new ways of communicating with Him and being open to Him.
- Find your ‘markers’ that let you know when you are not living out of a place of rest. When do you notice that you are striving? Are wanting to be heard or noticed or recognised?
We can really only truly release rest externally when we have cultivated rest internally. Jesus calmed the storm (Mark 4:39) with His internal world changing the external world. King Jehoshaphat discovered that as Israel rested, God fought and won for them (2 Chronicles 20). Verse 15 says “For the battle is not yours but God’s”. Wow – Imagine if we lived every day out of that premise.
Do you continually release rest and peace into your world?
What would others say about you?
Do you bring chaos with you?
How often are you contacting your prayer warriors to pray for ‘emergencies’?
What is one thing you can implement this week to begin to live a lifestyle of abiding with God and resting in His presence?
Prophetic Activations / Exercises to incorporate into your week:
The purpose of these exercises is to help us hear God’s voice in a clearer manner. They sharpen our senses to hear and recognise God’s voice and His way of communicating with us. This enables us to grow in our relationship with God and also to impart to others what God tells us for them. Feel free to use as many of these activations each week as you can. The more you practice, the sharper you become at hearing God’s voice. Enjoy! Remember that whenever you give another person a prophetic word or picture etc, please make sure that it is encouraging, edifying (strengthening) and comforting (1 Corinthians 14:3) and that it comes from a place of love.
1. Children / Families Activation: Intentionally create some down time this week to go for a walk as a family. As you walk, ask everyone to find where they see God on the walk and to bring back something that reminds them of that. Also ask everyone to find something on the walk that reflects what God is showing them about another family member. Stop and share it with that family member.
2. Group Activation: Have an extended soaking time (time of meditation) where everyone meditates on the goodness of God. Allow time at the end of that for people to share their experience and what they discovered about God and themselves.
3. Beginner Activation: Spend time this week intentionally creating space for resting and abiding with God. Ask Him to show you areas of your life that He would like you to change.
4. Intermediate Activation: Ask God to highlight an area of unrest or chaos in your world (personal or area of living). Ask God to show you what He wants to release and do there. Prophesy over that area and release peace.
5. Advanced Activation: Ask God to bring to your mind a current television news reader. Spend time with God crafting a prophetic word for that person. Make sure that it is encouraging and be aware of your language and make sure it is not full of christian words. Send it to the person care of the television station.