Learning How to Rest (When You're Wired for Work)

Our little dog Bandit loves to chase his ball. In fact, I'd say he's obsessed with it. No matter how many other toys we give him, he will always choose that faded green rubber ball.

Bandit wants everyone to throw his ball, so he can fetch it. He will chase it over and over and over, until he physically wears himself out. His little body gets so wound up, it's like a battery that gets more charge with each throw.

You'd think he would know when to stop, but he doesn't. We finally have to say 'no more' so he will rest.

It reminds me of how I get sometimes.

Projects. Things to do. A full calendar. I like being busy.

So much so in fact, that I can't sit down to watch a favorite TV show if I look over and see a pile of clutter on the table. I have to get up and deal with the clutter right then.

Because in order to relax, I need to feel like I've gotten something accomplished first. The problem is that I've never stopped to define the word accomplished.

Focusing on the unfinished tasks around me drives me to an unhealthy state of frustration, that eventually ends in what I like to call 'flip-out' mode. I've become very adept at keeping the flipping out inside myself and not letting the frustration fly into the face of those around me, but keeping it inside isn't the best solution.

Because when I hold it in, I'm not dealing with the root of the issue.

In her book Doing Busy Better, Glynnis Whitwer writes about how God wanted to teach the Israelites how to rest by giving them the commandment regarding the Sabbath. In her book, she says,

"God wanted to heal their hearts and minds from generations of bondage, and that would only come through dependence on One who was completely trustworthy."

The Israelites had lived as slaves for generations in bondage. They needed to learn balance. They needed to learn how to rest.

I love Glynnis' words in the image above. "God modeled a simplicity of work that feels refreshing and focused." The Israelites had to unlearn years of behaving as slaves. And just like them, we may not know how to find the right balance of work and rest in our own lives.

That's why we need the wisdom of God's Word and His gentle hand to guide us.

I've enjoyed reading Glynnis' book Doing Busy Better this summer. Her teaching has inspired me to find balance, and to quit chasing that ball over and over until I wear myself out.

Even those of us who are wired for work can learn how to rest. 


If you'd like to read more about What the Bible Says about Being too Busy, click the title link here.


Looking for a summer reading that will help you grow closer to God and learn more about God's design for work and rest? Find out more about the Doing Busy Better book by clicking the image.

What the Bible Says About Being Too Busy

“It’ll be faster if I just do it myself.”

“I don’t want to bother anyone, so I’ll squeeze it into my schedule.”

“I don’t mind helping out.”

“I like being busy.”

Do any of these phrases sound familiar? I’ve caught several of the words above escaping my mouth lately. And with those words come the accompanying justification in my mind that says:

Productivity is a good thing. After all, “…every good tree bears good fruit.”

I want to be a good tree. I want to bear good fruit. So how do I know when being productive turns into being too busy? The Bible has a lot to say about this.

I always thought Martha was misunderstood. Jesus gently pointed out that Mary had chosen the right way. Mary resolved to spend time worshiping her Lord, but my practical nature can’t help but wonder. If Martha hadn’t been in the kitchen, what would everyone have eaten? Would it display Christ-like character to let your guests go hungry?

I can’t imagine inviting guests into my home and not having anything prepared for them to eat or drink. That’s the defining trait of the do-er. But sometimes, all that doing leaves little time for the most important thing.

Martha and I aren’t the only ones who needed this lesson.

“There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.’” Matthew 17:2-4 NIV

Peter was a do-er too. He didn’t like to sit around and wait for things to happen. As a result, he sometimes missed the moments of peace God desired to give.

I can identify with Peter’s actions in the passage above. I know I would’ve done the same thing. With the sinless Son of God standing before me, shining like the sun, I can see myself frantically scurrying about. Do you guys need anything? Here, let me make you a place to sit.

Lord, help me.

Thankfully, from God’s divine words that followed, we learn a valuable lesson for those times when we let ourselves get too busy. Let’s see how God responded to Peter’s gesture.

“While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, ‘This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!’” Matthew 17:5

God knew Peter’s heart, and He knew why Peter responded to this life-changing moment with an act of busyness disguised as an act of service.

Because do-ers like to feel needed, accepted, valued.

So God got Peter’s attention. He interrupted Peter while he spoke and commanded him to listen. From Peter’s experience that day, we can glean a simple yet important truth.

Being too busy can cause me to miss the moments of peace God desires to give. (Tweet this.)

Does God need to interrupt me and tell me to listen? Or will I be ready when the moment arrives?

Being busy is not always a bad thing. Being fruitful is good, but it’s possible to get too busy and miss the peace God has given us. For more on God’s peace, click here.

God already values us more than anything. We don’t need to earn it. So as we go about following schedules today, let’s listen for God’s voice. May His words speak volumes to our longing hearts.