Did you notice in Step 1 just how difficult it can be to be still, even for a short time? If so, don’t beat yourself up, and don’t give up. Being still, especially in our day and age, is a learned practice —a discipline. You’ll get there!
When we attempt to get off that treadmill of life we begin to realise why we feel so tired or discontent. We start to see all the things in our lives that we need to surrender to God. To set down and cease trying to carry burdens we were never supposed to carry in the first place.
Here’s a sobering thought: When we refuse to, or feel unable to rest, we are essentially telling God by our actions that we believe he cannot accomplish his work without our help.
Rest, Step 2
In your designated quiet place, make a list of the areas in your life that are in a state of unrest. We can better ask for restoration and wholeness when we can identify specifically the places that need healing. Then read it out loud to God.
We can learn a lot about spiritual growth, restoration, worship and devotion by reading the Psalms, in particular those written by David. He had a deep theological understanding of God’s nature and attributes that wasn’t merely head knowledge. David applied this understanding in his approach to God and his personal discipleship, and this caused him to grow spiritually.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139:23-24)
“Search me, O God, and know my heart!”
David knew that he could say these words to God, trusting God to search his mind and heart at the deepest levels, where even hidden and long buried thoughts or sins may be lurking.
Ancient Greek philosopher Socrates cautioned, “Man, know thyself,” presumably meaning that it is important to know your own character in order to be aware of your limitations.
However, it is impossible for us to completely know ourselves. While we can be very good at being self aware, our minds are very complex aren’t they? We never truly, completely know ourselves in the way God does. We are extremely adept at shoving things we don’t want to deal with down into the recesses of our minds. We can even lie to ourselves and convince ourselves everything is fine, and run on empty for weeks, months even years, until we burn out. Our lying hearts tell us: I’m not tired, I’m not sad, I don’t feel ill, I’m not angry. Have a look at what Jeremiah says about the heart:
“The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked. Who really knows how bad it is? But I, the Lord, search all hearts and examine secret motives.” (Jeremiah 17:9-10)
“And lead me in the way everlasting!”
Although he is all-knowing and all-seeing, our God is a God of love. He loves each of us as we are, but …..he also loves us too much to leave us that way!
We don’t have to be as articulate as David. It’s a heart attitude. It’s coming before God in humility, surrender, everything laid bare and expectant of restoration. God will meet you there.
I like the way The Message Bible translates this passage from the book of James :
“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper. Say a quiet yes to God and he’ll be there in no time. Quit dabbling in sin. Purify your inner life. Quit playing the field. Hit bottom, and cry your eyes out. The fun and games are over. Get serious, really serious. Get down on your knees before the Master; it’s the only way you’ll get on your feet.”(James 4:7-10)