Week three in the city, and I am finally starting to get adjusted to living here. (They say it takes three weeks to create a habit). I had a blog post that I was working on for week 2 but – being in the midst of getting adjusted to how fast-paced everything is, how to get from place to place, and how to do everything in cramped spaces and with constant noise – I was pretty overwhelmed as I experienced hardcore culture shock, and my attempt at “week 2 blog” was mostly an overflow of how different everything is and how overwhelmed I felt. Thankfully, I decided to take a step back from writing and rest a little extra instead.
It has, indeed, been an overwhelming couple of weeks. Lots and lots to take in, and little time (and space) to process it all, learn, and rest. And so, God is teaching me a lot lately about….. (wait for it)……. Rest!
It wasn’t until recently that I realized that God’s command for us to rest is an actual command. (Like, it sits between “you shall have no other gods before me” and “you shall not murder”). So this is a great realization for me. I’m realizing that God commands me to rest and that it is good to obey this command. While we find our salvation and the fulfillment of the law in Jesus, these commands are from God and they are good. Rather than being a list of “important rules,” God has our best interest in mind in commanding His people to do and not do certain things. It is good not to steal, it is in our best interest not to commit adultery, it is loving of Him to tell us not to covet. He has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus, is sanctifying us for Himself through Jesus, and He’s given us His Spirit that we may be able to (and want to) obey His good commands.
God gives the command of rest – of keeping the Sabbath day – that we may remember and enjoy Him. If I don’t set aside the time to rest each day and each week, I will not be taking the time to remember that I am not God, to remember that the world is not in my hands but in His, and to enjoy my relationship with God (which is what is restored through Jesus!).
Right now, I am learning how to even do this. I’m identifying what “work” is in my life, and I’m learning to prioritize ceasing from these things in the midst of a world that keeps working (namely, in “the city that never sleeps”). It’s in these times of rest, that I’ll be able to remember that this mission that I’ve been sent on is God’s mission rather than mine (what a humbling truth!). It’s in these times of rest that I’ll realize that the world does indeed keep moving, and that I’m not the all-powerful One in control. I can rest and depend anew on the One who’s sovereign and who sent Jesus on my behalf that I may depend again upon Him alone. It’s in these times that I will enjoy my relationship with my Abba Father, and that I will be refreshed by the truth of His word, praising Jesus for who He is. This is a much better state to be in while living out the mission of God every day. Not just here in New York, but everywhere and for all of God’s people.
If you would like to listen or read more on this, I’ve found these especially helpful:
- Deuteronomy 5:12-15, Exodus 20:8-11, Psalm 127
- Finding Rest in a Restless World
I would love to talk more about this with anyone who would like to! I’m learning more about this a day at a time, as well as how to actually do it. I’d love to hear your thoughts and what you are learning.
I trust that the One who gives His beloved sleep will continue to teach each of us the way in which to work and how to rest and just enjoy/remember Him.