A couple of weeks ago, I was attempting to read a book to get me thinking about scripture before reading my Bible. It is a phenomenal book; theologically accurate, convicting. In every measure, it was definitely something that was worth my time and that would help grow my faith.
Although the book was splendid, I was exhausted and was having an extremely hard time focusing on what I was reading. Suddenly, in that quiet yet commanding voice of God that I am so fond of, I heard a single sentence: “Go take a nap.”
I shook it off, and threw my own words back at God. “What do you mean I need to go take a nap? I’m sitting here, TRYING to spend time with You, yet you want me to go to sleep?” This question was answered fairly quickly. “Yes. Go take a nap.”
After a few more minutes of wrestling with God over what seemed like such a stupid subject, I finally closed the book, picked up my stuff, and went back to my dorm to sleep. I walked into my dorm room, and when my roommate turned around and seemed questioning of why I looked so grumpy, I stated, “The Lord has told me to come take a nap.”
“Oh,” she said. “Well, you better get on that.”
I woke up about 45 minutes later, and I felt AWESOME. Suddenly, everything in my brain started to make sense, and I felt silly that I had argued with God when he told me to go get some sleep.
You see, we are driven people. We are on the go, 24/7. We pack in as much activity as we possibly can and cut corners to maximize return in as many ways as possible. We are lacking rest and are too busy, and this pours over into our relationship with Christ.
When God told me to take a nap, I was squeezing in time with him among other things. I planned to read the theological book, read my Bible, maybe journal for a minute, and then go study for an hour. I was burnt out, and I wasn’t truly focused, yet I thought I was just organizing my time well. God saw that I needed a disruption in my schedule.
God is not a God of weariness but of rest. Granted, this doesn’t always mean his goal is our physical rest, but we so frequently forget how much our physical bodies influence our souls. He desires that we enter HIS rest, and sometimes, yes, that does mean that we must physically take time to rest.
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus calls people to himself, saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Are you running on nothing? Weary? Burdened? Come closer to Jesus; he is the ultimate source of rest, and you never know-he may just tell you to go take a nap.
When we base our life around following Jesus, we can’t do it when we ignore ourselves to the point of exhaustion. We must rest in order to be effective. So monitor your sleep and your energy, because when you do that, you can truly walk in the joy, focus, and enthusiasm Christ has given us as his hands and feet in this world.