How Contentment Leads to Rest

I love watching videos on YouTube. I binge on them during my free time and am very guilty of spending a lot of time on the site even when I should be doing other things. My experience is probably the same as most viewers. Last Saturday night, this video caught my eye:

If you haven’t seen it or know about Joshua Becker, I recommend that you watch it.

I was catching up one day with one of the leaders in our church and he was telling me about how he was learning about rest from one of the other pastors. Rest? Why do you need to spend time sharing about that? Well, it is because we live in a busy world and tend to equate rest with laziness or wasted time. However, we can read in Genesis how God declared a day for rest after all His work. He then commanded His people to honor the Sabbath. If God tells you to relax, put your feet up!

Back to the video: the idea in the video that really stuck to me was the first one covered. I had never understood rest that way. Joshua states that resting is a result of contentment. Ah, the state of life that changes enduring into thriving. You see, when you are content, you are done. No more nailing, no more searching, no more washing. The work is done and you can sit and enjoy it. If you aren’t happy with the result, you will either take a break or continue pushing through it.

Photo by Simon Migaj on Unsplash

Resting might seem impossible at times because our lives are full to the brim of commitments to our family, to our work, to our church, to our partner, to ourselves. We add so many items into our agenda believing that success equals busyness, when it truly comes from prioritizing what’s important. Busy work is not true work; it’s the excess detail that might add a trim to the background in your painting, but doesn’t make much actual difference.

I rest when I know that I am satisfied. Like I’ve said before, I enjoy shopping. I will search for that item until I find the one that fits me perfectly. The problem is that there are so many choices! I spend hours looking around, and jump from one thing to another. Is it worth it? No. I invest too much time on something that even though I enjoy, I’ve placed in a spot in my life higher than it deserves. Even if I find the shoes or the rug, hasn’t my time invested made the item more expensive than it truly is? It’s not that I need to be learning or cleaning something every moment, but I should be able to show something valuable for my time, because it is worth so much more.

Another thing: perfection is not a requirement for contentment. Ask yourself this question: I might one day find the perfect (enter your item here) but if I don’t, what is the consequence? Uneasiness? Why, oh why, does your uneasiness matter so much? Sadly for some of us, it doesn’t. The world keeps going round and others don’t lose sleep over you finding a good couch that may not be the perfect one. I think that it is okay to keep an eye out, but investing a considerable amount of time of your day won’t give you back a high return. We have many options to pick from. Take advantage of it, pick the best one, and let it go.

For this example, I perfectly understood Joshua. Once I am content with what I have been given and/or accomplished, I can rest. We continually search for the life that will allow us to rest, but isn’t it the life that we already have and keep trying to change “for the best?” What have those changes truly added to us? More work because there is more maintenance, more expenses, more time spent or more pleasure because it makes my life easier, more comfortable, and more joyous?

I don’t want more work. At the end of my work day, I want to come home and be with my husband and my baby. I don’t mind doing a bit of laundry and spending twenty minutes on whatever chore will keep the house clean. Those add to my life. Anything that makes me rush from work to the dinner table and out of the house and then show up late to bed shouldn’t be a life habit. There are seasons of life where we have those days, but the norm should be peace.

I know, it can sound idealistic, but why? Is it because it takes you a lot to clean your space? If so, remove the things in the space that suck your time. Is it because your family is extra busy? Streamline the activities or cancel a few of them. Is your schedule packed back to back with appointments? Consolidate those by including people into your activities or delegate to someone else. Clear what does not add value and share the burden with others. Yes, keep working hard, but identify what is going to take you to the next step and what won’t be missed.

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