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Topic: Rest (06/14/04)
TITLE: Unless you labour there is no rest
By Bronwyn Johnson
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I once asked a women at my son’s day care, “Are you a working mother?” She laughed and replied, “Is there any other kind?”
Today life is so different to the way it was just a few decades ago. My husband is not a hunter nor a farmer or builder. He wouldn’t have a clue what the difference is between a ratchet and an anvil. (His wife has no clue either). He is not your outdoorsy type who leaves home in the early hours of the day and returns late at night carrying a deer draped across his sweaty shoulders.
Likewise, I am no domestic housewife. I hold down a demanding job in a very competitive industry. (Fortunately so, because I would have no idea how to clean and prepare dear meat!)
Between the two of us we raise our children – with a lot of help from day care, nursery schools and baby sitters. I wish we were in the situation where I could stay home with the children but we have bills to pay and, therefore, life is hectic.
From the moment we wake up in the mornings to the time that we pass out on the bed at night – if we manage to make it to the bed without collapsing on the sofa… life is a blur of activity. While thinking about this week’s challenge subject being REST, I wondered when last I truly rested. Rest is so much more than sleep. If not, then why do we sometimes wake up feeling tired? A fitful sleep where our minds continually battle with our worried thoughts gives no rest at all. Our bodies cannot rest when the stress of our lives leaves our muscles tight with tension.
About a month ago I realised the true meaning of rest, when I found myself near to breaking point with exhaustion. As a sufferer of migraine headaches, I consulted a doctor who instructed me to get some exercise. (I thought that tossing and turning WAS exercise! I burn quite a few calories fretting every night.) I argued that chasing after two little boys was quite a workout, but he would not hear it. He insisted that I join a gym or sport club. I felt the heat rush to my cheeks as I thought about the gym I joined over a year ago and have not even visited once. Not wishing to take any more time away from my children, and admitting that I was too tired at the end of the day anyway, I had been paying for a gym membership but not using the facilities. He put enough pressure on me to make me realise that I had to do something. I contacted the gym and was pleased to find out that the children could join me in my work out – so it would be a fun family time too!
While working on my body, I also focused on spiritual rest by reading my Bible and praying to God for peace. He promises to give us rest and a peace that passes understanding.
I soon realised that although I live a very busy life, I’m not really working or labouring for God. My daily activities have kept me busy but I’ve not really accomplished much for God or for his children. So I added more focus on my Christian efforts and loaded more activities onto my already hectic schedule.
The worries that had weighed so heavily on my mind were handed to God because he says that we can give him our cares and burdens and he will take care of us.
After a few days of sweating it out at the gym instead of fretting it out in bed, after dedicating more of my time to helping other Christians and taking part in Church activities I suddenly found I was having more time with my children and I was more effective at work. My energy levels have also improved and the headaches are just a memory. Now I flop into bed as exhausted as ever but the tiredness in my mind and the stiffness in my muscles makes me feel good and I’m sleeping more soundly than ever. I wake up refreshed, energised and filled with hope, knowing that my troubles are in good hands.
Unless there is labour there is no rest.