Wednesday, July 20, 2016

A Special Rest

I love the change of seasons as I look forward to the change in scenery, each bringing a beauty all their own. The same trees, out back in our yard, bring an awareness and an awe all their own.

I never tire of the orange, red, and yellow hues of fall. Then the branches, devoid of any leaves, hold the splash of white as the snow falls, reflecting the brilliance of the sun. They change once more as little bursts of pale green and red buds peek through the tips, eventually giving way to full out green when the leaves fill in again. Every year I marvel at the varied shades of green.

Only our God, infinite in His creativity, could design seasons which would help us also manage the seasons of our lives:

  • Fall. This season often reminds me of a fresh start, beginnings, perhaps because it brings a new school year. The smells of crisp leaves, the first fires, pumpkin candles, and apple pies bring a comfort all their own which is both familiar and unique. The season of harvest reminds us to be thankful for all that He has done in our lives.
  • Winter. There is a reverence and peace which comes with the first snowfall. No matter how many snowfalls I have now experienced, each reminds me that I have been made whiter than snow.
  • Spring. The season of growth. All that has been dormant, lying under the surface, begins to come to life and grow once anew. Spring brings a hope – of greater growth and production. It encourages us to get back out there in the arena of life and enjoy all that is before us.
  • Summer ...

The season we are currently enjoying. The season of rest. These are the months we long for throughout the year. We desire the break from our busy schedules and routines which dictate our days. It’s the season of rest. I have found myself asking the question, “What is rest?” More so, what does God want us to do in resting?

“Rest” can mean a physical settling down of something at a particular place. “To rest” sometimes indicates a complete envelopment and thus permeation (both definitions come from Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary). To rest should then mean a period of mental or spiritual calm, a relief or freedom from that which pressures us each day.

The messages are heard all around us. You know, the ones which keep pushing us to achieve more and work harder. “Do it now.” “Work hard!” “You’ll never get ahead unless you do more!” “Don’t stop.”

We need to close the lids of our laptops. Lay those cell phones down. And take a rest.

God knew the earth needed the season of summer in order to rest. {Tweet that.} How much more do His people need this same season? Listen to what He says:

“So there is a special rest still waiting for the people of God. For all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world. So let us do our best to enter that rest.” {Hebrews 4:9-11, NLT}

God Himself worked hard yet He knew to take a rest. We need to do the same. But notice, we are exhorted to “do our best to enter that rest.” It strikes me funny that we need to work at resting or we will not rest at all. As we rest and our minds are calm, we are better able to focus on Him, gaining renewed perspective. Our hearts are softened, malleable to His touch. Remember the definition of “rest”? We become completely enveloped and thus permeated by His Spirit.

Enjoy these days of summer. Relax with family and friends. Laugh. Play games.

This special rest.

It is the most productive thing we can do this summer. {Tweet that.}

Joanne Viola is a wife, mom to now adult children, and “Mimi” to two granddaughters. She began blogging so that her family would always know her thoughts as she processed through the journey of life. She is the director of partner care for The Lulu Tree, a non-profit serving women and children both in Uganda and Sierra Leone. You can find her on her blog, Days & Thoughts, or on Facebook and Twitter.


#ThreeWordWednesday has been full of guest posting goodness this summer, so be sure to read any posts you may have missed. 

Susan Shipe shared about summertime fun. Melody Hester offered advice for navigating new seasons. Tiffany Parry shared about the joy that comes with freedom. Alecia Simersky talked about rejoicing in the day God has made, even with the day involves hard changes. Lyli Dunbar offered lessons on surviving summer storms

You can also download The Summer Not-To-Do List I made for you, if you haven't already, and find some book recommendations among the books I've read {so far} this year. 

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