The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

They say there’s no rest for the weary, and I’m finding out how true that is. We live in a world where if you are not constantly working and striving to do more, then something is wrong with you. If you are not always producing or creating then you are lazy. If you are not always connected and interacting on social media then you are anti-social. We’re not resting like we should. We are out of balance. This is a problem, and something I struggle with immensely. In fact, I think a lot more people struggle with it that they would like to admit. I find it amusing and almost comical that so many others are beginning to speak about it. As if it is a common thing that the Spirit is speaking to the Church. Pastor Judah Smith of The City Church recently preached a sermon on resting and finding balance in life, title “Rhythms of Grace.” (I totally stole his title, but he got it from the Bible so that’s legal. Right?)

Pastor Judah’s message really hit home with me. I think in our culture rest has become a dirty word. We are busier than ever before and in ways that are possibly more mentally straining that ever before. Back in the “good ‘ole days” you could work your job and then go home. You left your work at the office and would return to it later, times are totally different now. Now you are constantly connected, you have to always be on alert and always be on point or you will be ostracized. And on top of all that- you have social media. A recent study, says that we check our phones close to 150 times a day. This is exhausting

I honestly don’t think tired is a proper word for what many of us experience on a daily basis, I think mental fatigue is a much better description. We’re worn out, we’ve been stretched too far for too long, but often it’s our own faults. We have been so accustomed to striving to be better, faster, stronger that we lose sight of finding peace in the moment. Always living in the future and it wears you down. It’s what will cause you to be tired and worn out. So what do we do when we’re worn out? Coffee. 

We all have a coping mechanism, but it only last for so long. Then you fall right back into the routine of feeling like you are drowning in work, that you’ll never reach your dream because you’ve already wasted too much time, or you need to work harder so that you can be like “them.” After awhile you can become very cynical and wonder if there is really a point. “Why am I just running in circles?” you may ask. That is a dangerous place to be and unfortunately many of us can become this way not only with  our outlook on business and personal life, but also our outlook of God and His Church. You can get tired of doing the same old things and getting no-where.

Jesus knew this would happen. That is why He said this recored in Matthew 11:28-30

28 “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. 29 Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you.30 Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)

So you see Jesus has given us a way out of this worn-out, cynical worldview. It’s Him. You’ll get burnt out so quick if you don’t position yourself to be focused on God. We have to begin thinking in a way that all we do must be an offering to God. All that we do must be in alignment with His will. This is when we will begin to see satisfaction in the things we do. When we follow after God, he’ll make sure we get the rest we need to do the things He has called us to do. When we begin to walk in what God has called us to do, we will gain a supernatural rest. What should we do when we’re worn out? Run to Jesus.

Now a lot of you are probably thinking: “I’m in alignment, I pray, I go to church, what more can I do?”

You may need a sabbath. That’s a really church-y word for a time that you intentionally set aside for resting. We see this in Genesis when God rested after He created the world. He didn’t go straight in to the next project and he didn’t immediately start improving His work. He stopped and looked at all He had done and enjoyed it. If God who isn’t contained within the confines of time and doesn’t need to rest, rested; you probably should too. But what does it mean to really rest? Do we really have time for that? 

I recently started living on my own for the first time and I quickly realized that “off time” can actually be translated as “washing clothes” and “sweeping the flooring.” What once was a time of rest and tranquility is now filled with responsibility. So I have had to teach myself to actual rest. To rest doesn’t just mean not work. It actually means to recover your strength. Not spending all day watching TV but recovering strength. How you do that depends on your personality. I know some people who like to go on a long run, some like to read, I like to lay down and listen to music in a dark, cool room. 

I believe to find our real rest it can’t just be one or the other. Sleeping all weekend wont fulfill you spiritually and praying all day may not give you the physical strength. Begin to focus on the things that matter. If something is taking up a lot of your time and is not helping you, stop doing it. I’m preaching to myself here, but I know that so many have this struggle. So I hope you start to walk with God, learning how He does things. I hope you learn the unforced rhythms of grace.