rest.jpgBe still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 (NIV)

I’m supposed to be writing a devotional about rest; it was due three days ago. Instead, I’m still sitting on the couch, in the semi-dark, staring at an offensively blank laptop screen, thinking about anything and everything but writing. Or resting. I gotta be honest, I’m stressing. It’s ironic, preparing to write about rest by doing the opposite. But I can’t help it. Resting has never been my cup of tea. I know how to rest physically. I practically have my PhD in the art of napping. My big problem comes when I try and convince my brain that it’s time to rest. My thoughts race around like cars in the mall parking lot on December 24, driving erratically and honking their horns, circling and backing up, dodging distracted pedestrians and slamming on the brakes. Anyone else ever feel like that? Maybe it’s just me.

Every night I lie in bed and try not to think about anything. Instead, within thirty minutes I’ve mentally reorganized every closet in my house; written four humorous, yet enlightening blog posts; and come up with the solution to global warming.

I think one of the main reasons (aside from being over-caffeinated and overscheduled) that my mind is always in overdrive is that I never feel I have quite what it takes to please God or anyone else for that matter. Mentally, I run around like a frazzled, second-guessing Christmas shopper, always debating whether or not my gift will be good enough. This fear of falling short leaves my heart and head continually strategizing ways to compensate for my inadequacies. That leaves little time for rest.

And yet, I’m continually invited, by God Himself, to participate in His work. Why He’d want me, I’ll never be sure, but inexplicably, He does. He’s entrusted me with a family to care for and friends to love. He’s asked me to reach out my heart or my hands in compassion. And He’s asked me to write about rest. Something I know very little about. Very funny, God, ha ha. You got me this time.

As I go along in the path of obedience, doing whatever it is He’s asked me to do, I spend at least fifty percent of my time in panic-mode, listening to the dueling voices in my head as they debate whether or not I’ve done it right, whether or not my work is up to snuff, whether or not I should just cut my losses and give up.

But something (I suspect the Holy Spirit) brings me back to the verse, “Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations.” (emphasis added) If I can corral my hyperactive heart and mind long enough to focus and want what God wants, then I have the astounding and undeserved promise that it will be done. His name will be exalted, regardless of my penchant for making a royal mess of almost everything He asks me to do.

The New American Standard translation says, “Cease striving and know that I am God.” I like that mental picture. It’s like a heavenly time-out. He’s telling me not only to be still on the outside but to stop the frenzy on the inside. Realize that because Jesus lived life perfectly on my behalf, that God can use even my pathetic offerings to show His beauty, like a mother proudly beaming as she hangs the homemade ornament made by her adoring little one. Silence the voices in my head telling me I should run farther, harder, and longer to ensure that His will gets done. Stop freaking out. Know He’s God. Rest.

Dear Father, thank You for Your unconditional love and acceptance of me. Help me to rest in Your sufficiency.

What does it mean for you to “Be still and know” that He is God? How can you rest in His presence during a busy holiday season?