Let me start off this way—this message is about actual rest. Physical, emotional or mental, and spiritual rest. It’s not about resting from sin; it’s more about taking a nap when you need it. It is also not about escape, because resting and escaping are not the same thing. And, hopefully, if you rest, you will not feel the need to escape.
Raise your hand if you have ever felt stressed? Most of us would gladly spend and be spent for Jesus and those we love, but sometimes that spending leads to stress. The thing is, though, stress is not always a bad thing. In fact, it is stress that can initiate our fight or flight instincts, which sometimes, is a very good thing! Stress can actually increase our productivity! Ever know somone who always put things off until the last minute? Well, they were correct when they said they seem to work better that way.
Because I know that missionaries living in a different culture, with a different language, different food, different thought processes, and a whole slew of other things, do not often realize they are stressed, I decided to do some reading on stress. I am sharing some of the information with you, but I want you to know, that we often have a combination of these in our life.
Survival Stress – This type of stress triggers the “fight or flight” response we feel when we are threatened with bodily harm or are in a dangerous situation.
Internal Stress – You know how some people (my hand is up) can imagine a worst case scenario in 5 seconds flat? Then, they just sit there and dwell on it? Or do you ever worry about things you have no control over? You were fine until you started worrying, but oh! you just had to start running every bad scenario through your head. This is internal stress, and it us usually self-inflicted. There are people who seem to love to be stressed, and are stressed about every. single. thing. They would be people with lots of internal stress.
Environmental Stress – This is stress as a response to noise, crowding, work, family, traffic, or enviroment.
Fatigue and Overwork – Usually, this is stress that starts as a small amount but gradually increases over time. This particular type of stress can be very damaging to your body. This stress can come from being a poor time manager, having a stressful job, going through a major change, or just not allowing time for rest.
(This is the site I found this particular break down of stress, but I read several articles and looked at many websites.) http://www.mtstcil.org/skills/stress-definition-1.html
Here’s the thing—we live stressful lives. The BTS during rush hour—for me a big stressor. Driving (here)—not such a big stressor. Yet, it was a big stress for me in America. The heat– big stressor for my husband. For me—not usually. Lots of things going on at once—I will lose my mind. For my son, AJ—the more, the better. Something else that causes me stress—walking past random offerings on the sidewalk. This will set my heart racing and I physically tense up. It is the craziest thing. And none of that includes ministry work, language learning, or all the various relationships we have.
I think we readily accept that we need to rest each day for our quiet time, but why do we consider that short time to be enough? Can you say with Paul in 2 Cor 4: 16 “For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.” Yes, His mercies are new every morning, but are you stress free enough to receive those mercies? Too be honest, there are days when I am not.
We lift the apostle Paul up, and I think he is a great example, but do you realize he too got discouraged. 2 Cor 7:5 “For, when we were come into Macedonia, our flesh had no rest, but we were troubled on every side; without were fightings, within were fears.” 2 Cor 11:28 “Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
He needed encouragment! 2 Cor 7:6 “Nevertheless God, that comforteth those that are cast down, comforted us by the coming of Titus;”
We are no less human than Paul, though we might be less spiritual, so why do we think we shouldn’t need a rest? God commanded a day of rest for a reason. He also commanded feasts that would allow His people to rest. Every seventh year, the Israelites were commanded to give their land a rest as well. I don’t know about you, but there are days where a year long sabbatical sounds amazing!
Mark 6: 31 “And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.”
Jesus told his apostles to rest. (It doesn’t seem like they got to rest at this particular time, but that is another story.)
In the story of Jesus calming the storm, Jesus is asleep! Like I said at the begining, rest can be as simple as taking a nap when you need one! Psalm 127:2 “It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.” Go to bed!!!!
But why rest? Well, have you ever considered that rest is as important to your missionary work as your actual works are? God intended rest as a way to help us focus on Him, to renew us for His work, to ensure we recognize we are not able to do it without Him. Rest is intended to bring Him glory. After all, it is His glory we are living for, because it is His mercy and His truth. (Psalm 115:1)
This is a good stopping point for this post. I am not a fan of reading long blogs, because, frankly, I do not have the time, so I will post the rest of it later this week. Does this build the anitcipation?!?! Just teasing.
But, seriously, take some time to consider the stress in your life, and try to put it into the above catergories. Then, take that list to the Lord and pray over it. Ask Him for wisdom and help. Then, come back and read the rest of the post.
Hi! My name is Rachael and I am a child of God. I was saved from sin and all its bondage at the age of 21. I am married to an incredible man. He constantly challenges me to grow closer to my Saviour. We have three beautiful children that love the Lord. Currently, our family is preparing to go to Thailand as missionaries.