Friday, August 17, 2012

I Must Rest

The feeling had been growing for awhile, but it was not until the school year had ended and I was trying to gear up for the Jr. High summer program at church that I began to realize how exhausted I was. 

I had just finished a year packed with activity—working fifteen hours or more weekly as the Interim Jr. High Director in the church family where I grew up; babysitting, several times a month; attending two semesters of 18 credit hours worth of classes.  The classes were of the field work and curriculum development variety; and this was on top of the normal reading, exams and papers.  In the midst of all this, I also began dating my good friend. (He's my is my husband today, in case you were curious.) 

I loved all of it, but it was exhausting.

I was able to keep all of this up for a semester before I started to notice something was wrong. 

To get it all done, I had to work on something nearly all the time.  I would wake up and go to class.  I would finish class and work on reading for my other classes or research for papers in the library.  If I didn’t have these things to do, I would pull out a book to read for fun or often I would have something I was planning for the Jr. High program.  When I went home I would work on larger projects and papers.  It got to be so that the time I spent with God was funneled into preparation for Jr. High events. 

What I didn’t realize at the time was when you give all you have and you don’t stop to rest, you slowly dry up until there is nothing left to give.

As summer came, I began to realize I was running on fumes. I was so thankful to have a wonderful intern working with me.  It helped.  I made it through summer. 

Fall came and school started again.  It was in the midst of full time student teaching, working, dating, and trying to do it all that I realized I couldn’t do it anymore.  If I continued to try, something important would be treated as though it was not important—a bunch of students, my boyfriend, or my grades.  I finished out the end of the semester and resigned the interim role. 

By God’s grace, I think it was one of the best choices I have ever made.  My grades didn’t tank.  The youth program got a better more permanent director.  I was able to focus what little energy I had on finishing school well.  However, it didn’t get easier.  In fact, the next semester, school got harder.  One thing did change.  My time in Scripture and calling out to God was just for me.  I was trying to rest in Him again. 

It was after I graduated that life slowed down enough to really recover from the crazy pace of life I had kept for nearly a year and a half.  In the midst of making wedding invitations and watching World Cup soccer there was finally time to rest my body. 

It was hard, though.  It was hard to try to reclaim the rhythms of sleep.  It was hard to return to the discipline of reading Scripture.  I found it difficult to connect to what the Bible was saying, whereas once I was able to drink it in and be refreshed.  I did it anyway, even if it was just a verse or two.  I was clinging to the idea that what had captured my heart once, might capture it again. 

During that time, it was the kindness of others, inside my family and the larger family of Christ, which encouraged me and kept me believing in a good God.  It was through these people that I was best able to see God speaking to my aching heart when life around me seemed so bleak.

Months passed by before I realized the heaviness of heart I experienced for so long had begun to retreat.  Scripture began to speak to my spirit again.  Life began to feel good--full of possibilities and enough energy to meet them with joy.

Rest had begun to do its work.  It happened slowly, but steadily. 

I began to realize this and recognized that my exhaustion had come largely due to my failure to rest. 

I learned from this season in my life.  I don’t think I would ever choose to return.  Yet, it taught me a lesson I would never wish to forget.  I cannot work endlessly.  I must rest.

God has made us to work from our rest.

Let’s take time this weekend to do the things that God uses to feed our souls.  Let’s rest in Him.


Grace and peace be ours in abundance.  As we rest may we find new energy for the work ahead of us; discover new excitement about the tasks ahead; and find the creative places in our hearts are filled to overflowing.

Jessica :)

P.S.  Thank you to my dear husband for letting me use his photo.  He shot the rush of traffic so well while we were in Rome a few years ago.  It was definitely my favorite from the trip.  The movement of the photo made me think of the speed of life I was trying to describe today. 


  1. Hi Jessica, I have finally gotten to your blogspot. It was wonderful to read your reflection on rest. I found it something for me to pay attention to in this season of big change for me and less rest than I thought would be there. . Blessings to you today. happy to hear about your new home. Sibyl

  2. Hi Sibyl, Thanks for stopping by. Blessings as you seek rest in the midst of fullness of life. I know it was so restful to be away without opening up a computer for 10 days. It has been a long time since I have done that. And yet, I'm glad to be returning to normal. :)