Rest: a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility…relief or freedom from anything that troubles or disturbs.

Rests are found in music. They can be found along highways as designated stops. They are given to infants and toddlers throughout the day as naps. Rests are even posted along bike paths and trails. Yet, somehow, we struggle daily to find it in our own lives.  

How is that possible? How does something that is as necessary as the air we breathe, or the water we drink, lose it’s place in our lives?  What happens between toddlerhood and adulthood that causes us to believe that a break; peace; stillness; or even solitude are luxuries? The truth is that rest is a precious gift from God and although it may not seem attainable “the promise of rest is still there for God’s people.” Hebrews 4:11 MSG

Maybe you’re like me, and you have spent far more time than you care to admit, misusing, misplacing, and mistreating the time that has been allotted you for rest and replaced it with busyness.  Ahh, there’s a word for ya…busyness, the great artistry of actively or attentively being engaged in or by activity. How many times has Mr. and Mrs. Busyness pulled you away from family, friends, self, or even time with the Father? That is likely the most weighted effect of busyness…shorting your time with God.  Allow me to be transparent and say that I have missed out on far too many moments with my Father for no good reason, doing things that I deemed, at the time, far more important.

Clutter: to fill or litter with things in a disorderly manner.

This, my friend, is what I had found myself doing. I had dressed my life up in clutter and called it names like: Actively Engaged, Fully Committed, and Attentively Diligent. You know you use those names too (insert eye roll)! I cannot be the only person giving fancy names to all the ways I had filled up my days, all while working toward goals to secure the best life possible for myself and my family.  However, the name that had been left out was Deceptive Distraction; oh how I know this character.  I have hid this one in the closet many times, because I didn’t want to let others know I’d been hoodwinked, bamboozeled, or straight up tricked into doing just ONE MORE THING.

Please, for the love-of-God-and-all-that-is-holy, if you get nothing else, please get this…living cluttered lives ultimately causes us to cheat our families, ourselves and ultimately, our Lord and Savior. Mis-focused activity, regardless of what it is: church work, volunteering, or all the other bazillion good things we profess to do…blah, blah, blah…will continue to bog us down, because we don’t know how to say NO.  We all know who we are; the great YES men and women of the world…please stand up, please stand up! Haha

But seriously, there have been countless times I had found myself ‘in over my head’ because I let the word YES run from my lips like a thief being chased. You know exactly what I’m referring to.  Those times when your lips are mimicking the word yes, but your mind is shouting “you talk too much, you never shut up” (good ol’ Run-DMC in head-banger-fashion)! I have come to learn that saying yes to every leadership position, board member meeting, or volunteer position that an “important-person” has asked me to serve in does not have the same life-value as saying yes to what God has for me.

In those moments of feeling under-appreciated, overlooked, or insignificant, a yes or 2 million yeses, had poured from my lips like water. Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, YES, I’ll do it, pick me, choose me, see ME!!!!!  Who gets promoted, elevated, recognized, or finds their spot in the winner’s circle if they refuse to say YES, right?! Well, friends, THAT is how you wake up with Mr. and Mrs. Deceptive Distraction running your life.

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I had stopped laying at my Father’s feet and just taking in his presence. I had stopped being still and allowing him to champion my battles. The busyness of life had left me vulnerable to the enemy. It left my weaknesses exposed. The very nature of busyness is to leave you depleted, weak, frail, and susceptible to discourse, and full of contempt. It is a dangerous way to live!

If this has become you, if busyness has cluttered your days and robbed you of precious moments with the Father, your loved ones, or even time just absorbing and reflecting on who you are in Christ, then my prayer for you (for me) today is to stop operating from emptiness, instead, start giving God your firsts in everything. Be diligent and intentional in carving out time for him. Allow me to offer up a different perspective:

Give (yourself to God thru prayer, praise, and devotion) and you will receive. Your gift (of rest) will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more (of Christ), running over, and poured into your lap.  The amount (of yourself) you give (to Christ) will determine the amount (of rest) you get back.
— Luke 6:38 NLT

So, REST and be STILL. That’s what God is calling each of us to do. He says,

I will fight for you; you need only to be STILL (Ex 14:14).  

Be STILL before the Lord and wait patiently for him. (Ps 37:7).

Be STILL, REST in who I AM and KNOW. TRUST. BELIEVE…that I AM GOD (Psalm 46:10).

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Debra Hughes

Songwriter & Worshipper