Just like so many other attributes of the Christian life, the key to rest is in our attitude. Jesus said it best, of course. For example, in the Sermon on the Mount he told us it was not enough to refrain from murdering; one has to purge hatred from the heart. Also, it is not enough to refrain from committing adultery. One has to abandon lust as well.
So it is with rest. It is not enough to say that we will take a nap on Sunday afternoon as part of our rest (although I do enjoy my naps religiously, so to speak). We must listen to the Holy Spirit concerning what activities we need to involve ourselves with, or abandon. “Rest” encompasses much more than simple physical rest; it is necessary to take the time to recharge our “spiritual batteries.”
We must refrain from what I have formerly called the “headless chicken syndrome.” This is when we run around like a chicken with its head cut off, going from activity to activity desperately trying to fill our time for one reason or another, caught up in the “hamster wheel” of 21st century life.
Of course some days or weeks are headless chicken days or weeks. Oftentimes, we cannot help being busy and sometimes circumstances are beyond our control. However, like I said, it is our attitude that counts.
The next time you find yourself running around the proverbial barnyard in an aimless fashion, ask yourself, “Why am I doing what I am doing?” It could be that you are trying to please someone, or perhaps you have trouble just saying “no.” It could be that you feel guilty about something and you are trying to pay penance. The only trouble with paying self-induced penance is that it will never be enough. Maybe you are too busy because you are disorganized.
There are a multitude of reasons as to why we run around in a frenzy. However, once we start figuring out the whys and wherefores of why we are doing what we are doing, we have to be careful not to fill our time with other needless activities. That’s why the attitude is the heart of the matter. We will never be cured of the headless chicken syndrome until we get to the root of our behavior.
So what is this attitude of rest that I am trying to describe? It is peace. It is simplicity. It is the ability to maintain the right priorities. It is the desire to live a godly life; to develop a personal relationship with God. It’s the realization that you can pitch your Blackberry into City Park pond and everything will still be okay. That is the attitude of rest. It is worth working toward.