At biblestudy this week, we looked at the meaning of rest as we started Hebrews 4. There are many kinds of rest (ie earthly, eternal, physical, spiritual, etc). We were asked to define rest.
My short answer was "ceasing".
My long answer was: "Ceasing from work, effort, responsibility, burdens, activity or movement. Rest can be purposeful or physically, mentally, or emotionally necessary."
We often think of rest (in this life) as taking a breather physically. We run, then we rest. We madly clean up, then we rest. That is true, though I believe it can go much further than that. Because of some certain Circumstances in my life this year, I have learned how valuable and necessary rest is for one's heart. The Lord has also used a dear friend to teach me more about rest. I thank God that He has given my heart great rest in the last 8 weeks or so. I sense it greatly and it's so refreshing. I think of people who face sorrow and grief, and when that time of sorrow has passed, one's heart may rest again (and sometimes God gives rest in the midst of sorrow). Joy often accompanies the rest that follows sorrow. A verse that often comes to mind when taking a "heart breather" is "Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you." Psalm 116:7. Rest is offered from our God not only in the time to come but also while we are on this earth.
Rest sometimes involves the lack of being burdened. If I have a particular week that feels overly hectic for me, I crave a free evening. And I purposely plan free evenings (or Saturdays) regularly in order to cease from busyness, even if it is good busyness. That is good for where I am in my life now. I know people who are fatigued have learned through their own mistakes and successes what it means to rest, to cease. If you are a naturally busy, on-the-go-person, your first reaction to the idea of rest might also include thoughts of laziness. Stopping, ceasing, taking quiet time to rest may leave you feeling guilty that you ought to be doing something. However, I also can imagine how hard it is to rest when you are a parent or have many responsibilities.
What do you think of when you think of rest? How do you rest?
I wanted to add that rest on the Sabbath is a given for me....and the rest I refer to above is rest that I have to be more purposeful about. Thanks to Noah for his comment which reminded me to clarify that.