by Erin Bird
I don't really want to start this post off with a "downer," but school starts in just two weeks. Now I realize that some of you parents might be celebrating this fact 😁, but for some of you, this news means summer is about over. 😢 It means the end of vacations, camping trips, pool visits, Dairy Queen runs, and other fun outdoor activities. Knowing this, the temptation will be to crowd as much into your calendar as you can before the school schedule of "fall" kicks in.
But let me encourage you in a different direction: Rather than try to squeeze in every activity that remains on your summer bucket list, why not use the time to rest and prepare for the routine schedule of school and the fall?
Have you ever come back from a vacation and thought, "I need another vacation?" So often, our vacations involve seeing as many sites and/or people as we can while traveling hours upon hours in the car. This results in arriving home exhausted, far from refreshed.
Why not flip the script these last two weeks, and rather than try to squeeze in just one more big activity, why not do something that will help you truly rest and be refreshed?
Now, this doesn't mean you have to lock yourself in your house. But as you plan how to spend your time with the summer days left, ask yourself - will this activity help me/us to rest and be refreshed for the schedule change ahead?
If the answer is a genuine "yes," go and enjoy guilt free! But if the activity has the potential to exhaust you and/or your kids (if you are a parent), perhaps you should consider an alternative plan. This will help you (and your family) be rested and ready for the changes ahead.
Let me take this idea a little further: While a camping trip to a peaceful spot out in nature might be exactly what you and/or your family needs, how can you use that time to connect with God? For true rest, real rest, is found in Him. However, too often we look for rest in other places.
For the ancient Israelites, as they left Egypt and wandered in the wilderness, true rest was thought to be found in the Promised Land. "Once we get to that magical place flowing with milk and honey, we'll finally be able to rest!" For them, true rest was found in a place.
A few centuries later, for the ancient Jews, rest in God wasn't just found in a place, it was found in a day. Because God "rested" on the 7th day of creation, the Jews were commanded to do the same on what was known as the "Sabbath." So for centuries, from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday, the Jewish people did nothing: no cooking, no cleaning, no farming... no work of any kind. For them, true rest was found in a day.
Starting in Hebrews 3, the author expounds of Psalm 95, where God says that those who would not believe and trust Him would "never enter my rest." For those of us on this side of the historical cross, we know that God calls us to believe that Jesus died on the cross and trust it was sufficient for the forgiveness of our sin.
True rest isn't found in a specific day, nor a specific place. Rather it's found in a specific person: Jesus.
And like any ancient Jew who refused to belie and trust God could not enter God's rest, those who refuse to believe in Jesus and trust in His death and resurrection cannot enter into God's spiritual rest. But if you place your faith fully upon Christ, you enter His perfect and eternal rest.
So true rest isn't found in a place, or in a specific day, or even a specific activity. True rest is found in Christ.
So as you finish this summer, may you prepare for the fall schedule by resting in Jesus. Rest in Him through prayer, through song, through nature, through the Scripture, through sleep, through a walk, through good food, through a good book, through some quality family time, or through whatever God's Spirit leads you to do or not do.
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