Rest on the Run

Seven weeks ago, I started running. Lots of insights have come my way in that time and this is one of them. Something I’ve been aware of nearly the whole seven weeks is that as my runs have gotten longer, my perception of rest has changed.  

At first, I didn’t “rest” until I was back home sitting on the couch. Then, “rest” happened while I walked between jogging intervals. As I spent less and less time walking, I had to learn to rest while jogging DOWNhill. And later to rest anytime I wasn’t going UPhill. Now that there’s no walking at all, I’m even learning to catch some rest while jogging uphill.  

Sometimes in life we get a chance to sit back and relax; to pass through seasons of life during which God pours into us- teaching us, affirming us, giving us new insight and wisdom. But for most of us, those seasons are few and far between. We have to learn to “rest on the run…” to catch our breath and discern what the Spirit is saying to renew us even when there’s no time for a spa day or a vacation or even a few moments to meditate.  Scripture gives us wisdom on how to do that. Here are just a couple of examples:

“The Lord is my Shepherd… He leads me beside still waters… He restores my soul.” -Psalm 23

Here we see God as a shepherd who takes good care of those in His care. While constantly on the move to find pasture on which to graze, the Good Shepherd is sure to give proper rest to His sheep and refreshes them with water. Here’s the catch though- the sheep have to actually be following the shepherd. There’s not much rest for a lost sheep wandering the rocky terrain alone. Would you say that the guidance and leadership of God is a constant in your daily life? Do you seek to go where the Shepherd leads or do you tend to wander off aimlessly and often find yourself far from the path you know you should be following?

“Let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love. It’s how we set our hearts at rest in God’s presence.”- 1 John 3

Here, John gives super practical advice for experiencing “rest on the run.” He says that a sure fire way to set our hearts at rest is to practice (not just preach) real love. The most extreme experiences I have ever personally had where God refreshed my tired, burned out, fed up soul are those when I found myself actively loving another person. It seems counterintuitive- that serving someone would provide rest for the already tired- but try it. The next time you feel burned out and tired, find someone to serve a meal to, give a ride to, lend an ear or strong pair of hands to. There is something so refreshing and restorative about the practice of real love.  

Feeling spread too thin? Burned out? Just flat out tired? Maybe that spa day or worship retreat isn’t going to come for a while. Let’s learn to rest on the run. To allow God’s Spirit to refresh us in the middle of what feels like a wasteland, to restore us even in the middle of chaos.  I pray that you are refreshed in the presence of the Good Shepherd today and may you be refreshing (like a breath of fresh air) to those who meet you today!

Pastor Deb