By Hope Komarynsky
A few weekends ago, I was tending to the landscaping around our house as I do each spring. The previous owners put a lot of work into the yard before listing the house and created a beautiful display of various plants and flowers that wrap up our walkway and around the front of the house. An old, but sturdy sycamore tree towers over the front yard. We closed on the house a few summers ago while the flowers were in full bloom and the tree’s leaves shaded the walkway. It was truly breathtaking. What we didn’t think about at the time was the amount of effort and hard work it would take to maintain the beauty of the landscape…not to mention rake the multitude of leaves once they fell from the tree as the seasons changed. The upkeep is time-consuming, but the end result is so worth it each year.
I tried to keep this in my mind as motivation. With a sigh, I geared up to deal with yet another pile of leaves. Once the majority was cleared, I grabbed our hedge trimmer and went down the sidewalk towards a grouping of decorative grasses. The grasses are one of my favorite parts of the path up to our front door. In the summer they dance in the wind, loosely flowing with the direction of the breeze. However, watching them that weekend in early spring, they looked rather dismal. They were dry, stiff, and withered from the winter. Idle. Dead. I raised the trimmer and swept it across the plant. In one motion, the blades that were just even with my waist were quickly reduced to stubble; standing only a few inches tall. I continued this process until all the grasses were cut and then knelt down to pick up the clippings. A flash of color caught my eye. New, bright green growth was poking through the ground! I smiled and breathed a refreshing breath. “Yay! They’re coming back! Thanks, God.” I said to myself. In that moment I was reminded that all things need seasons of rest in order to burst forth rejuvenated. I’m anxiously waiting for the buds to blossom and the flowers to pop in full bloom. The promise of spring is just around the corner!
There are many lessons we can learn about the importance of rest from the cycles of nature. We know that the seasons are purposeful for plants. The rest of the dead leaves in winter isn’t meaningless, but instead incredibly important. It creates a protected place for the plant to soak in nourishment from the ground and bloom once again. Rest is necessary for growth and new beginnings. Rest nourishes the source and helps natural beauty to return.
Just like the grasses in my landscaping, we all need times in life where we slow down and take care of ourselves on the inside; beneath the surface. Rest sometimes looks and feels dry, dull, and unproductive. Others may look on and see “laziness” when you rest since there is a God-given craving in our souls for something more than this world can offer. It’s hard for most people to pause their life and take a breath. People can’t always see the benefit of rest from the outside, because refreshing change, growth, and restoration often happens internally.
We see the benefit and necessity of rest modeled for us in the Creation story. After the creation of the world and everything in it, God rests. Genesis 2:2-3 says, “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” God continually nudges Christ-followers towards the rest he offers throughout the pages of Scripture. In Matthew He tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (11:28-30)
Think about it… When is the last time you let yourself truly rest? With spring in the air, it’s the perfect time to take inventory of your body, mind, and spirit. In what ways do you need a renewal? Where do you feel tired; mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually? How could you benefit by taking time out and listening to your body and the Holy Spirit nudges towards rest? We all need rest. Maybe your life has lost some of its vibrancy over the past year. Take a step towards stillness in some area and begin the journey to restoration.
Here are some assessments as well as a few resources: Worn Out Woman Quiz, Hurry Sickness Quiz and a Resource List. Consider this your invitation to rest. I encourage you to reach out and accept the gift…the gift of rest! How will you respond?