If it seems like I write about the concept of rest a lot, I do. As a society we are exhausted. We are plugged in all the time. 15% of people surveyed for a Huffington Post article about rest reported reading and sending emails while in church! We can’t escape the demands of the electronic leash. And that blue screen and blinking light become an idol that gets between us and God, both hearing from Him and receiving the rest that He promises.
We exchange actual physical interactions with people around us for electronic communication with people who aren’t here. We let ourselves subscribe to an invisible pressure to respond to the blinking light immediately. We keep the Bible on a shelf and the blinking light in our pocket. Each of us could probably cite off the make and model of the device that houses the blinking light- but we may not have any idea what version of the Bible sits on the shelf.
I’ve fallen prey to the same pressures. I’ve tried to carry on a conversation with someone who is sitting in front of me while simultaneously tending to the blinking light- and I recognize the chaos it brings to the balance and harmony of my physical life. What may be even less obvious is how great the upset is to the balance and harmony of our spiritual lives.
God isn’t going to send us an email. He isn’t going to tweet, or post a sweet message on our Facebook wall. Our phone isn’t going to make a beep or buzz to signal to us that He is sending a message. God speaks to us in a whisper and it’s up to us to put ourselves in the distraction-free position to hear a whisper. Right now, if someone whispered to you could you hear it? Is you mind and physical space open to hearing Him?
If we put ourselves in a space to hear Him, to be replenished, and to “soak” in His Presence we will be restored. Anxiety will drift away, our shoulders will relax, the tension in our neck and lower back will relax, and we will physically rest.
Challenge yourself this weekend to unplug and get away from the blue screen. Go to a quiet place. Feel the breeze. Feel the sunshine. Listen for His small, still voice. See how many times this weekend you can exchange quiet time with God for electronic time. If you can make it a practice during the week too imagine the improvement that intentional act will have on your health (lower blood pressure, less anxiety, improved sleep), your family, your job…
“I am Life and Light in abundance. As you spend time “soaking” in My Presence, you are energized and lightened. Through communing with Me, you transfer your heavy burdens to My Strong Shoulders. By gazing at Me you gain My perspective on your life. This time alone with Me is essential for unscrambling your thoughts and smoothing out the day, and the path, before you. Be willing to fight for this precious time with Me. Opposition comes in many forms. As you grow in your desire to please Me above all else, you gain the strength to resist these opponents. Delight yourself in Me, for I am the deepest Desire of your heart.” (Adapted from Jesus Calling, by Sarah Young)
So He said, “Go forth and stand on the mountain before the LORD.” And behold, the LORD was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:12)