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Time for rest

I haven't written a blog post in over two months. I have not disappeared into thin air and neither have rejected writing. During the past two months, my new book "Created In God's Image" has been published. Following the publication, I have been sorting out orders, attending radio interviews and writing newspaper articles for other Christian organisations. When I go quiet, it does not mean that I have stopped writing. Writing is my first love so it usually means all my energy is going into being creative.

This week marks the beginning of the summer holidays. Not being in education, why should the school holidays matter to me?! During the school holidays, I like to take some time off work. The beauty of being self-employed means I can choose my own hours. The flip side of that is if I don't work, I don't make money. Term times are busy because of all the activities I have going on to support the girls and women we work with. Therefore, I need to take time when I can to rest and recharge ahead of the busyness of the next term.

As I slowed down this week, I am reminded of a few verses from Psalm 23.

Verse 1:

In my head, I see a picture of sheep laying out in a field all-day carefree. Their shepherd comes out to them when they need to be fed or put away in their shelter. Sheep lack nothing because of the trust they have in their caregiver (their shepherd).

In the same way, Psalmist, David is referring to us as sheep. Similarly to sheep relying on their shepherd to meet their needs, we can rely on the Lord to take care of us. Therefore, we lack nothing, because everything we need, the Lord will give to us. We read examples in the Bible of when Jesus rested (Matthew 8:23 - 24) after a long day of ministry and even more importantly, He took time to be with His Heavenly Father just before His arrest and crucifixion (Matthew 26:36 -56). The significance of taking time to be with His Heavenly Father before going through with the crucifixion speaks volumes. The trust Jesus had in His Heavenly Father's plan, we need that to have the same level of trust in God and the plan He has for us.

Verse 2:

The important thing we must understand here is God isn't making us lie down. When a shepherd looks after his sheep, they can lie down all day because they know he will be back. The sheep know they are loved because the shepherd has the sheep's best interests at heart. They feel that love through the way the shepherd cares for them.

In the same way, the Lord knows what we need and what is good for us. Therefore, we need to trust Him and know it's okay to take time out. The Psalmist uses nature as a reminder to us of how good God is. All we have to do is look out of the window in the morning to be reminded of His beautiful creation. When we look at the world around us, we are assured that there is nothing can't do or won't do for us! The imagery the Psalmist uses brings us into a state of calmness through these idyllic pictures he creates.

The impression this Psalmist gives off is that the Lord permits us to time out. He is reminding us that He has everything under control. Everything we give over Him, He will take care of no matter how big or small it is. When we do so, we view everything differently because all our stresses and worries are gone. It's like a weight is lifted off our shoulders.

Verse 3:

The Psalmist clearly states that when we give everything over to Him, the Lord refreshes our souls. He gives us rest in a way we have never experienced before. When we allow Him to take complete control of our lives, we view life differently. The small things don't matter anymore. We are not bothered about fitting in with the world's ways anymore. Money becomes one of the least important things in our lives because we don't just know that God is in control of our lives, but we put everything on the line. We live accordingly to what His Word says and follow the path He has for us.

As we enter this holiday season, if you are still working, be sensible and be kind to yourself. Remember that you are only human. Therefore, there is only so much one person can do. god created us for community and to work as a team. The other thing is, don't feel guilty for saying no. Take the time out you need. What use are you to anyone if you aren't looking after yourself? Spend time with God, and ask Him if you are doing too much. Ask Him for ways in which you can cut back. Pray that He will fill in the gaps that you leave. Know that the Lord loves you and hears you, and He wants you to do the same back.

By Lizzy Price

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