May I Rest?

May . . .

I love May . . .

Warm air, sunshine, flowers, birds, strawberries—even mangos—my local store has mangos! What’s not to love? We have a holiday in May. It’s the end of school. My daughter was born in May. I love May . . .

So why am I tired? I don’t know about you but for some reason, this year, I’m not finding that extra boost of energy and excitement. Everything is good; it’s actually great! My family is great. I am happy, healthy, loving my job, growing in a community, and having opportunities to be on mission. Hmm . . . maybe, this May, I just need a bit of rest.

When you lead something—a group, a family, a trip, anything—you can become tired. I hear it’s OK to be tired. Jesus was tired. He took time to sleep in a boat, walk in a garden, pray alone, go to weddings, talk with friends, and even rest at a well.

Someone asked me today what it meant to live missionally. I shared that I thought it meant everything from the big decisions, such as where to go to school, what job to take, whom to marry or not to marry, to the small ones, such as being in the moment with God and connecting with opportunities to love, encourage, share, pray, give hugs, etc. We can always do something for God. What a privilege . . . and a bit of a challenge. Where is the balance of resting and living missionally?

Sometimes I feel selfish if I take time to rest even though I know the Sabbath is scriptural and Jesus seemed to embrace rest. The needs of the world really do weigh heavily on my heart. I care about people and want to help. I need to know what God wants me to do and especially how He wants me to rest.

Maybe God’s rest isn’t either/or. What if resting in the Lord doesn’t necessarily mean with my feet up on the couch? Although that does happen sometimes, I think there is a deeper rest that comes when I lay my burdens down. When I am not the one trying to change the world. It is Him. It’s all Him.

Selfishness could be trying to change the world by myself. Somehow my focus is on me. Leaning on God and following His plan moves even my missional heart to be more selfless. My focus is less of myself as the primary actor and more of God taking His rightful place. I’m willing to serve but sensing His leadership. I’m trusting Him with the needs around me both in seasons of sacrifice and seasons when He leads me beside still waters. After all, I’m not the one who has all the answers; it’s God. It is His Word, not mine, that doesn’t come back void. It is His death on a cross and resurrection that brings eternal life, not mine. Whatever my life offers to the cause of missions, I know it is only God’s work that is eternal. So I can rest, in Him, as I go.

I pray this month we can all grow in what it means to rest as we live missionally, trusting God to lead. 


Laura Harper is a new ministry consultant at WMU. She loves her family, coffee, chocolate, and all things missions.





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