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During a full rest, you are able to perform at your highest level. You probably do your best work when you are relaxed and “in the zone.”
Have you experienced this kind of rest? Would you like to learn how to enter into the rest God intends for you?
God made you with a sweet spot-also called your identity. You put in your effort while relying on God to carry what you were never meant to carry (the bulk of the load).
Sometimes the sweet spot is elusive because of sin and the curse. Sometimes you have to do what you don’t particularly want to do. Overcoming the curse requires hard work. The goal isn’t to eliminate your effort, but instead to optimize your effort.
A sweet spot is that optimal place that maximizes output with the least effort. Hitting your sweet spot is an honorable goal. The center of the sweet spot is you functioning as God intends and feeling His pleasure. If you want to feel God’s pleasure, first you must be free to be yourself.
Do you know what it feels like to pursue what you want to instead of what you have to (because of obligation or responsibility)? God wants you to experience unpressured living at least one day out of seven. The lift you gain from one day of rest can carry into the other six days.
Who are you (how do you live) when you’re under obligation? This is how you fill your day to meet the demands of life. It’s required. So don’t miss this: You’re probably not optimally in touch with your true identity while under obligation. That’s because obligation implies some amount of stress and that changes everything.
Who are you (how do you live) when you’re not under any obligation? This is what you accomplish during productive play. This isn’t lower functioning (brain dead) activities that allow passive living. Restful living means entering into a natural high by functioning at the level of God’s highest purposes for you. This is true recreation-an effort that recovers more energy than it spends.
When you practice entering rest, it will help you when you are under the stress of responsibility. You’ll be able to work more efficiently when you are under stress.
Restful living will be different for each person. What activities bring you more energy as you participate in them?
In the movie, Chariots of Fire, Eric Liddell says, “When I run, I feel His pleasure.” Even though he’s exerting himself completely he has entered God’s rest. He’s burdened with running, but not burdened with debilitating anxieties.
Fulfilling obligations is necessary. But playing is as important as working. To play is to rest. Some people can’t stop working. Their play is only work in disguise.
When God’s power is available genuine play is possible. That’s because He does the heavy lifting. Jesus said:
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.Matthew 11:28-30
Have you ever felt God’s pleasure? You enter God’s rest and He is right there with you expressing His excitement for who you are. God is your cheerleader. Allow His cheers to propel you forward.
Matt Pavlik is a licensed professional clinical counselor who wants to see each individual restored to their true identity. He has more than 20 years of experience counseling individuals and couples at his Christian counseling practice, New Reflections Counseling. Matt and Georgette have been married since 1999 and live with their four children in Centerville, Ohio.