One of the ways I knew Reggie was the one was my level of comfort with him. You see, we spent the first part of our relationship at a local park overlooking the Potomac River. I would bring a blanket and pillows. Reggie would provide a meal. And there along the bank of the Potomac, we ate, talked, and laughed.
One day, a few months into our budding relationship, I fell asleep. Yep, right there, in the cool of the evening, along the Potomac River, I fell asleep.
Even, more surprising to me, Reggie let me sleep. Instead of being frustrated, Reggie was happy to have an opportunity to watch over me and provide a safe place for me to rest.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I can only sleep when I’m comfortable. I can only rest when the conditions are right.
Part 4 of Choosing Wisely
Several weeks ago, we began a study on decision-making when creating our new lives. Our study uses Genesis 2:15-17, which contains the first choice God gave to humanity, the choice of selecting our food. Looking at humanity’s first choice, we can glean guidelines for making other life choices.
Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, "Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die." ~ Genesis 2:15-17
As part of this study, two weeks ago, we began a deep dive into the Garden of Eden—a habitat for humanity. As we dug into the garden, we learned after forming Adam, God placed him in the garden to rest. Then, last week, we learned that God calls us to rest before work. Today, we continue to look at rest, specifically, the conditions required to rest. As always, I hope today’s post blesses you.Creating a new life begins with a desire, but making your desire a reality takes action—many actions taken over time. Together these actions or activities become our lives. “But what do I do?” you say. This series is my response to… Click To Tweet
Struggling With Rest
In the Creation Story, the context of the passage we’re studying, rest is discussed at points of transition. The first time rest is mentioned God transitioned from a creative posture to a non-creative posture (Genesis 2:2-3). The second time rest is mentioned is in verse 15. Here, God changed man’s position—both relationally when He “took” him and physically when He “put” him In the garden. So, since creating a new life speaks to transition—the end of your previous life and the beginning of your new one, rest is a key component to creating a new life.
And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made. ~ Genesis 2:2-3
Yet, I contend that many of us struggle with rest in regards to creating our new lives. I know I did.
Now, as many of you who follow my writing have probably deduced by now, I’m a word person. Words fascinate me. As a communicator, I believe in certain situations word choice is paramount. This is one of those situations.
I didn’t say, “We struggle to rest” because saying “to rest” uses “to” as part of the infinitive form of the verb “rest”. That means my intention or desired outcome is rest. I don’t know about you, but in the days following Reggie’s passing, I wasn’t trying to rest.
I didn’t want to rest because, on some level, I understood resting meant stopping. In verse 2, God stopped working, then rested. For God, resting follows stopping.
I loved living the life I was living when Reggie died. I didn’t want to stop living it. Just the opposite, I wanted to continue.
“But you wanted a new life,” you might say. Yes, I did, but I didn’t come to that decision until after my life with Reggie ended. I wasn’t trying to end my life with Reggie. It was the life I was living in the months following Reggie’s passing that I wanted to end.
I loved living the life I was living when Reggie died. I didn’t want to stop living it.
So, at first, I struggled with rest—meaning I was “in opposition to” the whole idea of rest. And I came to understand that I struggled because the conditions weren’t right.
As I shared in the opening, resting wasn’t a struggle before Reggie died. Resting wasn’t a struggle until my conditions changed—or at least appeared to change.
My conditions seemed to change because when Reggie died, I experienced an identity crisis. Reggie’s death was so sudden I temporarily lost my sense of self, my position in life. I was no longer Reggie’s wife, but I struggled with adopting my new position as—what I called “the other w-word”—widow.
Resting wasn’t a struggle until my conditions changed.
During his transition, Adam didn’t encounter this problem. You see, the word translated “took” in this passage means “took in marriage.” In other words, Adam gained a relationship—one established by God and without end. The moment God took Adam, they became family forever.
Consequently, Adam immediately knew his place in the world. Adam knew who he was and where he belonged. He was a part of God’s family. That never changed. Even when Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden, their position—their belonging to God’s family—never changed.
No wonder Adam could rest, meaning “stay in a specified position.” Once God brought Adam into His family, Adam stayed there—even after Adam’s sin separated him from God. The same is true for me. Once God brought me into His family, nothing could change my position—even though I was no longer Reggie’s wife, even after Reggie’s death separated me from him.
Once God brought Adam into His family, Adam stayed there—even after Adam’s sin separated him from God.
Nothing could change my position with God—absolutely nothing.
I could rest on that truth. I could build my new life on that solid, unchanging foundation. And you can too.
That brings me to my guideline on decision-making for this post:
Guideline 11: Choose to rest your new life on a solid, unchanging foundation.
- Under what conditions are you able to rest?
- In what ways have you struggled “with” rest?
- Has an identity struggle impacted your ability to rest? If so, how?
The “Choosing Wisely” Series:
- Part 1a – Choosing Wisely
- Part 1b – Getting to the Root
- Part 1c – Fueling Your New Life
- Part 2 – A Habitat for Humanity
- Part 3 – The Order of Rest
- Part 4 – The Right Conditions for Rest
- Part 5 – What’s the Best Decision-Making Process for Creating New Lives?
- Part 6 – Five Freedoms When Creating a New Life
- Part 7 – The Risks of Giving Into Temptation
- Part 8 – How Knowledge Plays in Decision Making
- Part 9 – How Morality Applies to Decision Making
- Part 10 – Biblical Concepts of Time When Making Decisions
- Part 11 – Some Certainties We Have in This Life
- Part 12 – How Will Your Relationship End?
COMPLETE LIST OF GUIDELINES
Guideline #1: Choose activities that align with our assignments.
Guideline #1a: The availability of activities that align with our new lives depends on the level of effort we put into completing our assignments.
Guideline #2: Choose activities that support our assignments.
Guideline #3: Choose activities that provide what our lives and assignments need to live, grow, and stay healthy so that we can produce the best fruit.
Guideline #3a: Choose activities that balance the things related to our assignments that we want to do with the things related to our assignments that we need to do.
Guideline #4: During seasons of plenty, choose activities that for seasons of scarcity by storing excess resources.
Guideline #5: Choose activities that are fueled or empowered by the Son.
Guideline #5a: Choose activities that are fueled by clean energy—energy that doesn’t pollute the environment and has a positive impact on the environment by counteracting the pollution produced by “dirty energy.”
Guideline #5b: Engage in activities that are fueled by renewable energy—energy that is never depleted or is constantly replenished.
Guideline #5c: Choose activities that are fueled by universal energy—energy that is accessible anywhere.
Guideline 6: Choose activities that worship and serve the Lord.
Guideline 7: Choose activities that obey the Lord’s commands.
Guideline 8: Choose activities that are enjoyable and satisfying.
Guideline 9: Choose to complete activities in order.
Guideline 10: Choose to rest before beginning your assignments.
Guideline 11: Choose to rest your new life on a solid, unchanging foundation.