Last week I took a much-needed break from technology. For a few days, I fasted from using my cell phone; that meant no calling or texting family or friends. I gave up my right to use my computer—no checking email, Facebook, or Twitter. You might wonder, Were you in prison? Well, yes and no. It was a solitary confinement specifically and lovingly planned by the hand of God through a ministry called Soul Rest.
Rest is high priority with God. He rested after the six days of creation, and on the seventh day, “God had finished all the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work,” says Genesis 2:2. God ordained the Sabbath, the year of Jubilee (when the land rests and debt is forgiven), and designed humans to need sleep for a percentage of time every twenty-four hours. God has made us to function best with adequate amounts of rest for our body, mind, and soul. “Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk in it; then you will find rest for your souls,” Jeremiah 6:16.
God’s plan for me at Soul Rest was for me to hold still long enough for Him to love me. To prepare for my time at Soul Rest, the spiritual director asked me to read Psalm 139 as if for the very first time. I recorded my thoughts and emotions about God’s heart for me. “For you created my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well,” Psalm 139:13–14. I’d read the scripture hundreds of times before, but now it seemed brand new, alive. This was pure spiritual refreshment for me. I had scheduled the time six months prior; little did I know how parched my soul would be. I had come with anxious questions, an over-thinking mind, and an absence of inner peace.
At the end of the first day, as I prayed through an assignment, it was almost as if a flashing neon light went on inside my head. “Cease striving and know that I am God.” I looked up the verse “Be still and know that I am God,” in Psalm 46:10. I prayed, “Oh so that’s what you want, Lord? You want my full attention.” “Yes,” He said. “I want you. I want you to stop. Worship me.” I didn’t realize I had not been worshipping our great God nearly as much as He deserves or with all the adoration and passion I can muster.
At Soul Rest, I had permission to sit and read, worship, listen, wait, focus on God—what amazing remedy. Within a few hours, it didn’t matter whether or not I received answers to my questions. What mattered was I had gotten back to basics: “Jesus replied: ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind,’“ Matthew 22:37. Everything goes back to loving and worshipping Jesus. I praised God for “You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast because he trusts in you,” Isaiah 26:3. And I also praised Him for “The path of the righteous is level; O upright One, you made the way of the righteous smooth. Yes, Lord, walking in the ways of your laws we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts,” Isaiah 26:7–8. It seems so simple, doesn’t it? Love God, worship God. For many of us, we must give ourselves permission to turn off our phones and computers. It’s OK to stop. “Be still and know that I am God,” says Psalm 46:10. We must schedule time for Soul Rest.