I’m a get-it-done girl. At least I’ve always liked to think I am.
Here’s the reality: For far too long, I loaded way too many things on my plate. I became overwhelmed and paralyzed. Unable to finish what I started. I felt like a failure, always assuming that women far better than I could have most likely conquered these tasks with ease — and time to spare. I resolved to work harder. Be more organized. Become more efficient.
And I started the cycle all over again.
Then, after years of chronic illness, I suffered a health crisis that brought me to my knees. Literally. For nearly two weeks, I could do nothing but lie there, alternating between sleep and reruns of Chopped and Dr. Phil.
This happened to occur during an incredibly busy season for me and just weeks before a big conference I was organizing.
I had no choice but to pare down my to-do list. I was forced to ask for help — a lot. I had to let go of control and trust that God would make Himself known and powerful and sufficient in my weakness. Honestly, it wasn’t even a struggle. Because it wasn’t a choice. My body was not going to cooperate. Period. Imagine trying to drive a car with a flat tire. That was about all the momentum I was going to achieve on my own power.
And. God. showed. up. Beyond my wildest dreams. He brought people — some I didn’t even know — from out of the woodwork to help me with all the needed preparations. Absolutely no one noticed all those “had-to-get-done” details that I was forced to let go of. And the Holy Spirit showed up on the day of the event in a way I can’t explain. Women’s lives were changed. I had never felt His presence in a room so powerfully.
Something changed in me that day. For perhaps the first time, I truly understood the power of doing nothing. It is so counter-intuitive. We’re constantly bombarded with emails and webinars about how to achieve more productivity, better efficiency and how to get more done in less time.
But sometimes we are most productive when we … rest. Truly rest. I’m not talking about taking a nap — although sometimes we desperately need that. But I’m referring to more than physical rest. I’m talking about mental rest.
Rest can be turning off your computer on Sundays. Limiting time on Facebook. Keeping media time to a minimum.
It can mean simply being quiet for 10-15 minutes after spending time with God in the morning just to make room to hear His voice.
It might be relaxing after dinner instead of catching up on all the urgent tasks that will be there tomorrow — acknowledging that our fast-growing teenager or a special opportunity to connect with our husband won’t.
Our to-do list will never end. It will always be longer and more demanding than our abilities. Sometimes the best thing we can do is periodically lay it aside and rest in the power of doing nothing.
Our powerful God — Who never tires — will not disappoint.
Today’s takeaway: Resting from our to-do lists is an opportunity to enter into the arms of the One who never tires or disappoints. And when we rest in Him, He is able to do even more for us than we could ever do for ourselves.
Melinda Means is a weary soul in need of refreshment from the only Source who can quench our thirst. After years of chronic pain and questioning God’s plan, she has finally found the joy of seeking the Healer more than the healing. It’s a long journey that has led her to peace and hope. She is Women’s Director at her church and co-author of Mothering From Scratch: Finding the Best Parenting Style for You and Your Family (Bethany House, 2015) and Invisible Wounds: Hope While You’re Hurting. A professional speaker and writing coach, Melinda has been featured on Faith Radio, Houston’s Sunday Night Live! and 100 Huntley Street, as well as numerous other radio outlets. She and husband Mike are parents to a teenage son, Micah, and a college-age daughter, Molly.