It was a great first day at the Acts 29: Healthy Leaders Conference that I am attending in Dallas, Texas with my friends. One of the breakout sessions I attended was entitled Creating A Culture of Renewal and Rest (How to Avoid Burnout) and in this session Pastor Harvey Turner shared an insight that I was somewhat aware of, but had never been able to put words to. In speaking about the importance of rest he stated:
"Knowledge of self comes from rest. Therefore, without rest you will only repent from the edges of your soul."
May it never be said about me that I only had the ability to repent from the edges of my soul. May I always make rest a priority so that I have the time and space to become self-aware of not only my bad behaviors, but also, what is driving those bad behaviors. May I never be so delusional to think that repenting from the edges of my soul is enough. May I always be thoroughly convinced that if I am not repenting from the center of my soul, I am not opening myself up to the full measure of God's grace, mercy, and healing that He desires to pour out into my life. In other words, may I never be so rushed and busy with doing the work of God that I am neglecting the work God is doing in me.
Are you afraid of rest? Are you afraid of silence and solitude? Are you afraid of quieting the noise in your life because if you do the truth about who you are and how you need God's grace will be made self-evident? Are you afraid of the "real you" - with your impure motives, unconfessed sin, and prideful persona? If so, I'd like to remind you...
There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. (1 John 4:18 ESV)
Do not be afraid. God absolutely loves the "real you." Though we are imperfect, He loves us perfectly, and this should free us from our fear of Him. In the same way that we will not allow a dentist to help us until we are convinced he doesn't intend to harm us, we must trust that God is for us if we truly desire for Him to free us.
Do not be afraid of rest. Do not avoid pressing pause on your work obligations to find out who the "real you" is. Do not neglect sabbaticals, sabbaths, silence, or solitude. Why?
Because only when you are made aware of the "center of your sin" can you repent from the "center of your soul."