_ Study _
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.” ESV
“You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally. I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself.” MSG
_ Read _
We huddled together at the starting line, shivering with anticipation. Our eyes didn’t dart from side to side, but remained fixed on that unseeable finish line that stood waiting miles ahead. We were ready to run. We were ready to begin.
My arms hung loose at my sides and my fists unclenched. My body leaned slightly forward in anticipation of its next move. At this moment, before the jostling of arms and elbows to get to the head of the pack — my body, my mind, and my heart were at rest.
It might seem strange to relate rest to running, but something I’ve learned over time is that rest has never meant inactive.
Maybe you’re like me and you feel like you’re always running. You’re tired, weary, and striving to get back on top. Of your life. Of your responsibilities. Of your relationships. You know where you’re going, but you’re not so sure you’re going to make it there. And if you’re honest, rest seems like giving up and giving in. And for you, that’s not an option. Perhaps you even feel like rest is intangible, and more so impossible, because of this season of life you are in.
The problem is, we often confuse rest for retreat. But, we don’t have to retreat. We don’t have to stop running the race set before us. We don’t have to shut down or give up or discontinue to find rest because rest isn’t just a moment to inhabit but a mindset to cultivate.
As believers, we can look to Jesus for an example of what that looks like. When I see Jesus at rest, I see Him with His Father. When I see Jesus at rest, I see Him with others. When I see Jesus at rest, I see Him in total peace and confidence of what is to come. He is at work in the world around Him, but abides in the Father within Him. We can do that, too.
We may be running, friends. We may be collapsing from exhaustion. But, we can still be rested by abiding in Jesus.
I’ve learned that when we run from a position of rest by abiding in Jesus— then we can run to win.
_ Practice _
Set aside a few minutes to create a simple mission statement that will refocus your vision on the Father during times of rest, and in times of running, too. Use the following questions to help guide you and spend some time in prayer. Then, find a place where you can post your statement and be reminded of the true purpose of rest in your life.
Above all else, what are you running for? What is your prize that lies ahead of you?
What makes running from rest different from striving? Can you tell when you’re doing one instead of the other?
What does God say about rest? How can you realign your vision to meet His?
Why is making space for rest important —not just for yourself, but for the Kingdom?
Guest writer, Tabitha Panariso
This devotional was written by my friend, Tabitha Panariso.
Tabitha is a devoted wife, mom of three and a very wordy, typically unfiltered, writer of life and faith. She spends the majority of her days at home with her kids taking advantage of any other free time by pouring into her friendships and community. Over and over again, Tabitha is relearning that her worth has nothing to do with her doing and all to do with her being — His.
Connect with Tabitha via Instagram or her website.
This devotional is part of the A Restful Advent series.
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