The Labor of Rest

As most of you may know the hubby and I work for a humanitarian organization. As humanitarians we’ve had the privilege of traveling a lot and seeing a lot…both good and bad.

So it’s easy for us to understand our company’s new mission: to reach the toughest places on earth. Because we’ve been to these toughest places—back roads in Africa, treacherous mountains in Central America, and far away villages in Central America.

But for people like Reed and I sometimes our “toughest” places look different. You see, when Reed and I are stuck in a mudslide, flying a small plane to a remote village, or just experiencing a new culture for the first time we are in our element—we come alive! We get that feeling that overtakes you when you think to yourself, “This is what God created me for!” It’s us at our best…

But what most people don’t know is that we only spend about 10% of our time on the field or “at our best.” The other 90% of the time we must work diligently from behind a cubicle, tracking shipments, designing banners, answering emails, writing reports and so on. And as I think about what the majority of our time as a humanitarian worker looks like I realize that sitting behind the cubicle is our “toughest place.”

And for now that’s okay, because it’s the path God has us on. But there is something you must watch out for when you sit inside the cube world—schedules. As Americans we are taught to obey schedules and of course if you can get ahead of the schedule, well, you’re a better man than most.

Seem ironic, because if you’ve ever visited another country you know that there are very few places that hold schedules to such a high standard as us Americans. Living in South America for a couple years taught me the Latino Time Table, which I’m a big fan of since I was no longer late to anything!

So what do we do with our entrapment to schedules? Well if you’re me, you forget about it and make it happen. You stay late at work, sacrifice your social life, and ultimately your health.

Lately I’ve realized just how much pressure I’ve been putting on myself to stick to my schedule and deadlines. But this week it came to a head.


I’ve been battling stomach problems my whole life, but in the past 6 month they’ve finally irritated me enough to see a doctor. So while I continue to fight the daily routine of pain and fatigue and figuring out the 5 things I can eat that won’t hurt me, I somehow started to come down with sore throat. “No big deal,” I thought. “It will go away,” I said...Ugh, 12 hours later and I’m still pining away for my hot water and lemon essential oils.


Then I realized something. If I won’t stop my schedule God will.

No, I don’t have cancer or need brain surgery as some of my friends are actually facing today, but I do need rest. And not just the kind I get at night. I need time away from work, a chance for my body to heal, and an opportunity to sit still and hear from the Lord.

But it’s hard. When I know I have friends facing more significant health battles than me, I don’t want to acknowledge that I’m weak or need prayer. I don’t want to tell people about my struggles after hearing about co-workers who may not be with us in a couple of months. But that’s selfish. If we do not share our burdens with others then we are depriving them of their chance to intercede on our behalf. And we are also telling God that we can handle this without him.

So I stand convicted and ask for forgiveness. The Lord has my attention as I’m forced to lay on the couch and stop working. So let’s share in each other burdens no matter how big or small. Feel free to email me or leave a comment in ways we can encourage and pray for each other.

I leave you with a segment from The Balanced Wife blog:

“I'm afraid of what will happen if I take my foot off the gas or stop trying to squeeze the most productivity out of the day- it already feels like I'm always behind, and that feels heavy. But He is our respite. Spending time with him will teach me to live freely and lightly. What I know and hold to today is that when my labor on earth is done, I want to have spent more time worshipping my Father than my schedule.”