There are a few things that need to be in place in order for me to have a good night's rest. I recognize that these are indeed personal preferences and that I have admittedly slept with some or none of these things in place. However, I I know enough about myself to know that I will more than likely have a good night's rest if the following are in place:
1 - Loose and Comfortable cotton clothing
2 - A Slight chill in the air, or at least a fan
3 - A Pillow-top mattress
4 - At Least Two Pillows
5 - Fuzzy Socks - especially in winter
6 - A Fragrant Candle [Don't judge me, I know you should not fall asleep with a candle lit. I usually blow it out in the middle of the night... if knowing that alleviates your anxiety.]
7 - Locked Doors and a Night light if I am in a strange place, which is any place that is not my legal place of residence
Yes. So now you know what helps me to rest. And I have already acknowledged that all of these things are not always in place and I sleep just fine; however, ideally, in my perfect sleep world, I would prefer all 7 to be a part of my nightly routine. What about you? What do you need to rest well? How do you prepare to sleep through the night so that you can awake refreshed?
Friends, these are just my personal preferences. I am not going to be cranky or overly agitated if all or some of the seven on my list are not in place. I will adjust. I will sleep. I will fix my mind to make it work. I usually will not complain if my sleeping conditions or preferences are found to be below my expectations. I go on to bed and focus on the fact that I will be closer to going home when I wake up in the morning.
I know this might sound strange to you. Perhaps you have never even really thought about what you need to do in order to prepare to rest. I challenge you to do so. I challenge you to think about the details necessary for you to rest at night... and to rest in your life.
Yes. I said rest in your life and I do not mean your eternal life. I mean in your life right now. How do you prepare to take a Sabbath so that you can be renewed, refreshed, and revived for your journey?
In our passage of scripture for today, the people had to prepare to rest. Moses had led the Children of Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and toward the Promised Land but they were not there yet. Actually, they would not get there for another 40 years and Moses would not be the one to get them there. But I digress. Anyway, in Exodus 16, they were instructed to prepare to rest, to prepare to take a Sabbath, to prepare to keep one day Holy unto the Lord.
22 On the sixth day the people collected twice as much food as usual, two omers per person. All the chiefs of the community came and told Moses.23 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said, ‘Tomorrow is a day of rest, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil. But you can set aside and keep all the leftovers until the next morning.’” 24 So they set the leftovers aside until morning, as Moses had commanded. They didn’t stink or become infested with worms. 25 The next day Moses said, “Eat it today, because today is a Sabbath to the Lord. Today you won’t find it out in the field.26 Six days you will gather it. But on the seventh day, the Sabbath, there will be nothing to gather.”
Prepare to rest. How often do we really prepare to rest? We might have our prepare for bedtime nightly routine, but have you ever thought about the things that need to be in place for you to have a good night's rest? Have you ever thought about what things you need to do in order to prepare for Sabbath? Have you ever taken the time to think about what might need to change in your life so that you can embrace the gift of rest that is available to us all?
Friends, prepare to rest.
And prepare to rest in the Lord.
The Children of Israel were in a position to gather all that they needed so that they could honor the Sabbath. The Lord was going to provide, and had already been providing for six days but on the seventh, they were to be still. They were to work and to gather and to eat and to be satisfied with all that the Lord had provided for six days. And on the sixth day, they were to hold back enough for the seventh day so they could continue to be provided for even when they did not go out to work and to gather the manna. They had already seen what would happen if they tried to store food on any other day that the Lord had not instructed them to store food. It would stink and be infested with worms and basically spoiled if they stored what the Lord had not instructed them to store. But because of the holiness of the Sabbath, this special day that was to be unto the Lord and set aside for rest, though they were restricted from working and gathering, they would have already been in possession of everything they needed to have a great Sabbath. They would have been prepared.
I am so grateful that in the infinite wisdom of the Almighty, there is a special emphasis on a time of rest, a time of Sabbath that we should all honor. We should also seek the Lord for how we are to prepare to rest. Our time of Sabbath may or nay not be identical and that is OK. The point is that we should be intentional to set aside time for God and that we do whatever it is we need to do in order to prepare ourselves for that sacred time.
For when we do not do what God asks of us by way of preparation for rest and Sabbath, there are consequences...
27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather bread, but they found nothing. 28 The Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to obey my commandments and instructions? 29 Look! The Lord has given you the Sabbath. Therefore, on the sixth day he gives you enough food for two days. Each of you should stay where you are and not leave your place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. [Exodus 16:22-30]
BlogFam, this blog comes as a wake up call to some of us. It is time to pay attention to the ways that God is preparing us to rest. Preparation in ways that we have denied or ignored or maybe we have been uncomfortable with because we have never prepared our lives in this way before. This is a lesson in obedience as much as it is a heavenly desire for you to be ready for whatever comes after you rest and set aside your Sabbath as unto the Lord.
Friends, I pray that you would seek the Lord for how you need to prepare to rest. I pray that you would take seriously the need to work and to gather in advance of your Sabbath so that when it is time for you to pray or worship or be quiet or meditate or however the Lord is calling for you to honor the Sabbath, that you would put your life in order, be obedient, so you can take your rest. I pray that you will not spoil your Sabbath because you are unprepared. I pray that you will be bold and courageous in claiming your time of preparation and that whatever you need to have rest is in place.
God LOVES You and I Do Too!!!