When you think of the term rest, what comes to mind? Is it a break or vacation from work? More sleep at night? Five minutes to yourself? A babysitter? A day of no tasks to complete? Binge watching your favorite tv shows? Time set aside for self-care and pampering? A mental escape from overwhelming anxiety?
Have you ever considered the act of surrender as being a form of rest? Surrender, in this sense, alludes to humbly positioning yourself before God. Perhaps you have found yourself relying on your own self-sufficiency lately. Or maybe you have wound up tangled in the busyness of life that you have lost sight of God’s presence in it all.
When you think about your personal definition of rest, ask yourself if these moments of rest include conscious contact with our Creator. If they don’t, then may you be encouraged to realign your focus on Jesus. Doing so just might redefine your perception of what true rest looks like.
Our soul craves an intimate connection with God. When we find ourselves turning to worldly things to satisfy our need for rest, we walk away from them unsatisfied. Why? Because we have attempted to fill a void in our lives that only Jesus can fill. Surface-level approaches will never satisfy our heart’s deepest longing and many times leads to more burnout. Does this mean that literal physical rest (i.e., sleep, time off from work) is unimportant? On the contrary! Our body still needs periods of rest to function properly (i.e., variety diet, post-workout recovery time, healthy work/life balance, etc.). Nor am I suggesting that various activities that facilitate a state of “external” rest are bad in and of themselves. I am referring to rest within our soul–our core connection to the One who made everything.
God tells us time and again in the Bible that those who walk their own path apart from the Lord will find trouble and no rest for their souls (Isaiah 57:18-21, Romans 8:1, Proverbs 15:29, John 8:34). But it is Jesus who invites us all to rest in his presence (Matthew 11:28-30). God, himself, has delivered the solution. Granted, we must be aware that rest does not mean that life will suddenly be void of difficult circumstances or conflict. What it does mean is that Jesus will help us walk through them. In him we have the courage and strength to conquer whatever we may face in this life (John 14:27; Isaiah 40:31, 41:10). In our weakness and weariness, God is glorified (2 Corinthians 12:9). In other words, when we recognize our need for God, when we depend upon our Savior, God’s power is made perfect. He makes the way where we don’t have to.
May we be gently reminded that we are invited to cast off our anxieties and trust in God’s provision (Matthew 6:25-34, Philippians 4:6-7). When the weight of everyday life compounds over time and leaves us longing for rest and rejuvenation, we can rest assured that God is ready to restore. Our task is to surrender ourselves so that we may receive from the Giver of Life.
Examine your heart. Is there something you are struggling with? Are you willing to surrender it before the Lord?
My prayer for you this week:
Psalm 55:22 NLT
Give your burdens to the Lord, and he will take care of you. He will not permit the godly to slip and fall.
Psalm 46:10 ESV
“Be still and know that I am God.”