When You Need Rest
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30, ESV)
Biblical usage of the word rest (anapauo) means “to cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect one’s strength; to give rest, refresh, to give one’s self rest, take rest; or to keep quiet, of calm and patient expectation.”
Refusing to actively rest with Jesus by juggling my never-ending to do list keeps my soul distant from being able to hear his voice and know his presence.I am in a season where choosing rest feels untouchable. I am spinning more plates than I can keep track of and running myself ragged to keep them from crashing to the ground in a thousand shattered pieces. I say yes to many good things. People I enjoy. Activities I enjoy. Work I enjoy. All good things…and…
With my many yesses, I am beginning to experience a level of exhaustion—both physically and in my soul. A friend has noticed this recurring theme where I fill my days with so much “busy” that it ultimately leaves me unable to be fully present at any one moment. Her words, “Tracy, you can’t keep going like this,” echo inside me and leave me pondering, Will I receive Jesus’ invitation to choose rest?
The rest Jesus offers is not about taking a vacation (although listening to some ocean waves sounds very appealing), it is not staring at a television screen for hours, nor is it merely taking a nap in the afternoon. True rest comes only from Jesus himself—his presence. Choosing to receive his yoke (that which brings us together in balance with him), we find rest for our souls. It’s very easy to fill our day with tee times, coffee dates, dinner reservations, and work meetings. Are we willing to leave room to be with Jesus?
Refusing to actively rest with Jesus by juggling my never-ending to do list keeps my soul distant from being able to hear his voice and know his presence. Being present with Jesus is the fuel that allows us to be present in the moments of our days, including the time we spend swinging a golf club.
The big question then is how do we choose rest?
Here are a few things that I am learning…
Contemplative Prayer. Scheduling time in the morning for a period of silence. Start with 10 minutes and build to 20 minutes. Each time your thoughts go awry, consider it an opportunity to choose to come back to Jesus.
Self-care and self-kindness. Introverts, you have permission to take time to be alone. Extraverts, you have permission to say no. Take a walk, read a book, journal, nap, be creative, exercise.
Play. Be intentional about doing something you love. Golf, cards, sports, travel, good food, dance…the canvas is yours to paint.
I am in need of rest for my soul. I need Jesus. How about you?
July 13, 2017
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