And for many of us, rest is something we long for.
We may not be traveling to different times zones, but the stresses, concerns, busyness, hustle, and burdens of life can leave us feeling weary.
Yet rest can be hard to find.
Looking for Rest
Even as we long for rest, we can have this idea in our heads that we can’t rest. Or at least, we can’t rest right now.
We can have this idea that we need to keep being productive, keep checking off the tasks, keep planning it all, doing it all, figuring it all out, and holding it all together.
So we keep saying, later, tomorrow, this weekend, after this busy season, on vacation.
In this thinking we’re believing a lie: the lie that we can plan it all, do it all, figure it all out, and hold it all together.
This thinking can show up in many ways:
We need to remember that only God is omnipotent: all-powerful and all-able to hold everything together.
Rest is a way we remember this.
So God invites us to rest in Him; to trust His power, might, and ability, and to experience His strength, provision, and direction.
An Invitation to Rest
Scripture says the deep soul-rest we are looking for is found in the Lord:
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1
Probably the most well-known verses about finding rest are Matthew 11:28-30:
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Here’s a different way to think about rest: rest is an action. It is something we must intentionally engage in. It’s not about doing nothing, but about doing that which is from the Lord, to know Him, enjoy Him, glorify Him, and worship Him.
The Action of Rest
In Matthew 11:28-30, there are some specific actions Jesus calls us to in His invitation to rest:
Come to Me…
Jesus invites us to come to Him, to be with Him, to rest in Him.
He doesn’t invite the perfectly-put-together super-woman. Rather, He invites those who know they are tired and weary, and who are tired and weary of trying to do it all on their own.
Rest is found when we recognize our deep and desperate need for Jesus, and confess to Him those burdens we carry - the heavy responsibilities, worrisome concerns, and struggles with sin - knowing He is the only one who can truly help us.
Take My yoke upon you…
The yoke in this passage is a symbol of submission to someone’s authority. Taking Jesus’ yoke means acknowledging His lordship in our lives.*
Rest doesn’t just mean vacations and bubble baths and Netflix binges so we can keep striving in our own strength and hustling for the life we dream of.
In her email series, A Restful Advent, Mindy Larsen says, “Rest is what enables us to do the work God has set before us.”
Rest comes with ordering our time, our priorities, and our resources in such a way that we are in submission to Jesus and able to do the good work He calls us to do, in the strength He promises to give.
Learn from Me…
The yoke is also a metaphor for the discipline of discipleship*
Jesus calls us to be His disciples, to walk in His ways, to learn new ways of being and doing.
Ultimately, rest is about being renewed in Christ-likeness: refreshing our souls, remembering our identity in Christ, recharging our energy, and reviving our motivation, so we can live as who we were created to be, and do what God has called us to do, without feeling like we have to hustle to keep up and measure up.
If you’re feeling tired and weary, this is your permission to rest.
Jesus has invited you: come to Him, confess your burdens, consider what work He has for you, and be renewed in Christ-likeness.