Rest doesn’t come easy for me. The idea of rest is simple, but carrying it out is just plain hard. I am not a natural rester. In fact, when my parents were here for a two week visit , my dad said the one thing he noticed about me was that I hardly ever stopped moving. Why is it that some of us find rest so difficult?
First let’s define rest as Noah does in the original 1828 dictionary (which, by the way, is my favorite dictionary of all time.) If you aren’t familiar with this jewel, I highly recommend acquainting yourself with Mr. Webster, as you will find him to be a fabulous friend and resource for all the best words (and definitions) you need in life. He defines rest as:
“Cessation of motion or action of any kind, and applicable to any body or being; as rest from labor; rest from mental exertion; rest of body or mind. A body is at rest, when it ceases to move; the mind is at rest, when it ceases to be disturbed or agitated; the sea is never at rest.”
I have found that true, deep, lasting rest requires both body and mind to work together. And the problem is that my body and my mind are busy. Like, really busy. And my body is busy because my mind is busy telling my body to get to work. I’m constantly thinking and analyzing and wondering and planning and doing and “what-iffing.” With all there is in this world to do and think about and worry about, it’s no wonder we’re busy. Even the times when we try to force our bodies to rest, our minds refuse to follow. And who can rest with an exerted or agitated mind? I certainly can’t.
So, what’s a girl to do? Well, first off, I have found that even though I don’t say it, I tend to live like it all really does depend on me. As a dear friend once told me,
“You speak out of what you think in your mind, but you live out of what you believe in your heart.”
I doubt. I fret. I wonder how it will all get done. (Whatever “it” is.) Why? Because the truth is, I just don’t trust. Trust is defined as:
“Confidence; a reliance or resting of the mind on the integrity, veracity, justice, friendship or other sound principle of another person.” -Noah Webster’s 1828 Dictionary
Did you get that? Trust is a resting of the mind. And just who do you suppose might be trustworthy enough for us to rest our minds on? We know the answer: the almighty, all loving, all sufficient God. But still, we worry. I worry. I worry about what will happen if I actually…stop. Interesting how it’s difficult for me to even think of stopping. Sometimes I think if I stop, I won’t start again. Sometimes I think the whole world will fall apart if I stop. Because doesn’t someone have to keep this world going? The answer is yes, Someone does. And guess what, He doesn’t need my help. Shocking, isn’t it? That’s right, God is perfectly capable of holding my little world together. The question is, “Will I let Him?” Not if I don’t trust Him.
The beautiful thing is that when I do choose to stop, when I do take the time to transfer all those cumbersome thoughts and burdens I’m carrying around onto the All Sufficient One, then and only then, can I rest. But I have to take the time to remind myself of who my God is and all that He’s capable of. And if God in His wisdom designed us to rest, then maybe, just maybe, He can handle things while I’m resting. 😉
Rest is part of living an intentional life. And living an intentional life takes work. You see, the flesh is not intentional. I take that back. The flesh is actually quite intentional. It’s intentional about stealing our joy and destroying our lives. But to live a productive, purposeful, focused life takes hard work. And though rest is simple, it’s not easy. But we can choose to remember that He is sufficient and He calls us to cast all our cares on Him. And when we do, we find that He gives us rest – good, wholesome, satisfying rest. Well, my friends, what are we waiting for? Let’s get to resting.
Matthew 11:28-29 (NASB)
“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, 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.”
If you have any insight to add regarding rest, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section below. 🙂
Learning to rest in Jesus,