Traditionally, during the months of November and December, some people complain a lot about being worn out, tired, stressed and/or overwhelmed. Let’s face it… there is a lot to do!! I believe this year can be a different holiday season for each of us as we choose to apply faith regarding true rest.
I used to think rest just meant sneaking in a cat nap on an otherwise fully scheduled day; or even heading to bed a little earlier than normal. While quality sleep is a must, there is a broader definition of rest. Honestly, for me, I felt like taking a nap was “wasting time”. Perhaps you find it easy to take a nap or head to bed early. Or perhaps you are like me and push through when it seems there are things to do.
God never intended for us to live a stressed out, rest-deprived life. John 10:10 in the New Living Translation says, “The thief's purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” Jesus came so we could not only have life, but also enjoy it! If we find ourselves stressed and overwhelmed, we really are not enjoying life.
The first part of Isaiah 14:3 (KJV) discusses rest. “And it shall come to pass in the day, that the LORD shall give thee rest…” Here the Hebrew translation of the word rest is to give comfort, to cease from, to be quiet and remain. The idea is that when we walk in true rest, we cease from doing that which is preventing us from resting. Within this definition a change in what we are doing can bring rest. Note that this may not always mean sleeping, but rather a change or cessation of what one is doing or a direction one is going.
In the New Testament, Matthew 11:28 gives a great picture of rest. “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Here the word rest translates as a refreshing. Some people think that God will just immediately give them rest. Well the next verse gives us some more direction: Matthew 11:29 (KJV), “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.”
As we learn to walk in the way He directs, we will find true rest. For example, God may tell us not to commit to an event three months down the road when we are going to need to be free then. Or He may tell us to take an afternoon off from our normal schedule. When He leads us to say no to a commitment or opportunity, He is helping us find that refreshing. When we learn of Him, and follow His guiding, we will consistently find true rest.
So, when we are following His leading, we can find true refreshing for our lives! I love the way this verse in Matthew is laid out in The Message Bible. "Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." (MSG)
That real rest is what I am endeavoring to walk in everyday. While events, responsibilities, holiday duties could cause any of to feel overwhelmed and worn out, we can walk in real rest when we learn to trust Him with our schedule! He will lead us and guide us.
On the natural side it is also important to remember that each of us refresh and refuel in different ways. For example, when looking at personality strengths, someone with a dominant approach usually find that refreshing is doing something. This can truly provide rest if it is doing something different than normal. Like the Hebrew definition revealed, rest can be found when one ceases from the direction he or she is going. On the other hand, a person with a strong interpersonal personality finds himself or herself refueled and refreshed when spending time with others. Ways to truly rest are endless!
Still think you can’t walk in real rest because of your lifestyle? Consider the following:
1. Perhaps your natural schedule needs to change.
2. Are you trusting God to lead and guide you everyday?
3. Are you trusting Him to provide true refreshing for you?
4. Are you spending time in His presence daily?
Let’s endeavor to apply our faith to this part of our lives. Let’s head into the holiday season and the new year trusting God to guide us and to show us how to find real rest in Him. Let’s recognize when we are trying to function solely in our own strength and let’s change that and fully rely on God for direction, strength and rest. Let’s make sure we are daily in His presence and seeking His face as we grow in this area of life.
Pray this prayer with me:
Thank You Lord, for showing me Your desire for me to daily find real rest. Thank You Lord, for sending Your Son Jesus to die for me so that I can have and enjoy life. Father forgive me for trying to do things on my own. I will endeavor to learn Your unforced rhythms of living and walking out my life. I will trust You to show me how to find real rest. Thank You Lord for Your supernatural strength to live life.
Isaiah 14:3a (KJV)
And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest…
Matthew 11:28-30 (Amp)
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavily burdened [by religious rituals that provide no peace], and I will give you rest [refreshing your souls with salvation]. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me [following Me as My disciple], for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST (renewal, blessed quiet) FOR YOUR SOULS. For My yoke is easy [to bear] and My burden is light.
Matthew 11: 28-30 ( The Message)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me--watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly."