Be honest, when you read that word, was there a little part of you that wants to roll your eyes and say “Haha! What does ’rest’ mean? I never rest”? Trust me— I feel you. I completely understand and there have been times (MANY times) that I have boycotted resting. I used to think that if I slowed down enough to rest, I would either… a) think I was not a good mother or wife because resting meant not completing my motherly or wifely duties or b) think about all of the worries and fears that I had and they would drown me. You may feel the exact same way. That cringe that you made a few lines up might be a fear, a fear that you do not have alone. There are many of us who have the exact fear.
A fear of resting.
Rest means breaking away from your daily routine and allowing yourself to experience peace. Breaking routine is hard for me, personally. One of my strongholds is time and I recently learned this because I was obsessing over time so much that I started to see my family and my relationships around me being affected by it. I would stress that at a specific time everyday certain things had to be done or completed and if that schedule changed just the slightest bit, I would lose it. As a mother of two kiddos under 3, I think that I longed for something to be constant and not changing, so I made time that constant thing. I would find myself looking down at my phone checking the time over twenty times a day, even when I had no plans outside of the home. During my daily checklist, rest was not listed…ever. My husband and I finally had a conversation one night where he was real with me. Sometimes— we need that…a person to be extremely real, raw and honest with us so that we can truly get it. He shared his heart and told me that he felt like time was something that the devil was trying to sling into my life to make me flee from rest. As he told me this, I felt my shoulders relax and I was able to take a deep breath. I realized that I had literally been holding my breath all of the past weeks building up so much pressure on myself and my loved ones to meet a certain time quota that was not needed at all.
That night after our conversation, I spent quiet time at the feet of Jesus and I asked Him for guidance in pushing away my obsession with time. Through this quiet time, I continued hearing Him say, “Rest”. I finally was able to face the fear of rest I had head on and with the strength of Jesus and I started…get ready for it…resting. I know right??? Gasp! I finally allowed myself to rest and y’all, the peace I found is astonishing. I realized that throughout the day, I was creating things to do to add to my plate that were not necessary or beneficial for anyone. Rest can be found in so many ways. It does not have to mean laying down and sleeping. I started sitting my phone down a lot more, because rest can take the place of hours of scrolling on a social media platform. I started sitting down with my kids more and I found rest in playing Barbies with my little girl. I started taking in the breath of fresh air as I walked out to my car, instead of rushing out to hop in the car and speed away to my destination. I found rest in the ordinary moments of my everyday.
My friend, I am here to tell you that it is OK to rest. That’s right, you are allowed to let yourself rest. In fact, Jesus encourages us to rest and take time for ourselves. Rest is actually mentioned over 200 times in the Bible. My very favorite verse, Matthew 11:28-30 states, “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.” God asks you to give over all of your worries, all of your strongholds and simply rest in Him. He promises to take the weight from our shoulders. In Mark 6:30-32, Jesus encouraged his disciples to rest, “The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a desolate place by themselves”. Rest is so important, my friend. We must allow ourselves to rest so that we not only are refreshed, but so that we are, also, renewed in Christ. Rest is spiritual and through rest, we can experience the peace, freedom and redemption that God longs for His children to have.
This week, I encourage you to find rest in the moments that make up your days. Cling to the Lord and He will give you the rest that you need. Release the control, release the strongholds, release the fear of resting. Rest in Him.