Estimated reading time: 5 minutes:-)
This morning, it’s raining, and I’m stuck inside my house waiting for the storm.
If you live in Colorado, you know what I mean. Apparently, a huge storm is coming this weekend that’s supposed to drop feet of snow, one of the biggest storms we’ve had in years. It’s a little delayed, so it’s only raining right now (at least at my house), but the snow is coming.
I know many of you had to cancel plans this weekend. Shifts have been shortened, flights cancelled, and many of you decided to stay home instead of going on your spring break trips.
So I thought this morning would be a terrific time to talk about rest.
But before we dive in, I’d like to admit something.
I’m the absolute worst at resting.
Usually, I work until I drop. I read or write until I pass out at night, I workout until I’m shaking, and I squeeze every drop of energy I have left in every single day. I spread myself thinner than skim milk. Every spare minute I have, I delegate it to something productive. Asking me to rest is like asking a toddler to eat their broccoli for dinner—it’s nearly impossible.
I say this because I’m largely unqualified to write about rest. If anyone needs to learn how to rest well, it’s me. But I figured, because we’re all either on vacation or forced to stay home this weekend, it would be a perfect time to work on resting together.
The foundation for rest is in Christ.
This is something we often miss when we try to rest well. But if we don’t start at the foundation of rest, we’ll still feel burnt out after we try all the typical resting routines.
Firstly, we weren’t promised an easy life. We were promised an easy yoke. Matthew 11:28-30 says, “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.” We will face challenges and hardships in this life, which includes our crazy work schedules and workloads, but in Christ, we can still find joy and hope.
As Christians, we must recognize that no amount of sleeping, relaxing, or hot-showering will give us rest if we don’t realize that Christ sustains us.
Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
And Psalm 55:22 says, “Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.”
Being so bad at resting, I know a plethora of resting techniques that fail miserably, and trying to rest without going to God first is one of them.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told myself I needed a break without asking God to give me the perseverance I need. Countless times, I’ve allowed myself an hour to read, an hour to shower and pamper myself, or an hour to watch my favorite TV show and right afterwards, felt even more burnt out than I did before. All because I thought I could fix my own overwhelmed need to rest myself.
The truth is, if you struggle with resting like I do, your only hope for true rest lies in Jesus.
A while back, I developed a routine at youth group for when I’m feeling overwhelmed. It goes something like this:
- Stop what I’m doing just for a few seconds
- Recite, “Be still and know that I am God.”
- Dedicate whatever I’m doing to Jesus.
Time and time again, when I try this, I feel so much more sustained and rested than when I do after sitting on the couch, surfing Instagram, or taking a hot bath. Because the truth is, if we don’t understand why we can rest, we won’t be able to rest well in the first place.
We can rest because the work is already finished. We don’t need to work to be saved—Jesus already paid that price. We don’t need to prove our worth through the things we accomplish—we were created infinitely valuable by the God who created the mountains, the stars, and the beautiful snow falling out my kitchen window right now. We can rest, because we don’t need to strive for safety, for significance, for comfort, for hope. We already have it. Because we have Jesus.
Of course, showering and taking time to watch a good movie are good things. And if you’re super busy like me, taking time to do those things is important not only for your own mental health, but for your relationships, too. Choosing to play a board game with my family instead of working on something is a choice I rarely regret and reminds me of where my priorities should lie.
But all these things should come after we ask God to sustain us and give us rest.
If you feel like you need rest this weekend, try asking God for it first. Practice what true rest looks like—leaning on Christ for every task, depending on Him for everything, and asking him for energy and strength. I’ll practice it with you—I need to work on it more than anyone;-)
Below, I’ve written a short prayer for when you’re feeling overwhelmed or need God’s strength. Feel free to recite it or change it if you’d like (it’s just a template). Then, listen to the song below. Look up the lyrics and follow along—you won’t regret it:-) Happy snowy weekend!
I can’t keep doing this alone. The harder I try, the more I realize I need you. I’m feeling really overwhelmed right now, God, so please give me peace. Teach me what it means to be still and know that you are God. Teach me what it looks like to truly rest in your arms and strength. Show me how to depend on you and rely on you to sustain me.
I love you, God. Thank you for saving me and making it so I can rest. Thank you for paying the price so I don’t have to pay it myself. Give me rest this weekend, and give me energy for this upcoming week, if it be your will.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.