learning to rest – it's not what you think


When was the last time you rested?

I mean, really rested?

I’ve been trying to figure out what it means to rest well. To turn off the noise to tune into what really matters. You know how sometimes you hit a point and then things get a little clearer? When you’ve finally moved far enough from the mosaic to see the whole picture, not just that square you were so focused on before? I’m there.

I don’t have a lot of down time, and the little time I do have, I’ve been filling with Netflix and Facebook and anything else to distract from real rest. From episodes to newsfeeds, I’ve filled my head (and heart) with noise — tuning out the One who gives true peace. And you know what? My downtime hasn’t been helping me feel refreshed, surprise surprise.

I’ve been pouring distractions into my life, but parching my soul in the process.

Where is the living water? How is a scroll through Pinterest while I rock the baby to sleep more enticing than closing my eyes and opening my heart to the one who is there, waiting, inviting me to lean into him? No matter the form it takes, my noise has been keeping me from the silence that maybe I’m too afraid to dwell in. But, why?

Real rest is refreshing and renewing and redeeming. But it’s slow and steady and simple, too.

We rest well when we break from all the uploads and start to decompress instead. When we remember that our strength comes from the Spirit, when we invite him into our day-to-day, when we realize that doing life in Him and through Him is better and easier and lighter than trying to do it on our own. When we rest in Jesus, we have strength in Jesus. I can’t be a mom with patience and grace if that patience and grace isn’t coming from Him. We can’t do big things for God if we don’t have strength from God.

We find rest nestled throughout scripture. Sometimes church people like to say we’re resting well if we don’t mow our lawns on Sundays. But it’s so much bigger than that. We’re made to seek the stillness, the space, the Spirit. And if you’re wrestling with God? Wondering why? Or even wondering if he’s really there? That’s okay, too.

Just close the laptop, light a candle, take a walk, do whatever works for you to quiet your mind. You might be surprised what you hear.

 “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.” [Matthew 11:28-30, The Message]

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