The Beauty of Rest

“Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

“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.” Matthew 11:28-30

Looking around my class this morning, everyone looks exhausted. Not just the tired-cause-I-didn’t-sleep-enough slowness, but a bone-deep total weariness. One guy fights a losing battle with closing his eyes, the girl to my left is on her third cup of coffee, and I could fit a family’s worth of groceries in the bags under my eyes.

We’re all so tired, and yet, if you listen closely, there’s a bragging tone under it all. You’ve heard it too, right? “You stayed up till midnight studying? That’s nothing, I pulled an all-nighter!” “I’ve got soccer practice until 6:00 then music lessons ‘till 9:00, then I might finally be able to start my homework!”

It’s crazy when you think about it, the way our culture glorifies busyness. A full schedule is a badge of honor, equaling someone who’s important, who’s needed, who’s accomplishing things, but where in that schedule do you make time for rest?

I don’t know about you, but I can’t think of the last time I let myself just sit and relax, without another to-do list forming in the back of my mind. School, sports, art, music, clubs, work, and commitments of all kinds consume our lives to the degree that we don’t know what to do with ourselves when we do get a chance to rest.

What if busyness wasn’t necessarily better? When He created the universe, our all-powerful God chose to rest for a day after His work, so why do we see taking a break as a luxury we can seldom afford? Just as we were created for work, we were made to rest, to ease off our frantic striving and take on the easy yoke of the Lord.

He not only gives you permission to rest, but, in full knowledge of our best, encourages it! And yet, we don’t take a break, instead filling our lives up even more, for rest is unsettling. We struggle to trust that it’s truly beneficial, that if we stop hustling everything won’t just crumble around us. FOMO (fear of missing out) rules us as we worry that saying no means missing out. It requires trust, to be still and know that He is God and He is faithful to keep you.

Still, the irony here is that these days, it takes work to learn how to rest. It takes you deciding to make time in your business for a few minutes of Bible reading, to laugh with a good friend, or eat a long dinner with your family. How would your life change if you rested in Jesus a little more?

Even now, he’s beckoning you to come to Him, to lay your burdens at the feet of the One who cares for you and will take care of you even while you rest. He’s calling you to be still and lean on his power instead of your own. So you can take a deep breath, let go of the guilt and forces pulling you a hundred ways, cause it’s not only okay, but necessary, for you to rest for a minute. What a relief!

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