16 | Gift of Rest
Rest is something we all desperately need, but yet all too often we allow the business, excitements and stresses of life to take control. Lets stop, reflect, take that moment out of your busy schedule to reflect on what rest looks like for you as Libby reminds us how important it is!
In a world full of deadlines, where we are defined by our productivity and judged on our efficiency, rest can seem like weakness. Even in our Christian circles, working on a Sunday has become a norm, a necessity even. But God created a rhythm of rest, and honouring the Sabbath is even one of the ten commandments!
So what is it we are missing?
Here are 3 things I've been learning about rest, which can all be found in Matthew 11:28-30, which says:
"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
1) Work from a place of rest.
Here Jesus says He will give us rest BEFORE He mentions taking on work. This is such a countercultural idea! How often do we find ourselves putting off resting until we've just finished this, or just done that? There is something to be said about delaying gratification, but this can leave us feeling like we have to earn rest, like we have to be good enough. The good news here is that rest is a gift!
There are no conditions, just invitation. Invitation to come, rest, dwell, be present with Jesus.
2) His yoke not ours.
The question here is who are we working for? When I am working for me, the lie starts to creep in that my identity is found in my work. I start to tell myself that I am defined by what I do, not who I am, and therefore the harder/faster/longer I work, the better I am. However, when I am working for God, everything I do becomes about bringing more of His kingdom. The focus is no longer on me but on Him, and how my work can glorify Him. Here Jesus invites us to take His yoke, to lay down control of our work and to be defined by working for Him.
I do not want to be defined by how I am working, but who I am working for. See Colossians 3:17!
3) Resting is not the same as not working.
At first it seems strange that Jesus talks about taking on a yoke in the same sentence as finding rest. I grew up thinking that resting meant just stopping work, but have recently had that mindset radically challenged!
Resting in God is about more than just stopping, it's about being renewed and refreshed in a powerful way,
see Isaiah 40:31! This comes not from doing nothing, but from spending time with the Lord and from doing things that bring you life. Rest is about doing those things that make you excited about life, that make you feel alive!
The word Sabbath actually comes from a word which means to "re-self". I used to think resting had to mean sitting watching films by yourself, doing literally nothing. But I hate being by myself and I don't feel alive after that! For me, "re-selfing" rest may look like a trip to the beach with a close friend, time outside on a beautiful day, long walks, cups of tea, spending time being creative with Jesus and it definitely involves ice cream! What does rest look like for you? How does it fit into your week?
How might God be wanting to introduce rhythms of rest in to your life?
Rest can also be hard. To intentionally set aside time to rest, and to honour that, goes against everything society teaches us! But when God, (who himself rested!) offers us the gift of His rest, let's not miss out!
I'm Libby, I'm a second year at Durham who fills their time with a Chemistry degree, Kings church and a lot of Frisbee. I'm a firm believer life is better done outside and with people, and at it's best when there's ice cream involved.