Today, I’m writing about the concept of “rest.” Take a look at the scale of 1 to 10 below, and give yourself a rating.
Now, how about this next scale? Where do you rate yourself on this one?
Some of us spend the majority of our time feeling worn out (stressed, rushed, and tense), especially in these uncertain times.
But we all know what it feels like, naturally speaking, to get a great night’s sleep and wake feeling refreshed and replenished. Many of us know what it’s like to feel similarly revived in spirit, after attending church, or praying, or reading scripture. At those times, we feel replenished and ready for whatever is next.
We all need these episodes of rest (naturally and spiritually) but is it possible for you to find a state of ongoing “spiritual rest”? So, you’re “at rest” all the time — not just when you take time out for the Lord. Hmm …. what?
You’ve probably heard phrases like, “Rest in the Lord,” or “Rest in His word (His promises, His will, etc.).”
You’ve likely read the following scripture:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
Rest for the soul. Is it possible to experience this “soul rest” in this life, before we shed our mortality for heavenly repose?
I believe that Matthew 11 tells us that we can find rest when we:
1. Do what we’re called to do
…and then we…
2. Leave the rest to God.
When we do more or less than what God calls us to do, then we slip out of rest and become restless (troubled, ill at ease).
These verses in Matthew speak directly to the folks who are “heavy laden.” One way to get heavy laden in a hurry is if you’re trying to accomplish things that only Jesus Christ can accomplish. For example, if you’re trying to earn your salvation, trying to convert someone’s soul, trying to carry the weight of your whole branch by yourself. Also, you’re probably heavy laden if you’re obsessing over results — trying to measure how successful you’ve been. To me, these are all good examples of times when we try to do more than what God has called us to do. After all, Jesus says that His yoke is easy — not impossible, unbearable, torturous.
What about those times when we’re doing less than what Jesus calls us to do? When we slack off spiritually? We hear Him saying, “Go there,” or “Forgive that person,” or “Pray about this,” and we dig in our heels and say nope. No yoke for me, Lord. Then, we become restless in a different way. Sometimes we can’t quite put our finger on it, but something is missing from life, and we keep trying to scratch the itch, but it’s always just out of reach. Feelings of defeat and depression can result.
Doing more … doing less … they both breed a distinct flavor of anxiety and agitation.
On the other hand, when I focus on doing what God has called me to do — however great or small my role — and then I leave the rest (the results) to Him, then I experience a state of true rest. My spirit is at peace, knowing that I did everything in my power to do, but that I also had enough faith to let Jesus do the miracles that only He is capable of.
I bring the loaves and fishes, and He feeds the five thousand. (John 6)
I bring my sixteen stones, and He makes them shine. (Ether 3)
I plant and water, and He makes the seed grow. (1 Cor. 3)
For me, this is (one part of) what Jesus might have meant when He promised rest for my soul.
What do you think of all this? What does “resting in the Lord” mean to you personally? Leave a comment below with your thoughts on maintaining a state of ongoing spiritual rest.
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.