I want you to know something.
You are not a bad person for losing that battle in your mind again today.
You are not weak because the tears came flooding out when you couldn’t be strong anymore – when you felt sadness over what you couldn’t control.
You are not a failure because you didn’t say and do all the right things and you feel exhausted at the end of the day from just existing – and overthinking everything you said and did.
You are not a lost cause because you didn’t get your to-do list done or just woke up feeling empty inside.
Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).
Isn’t that what we all long for more of?
Rest from our inner critic? Rest from our mind battles? Rest from constant anxiety that we aren’t doing enough and being enough? Rest from our busy, chaotic days filled with activities to try to prove that we are successful, well-adjusted humans?
In the past several months, I’ve been reading the Old Testament and noticing all the times that God called His people to rest. Not just on the Sabbath, a weekly rest, but on multiple feasts & celebrations throughout the year.
It is clear that rest is a priority to God – and that it is for our good. But I also discovered something deeper about this rest.
And that is that mindless “resting” is not the point (binge-watching an entire series on Netflix, for example). Yes, it might help restore health to our physical bodies. But real rest is achieved when it meets what God designed it to do – which is worship Him more fully. When we immerse ourselves in true worship of God as we rest, He will give deepest restoration to our souls.
When we rest in the finished work of Christ on the cross, we no longer have to busy our minds with worry and stress about our performance and abilities.
When we rest in the goodness of who God is, He will give us peace, even about our deepest heartaches and longings.
When we rest physically, and we still our minds from the flurry of all that has to get done – even important, ministry-oriented things – we are able to more fully focus on the beauty of who God is and the beauty of being included in His plan.
When we allow worship to interrupt our anxiety, the fear begins to melt, and the peace begins to flood our souls.
And there comes a point when I have to say, “I just can’t do it all. I’m not superwoman. I’ve reached my limit, and I need some time with just me and Jesus.”
Because let me tell you – time in the Word of God, time with worship music, time in prayer – all restore my soul to calm, even on the busiest of days.
And this is why He calls us to rest. Our mental health is restored, our emotions are stabilized, and our strength is revitalized. Maybe not instantly. Some of us might have health problems, exhausting jobs, or life circumstances that will require longer periods of rest.
But don’t despise the resting process. Don’t feel like you should be “fixed” by a certain date, and don’t despair when emptiness still lingers.
The faults and sins of the world around us won’t be going away any time soon, and sometimes they cause us to walk through aching seasons. Yet even in the ache, God can give us times of rest. He can give us respite from the torment, relief from the burden, and restoration that goes beyond our circumstances.
Because one day we will stand face to face to Him – and He will invite us into His eternal rest. And the glory that we behold will be worth all the dark days of fighting the battles here on earth.
So take heart, my friend. And know that for today – right now – you can rest in the strong arms of Jesus.
He’ll never let you go.