Think of a time when you were a child, when you were weary and tired. Maybe you came home from school and the weight of the day was exhausting. Maybe certain conflicts would tap you out emotionally. I remember when I was a child and I would come home from an exhausting day, I was blessed to always have someone I could turn to to just listen and hold me. I’d crawl up on my mom’s lap and snuggle into her arms for a comforting hug. It was like I could finally take a long, deep, rejuvenating breath.
The family is a picture of God’s love for us. It is supposed to be unconditional, with a balance of firm and soft when needed, correcting but not crushing … there is a sense of respite provided by the place we feel at home. We can let our shoulders down, breathe deep, and feel renewed.
Did you experience this as a child? Did you have someone or someplace where you felt that comforting hug?
Restlessness is a symptom of our misplaced value. In some people, restlessness comes from an effort to perform and gain value through achievement. When we are young, we desire most to be accepted, loved and valued just as we are. We live in a flawed world and our parents can’t or don’t always meet these needs for us. Somehow, even when they love us deeply, we can get the impression that our value comes from performance. In addition, we live in an achievement culture – a very fast paced one.
“When we are restless, we stray away from living life like we have a home in God’s love, and we start seeking to perform to earn it. [But] Biblical rest is an attitude of heart that feels so sheltered in God’s love that it does not allow itself to be pulled into a place of strife in order to obtain God’s approval” (1).
To enter into something means we make a conscious choice to take action. We have to move towards God … we have to trust that He is there, waiting to provide this rest for us. We can’t blame Him or our circumstances for why we don’t rest, but instead confront our failure to do so and take action.
Rest is actually both a noun and a verb. Rest as a noun is a motionless state. Rest as a verb is to cease, relax and recover while being supported. In order to fully experience rest in Christ we have to do both with intention. We have to be motionless, both spiritually and physically. Then we have to allow ourselves to be supported by another. This takes faith.
True Rest is intentionally seeking to be in God’s presence.
“Restlessness and faith cannot coexist because they work against each other. Restlessness is rooted in insecurity and fear while rest is active and grabs hold of the kingdom and pulls it into the natural realm, causing the natural to give way to the spiritual. In these past few months, I have discovered that I need only a mustard seed of faith in order for God’s love to dispel the restless need to be in control” (spoken by a man diagnosed with lung cancer and less than a year to live).
Through our relationship with Jesus, we have the ability to enter into the same rest Jesus did with the Father. We are a part of a community of love with Christ and the Father. We have to believe God wants to demonstrate the same love for us that He did for Christ. Our only job is to enter into it and leave everything else behind.
Rest is a foundational truth of God’s Kingdom (see Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-12; Psalm 46:10). It is a place of surrender and submission that creates an atmosphere for faith to grow. It cannot grow in an atmosphere of restlessness (1).
Did you experience value as a child outside of your achievement? Does rest comes easy to you? Or do you suffer with restlessness, especially in the midst of something challenging? Are you weary today? Physically, emotionally, spiritually? Do you wonder where God is?
Today God just wants to wrap His arms around you and give you that giant breath of relief. Respite. Recovery. Stand motionless (both in your body and your mind) and cry out to the Father, “Have Mercy on Me Father, Give me Rest.” His presence is what offers rest. “The LORD replied, My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest” Exodus 33:14.
Take action to find the rest Christ offers to us through His redemption. The same rest given to Him as He faced the cross. The rest given to Him as the crowds pressed in or the people turned their backs on Him. Just take one step towards Him. Envision yourself being held in His arms.
You cannot control this thing- pregnancy, labor, birth. You can plan, prepare, dream, envision … but we cannot idolize the achievement that comes from birth. We have to rest in Him, trust Him, have faith that He will hold us, and leave restlessness at the door. We have to Surrender and Birth for His Glory.
Matthew 11:28 – Come unto me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Prayer for the Week:
Father God, in the name of Jesus please help us to take a step towards your rest. Help us to come to the cross, motionless and still and willing to sink deep into You without striving or achievement … simply as we are.
A Song to Meditate on this Week