“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Mathew 11:28).
I am so glad Jesus said this. Aren’t you?
Because we all, at times, have wearying moments. End of the rope collapses. Stress-filled, sleepless night watches.
And we all, at times, are weighed down by burdens. The painful burdens of empathy and concern. The heavy loads of love. The back-bending weight of work, duties, responsibilities. The soul-wearying strain of self-reliance.
Jesus invites us to find true rest for our souls—in the light yoke of fidelity to him. And this is more than just a “spiritual” invitation—for we are not merely spiritual beings. From the earliest pages of Scripture, we see that ours is a God of rest; he models rest and invites his people to rest. It’s an invitation to know and embrace our limits. To turn to him in the Sabbath principle of choosing time for rest. This is a critical part of carving out a healthy way of be-ing.
Rest must partner with work; Scripture certainly doesn’t advocate a chillaxin-all-the-time, lazy life! But God’s Word does invite us to choose patterns of rest in order to restore our physical and emotional health as well as our spiritual perspective: The world doesn’t spin by our own efforts! Rest reminds us that we are reliant upon God; that our meaning and value doesn’t come from our endless spinning and plotting and laboring away.
“It’s a perspective that’s realistic about our God-given physical limits; it’s an eager willingness to receive and appreciate God’s good gifts of rest and recreation.
• In physical rest we abstain from work and worry; we may literally sleep. Yes, a short snooze on the couch can be spiritual! If it’s an intentional decision to re-calibrate, to breathe deep, to let go of worry, to restore bodily health, and to ask God for peace, then that’s what I call a true power nap!
• In recreational activities we do things that truly “re-create” us: activities that invigorate us, help us reconnect with our interests and passions, or enable us to enjoy the gift of our physical bodies. Physical exercise like biking, walking, or swimming can be a Sabbath practice if it provides refreshment. Hobbies can be meaningful too—time to paint or read or draw or sew or create a new dish.”
So rest is about more than just snoozing (though that can be critical at times)! It can go deeper into the things that bring life to us — that restore us back to our God-crafted-selves.
Jesus invites you and he invites me.
To come to him.
To see and surrender our weariness.
To loosen our grip on our burdens.