Devotion #90

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

Rest is something that feels more and more elusive these days. Despite the fact that our activities outside the home have been limited, we still struggle to rest. Some seem busier than ever as they work to manage multiple schedules from home, and many of us struggle to take a break from processing the constant barrage of information and the never-ending changes. Some days, carrying the burdens of our new normal are exhausting. Marriage takes work. It takes intentional effort from both husband and wife to communicate and love one another well. If we exhaust ourselves managing all the things outside of our marriages, we won’t have energy left to give to our spouse. We need time to rest.

When we are feeling overwhelmed or we notice mounting feelings of discouragement or anxiety, choose to see it as a red flag that you need to rest. If conflict is increasing in our marriage, it may be an indicator that we need to look at our hectic schedules. Here’s a hard-hitting truth: God promises to fill us with all the strength we need to face the day in front of us, but that is often only available if we also observe the rhythm of rest He created for us. He designed us with the need to take a break from all our labor and striving and rest in Him.

God knows we need to step away from the chaos of the world on a very regular basis and spend time with Him, because He is the One who refreshes and renews our souls. The time to rest allows us to put all our strivings into perspective. Are we struggling to accomplish the things He wants us to accomplish, or are we creating our own to do list? Are we trusting in our own self-sufficiency and ability to provide for our own needs or are we trusting in Him?

Think about why you are so busy. What is filling up your schedules? Are you trying to accomplish more so you are considered valuable by others, or are you trying to keep up with the world’s expectations of what you should be doings? Are you frantically planning for an uncontrollable future? All that striving is for naught. It takes the reins right out of God’s hands. When we do that, when we work for ourselves or for the world, we end up exhausted. 

God calls us to rest in Him so He can set all that right again, so He can help us remove ourselves from the equation, and place Him back on the throne of our lives. He calls us to rest so that He can remind us of who He is and of what He promises to us. He call us to rest so we can magnify Him, and minimize us; He calls us to rest so that we can repent of the ways we’ve turned our backs on Him and accept His forgiveness; He calls us to rest so that we can be reminded of His steadfast love for us and of His abundant blessings.

Just for clarification, resting doesn’t mean kicking your feet up on the couch and watching your favorite Netflix show or scrolling through Facebook—the reality is those activities will often leave us feeling more burdened for what is missing from our lives, or they will leave us feeling guilty because we just dropped an hour of time into a hole we can’t get back. The ironic part is that many of us with a chaotic schedule find the time to do these things, yet we don’t find the time to truly rest in Him. Lay aside restless work, and choose to rest in Him. When we rest in Him, He calls us to quiet reflection and refreshment. We walk away from these restful times feeling regenerated and recalibrated and with the strength to face whatever life throws at us.

We should have multiple opportunities built into our week to rest—a daily devotional time, weekly church, meeting with Godly friends, and at least one extended time during the week where we dive deeper on our own. Those of us who manage our schedules well are sure to put these things on our planners, but far too often, that’s how they’re viewed—as one more thing on our to do list. The problem with that perspective is that they become negotiable when the other commitments increase in our lives. We compromise our rest because our other commitments somehow become more important than the rest He calls us to. Then we end up exhausted and stressed, wondering why we’re not feeling the strength He promises, or the freedom He offers. It’s a vicious cycle so many of us are caught in. 

We justify our busy schedules because He has allowed these circumstances, so surely God understands we no longer have time to spend with Him today. He knows all that I have to do this week because He’s the one who placed me here. But here’s the truth: God would never create a schedule for us that does not include time to rest in Him daily, be refreshed with fellow believers regularly, or be taught in church weekly. If any of those things are absent—that’s our schedule, not His. We forfeit the very things He has placed in our lives to strengthen us, to comfort us, to give us wisdom, to bring peace when we cancel the rest He has planned for us. How foolish we are when we think our agenda is more important than His!

God has given us a great pause because He wants us to rest. How are we choosing to use this time? Embrace the opportunity to rest. Fight the urge to busy your minds and your hands with the cares of the world today, and find a way to rest in Him—alone and with your spouse. He will refresh and renew you, giving you new strength to fight the battle.

Press on ~ you are loved 💗

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