How to Find Strength in Hard Places: Part 3
When the hustle of life leaves us feeling jaded, the concept of rest can seem elusive at best and unattainable at worse. But God calls us to not only set boundaries around rest, but to engage in a disposition of rest at all times. Rest is not an option, it is our way of life.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
We’ve seen how God loves to use unconventional methods, like abiding in grace and joy, to combat weariness and build up strength. Another tool that is as equally important in finding strength in hard places, and just as counter intuitive, is rest.
The opposite of rest is hustle. The hustle can be a cruel-taskmaster. Ingrained into the American way, we sojourn on day after day into the land of more. More work, more busy, more after-school activities, more on the list of the things to do. The incessant go of life can leave a slow burn if we aren’t careful and before we know it living on fumes and exhaustion is our habitual norm. There is definitely a time and place for hard work, but there is also a time and place for rest and God calls rest good and holy.
Rest is such a Kingdom priority that God delegates a specific day of the week for it. It isn’t meant to be another item on our to do list, but rather a gift for us. (Mark 2:27) Thankfully our access to this free gift goes beyond just one day a week. In the Kingdom, rest is actually meant to be our disposition because we are called to be like Jesus and everything he does is from a posture of rest. He is never striving, anxious, worried, or worn down. He is ever working, moving, tending, and planning but always from a position of rest.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
It’s essential to have a clear paradigm about what rest is and is not. Rest is not for the weak, the rich, the lazy, or the frivolous. Rest is not a substandard value, but instead our way of life. Rest is for everyone and rest is wisdom. Today, the normal answer for a simple, “how are you doing” is the predictable, “exhausted, busy, tired…” response. But as Christ followers, our normal response should be manifesting and operating in the likeness of Jesus and he is alive, joyful, and always at rest. So what are we missing here? How did Jesus rest? We see Jesus rest with his closest friends, we see him rest alone in the wilderness, and we see him sound asleep in the midst of a terrible storm. Jesus invested in rest through many different ways in order take care of others and fulfill his calling. Jesus understood that taking care of himself mentally, physically, and spiritually required consistent rest.
Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)
Jesus was not afraid to set boundaries around his time, whether it was alone or with friends. He always found a way to take a break. Respecting our limitations and learning to say no are important in living a life of peace and strength. I once heard someone say, we show God we are grateful for what we have by the way we take care of it. One of the greatest gifts we’ve been given is our body and our mind. When we learn to set boundaries around rest, we create the space for our mind, body, and soul to recover and recalibrate to a healthy place. Take some time today to rest and reflect on the questions below.
You deserve it.
“The Lord replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14)
Questions for Reflection:
What areas of rest are you in need of today? Physical, mental, spiritual, all three?
How can you access rest so that your new normal is full vs. depleted?
What would need to change in your life to start living from a disposition of rest?
Lord Jesus, help me to be still. Help me to cease from the work, the striving, the busy, the hustle, and just lean back into your loving arms of rest. I can be still with you. You are forever operating from a place of rest. Help me to take some time today to behold you, the embodiment of rest, and in beholding you I know I will become more and more like you. Amen.