I’ve been thinking a lot about rest recently. Mostly because I am in a season right now where rest seems elusive and hard to come by. If I’m being honest, rest is something that is often on my mind. As a mom of three, I crave rest, longing for just a few minutes of uninterrupted quiet amidst the chaos. I’ve battled my own heart at times knowing my own tendency to idolize rest, holding it up as the thing I need in order for things to be right in my world. Perhaps you can relate – the world around us is clamoring about the need for “me time” and “self-care.” The pursuit of rest in one form or another never seems to be far from our minds.
And into that clamor, the word of God speaks clearly, “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)
God knows that our burdens are heavy and that, at times, our hearts ache with sorrow. He knows that our labor is hard, that it’s sometimes tedious, and the thought of doing it all over again tomorrow is defeating. He knows all that and He doesn’t offer time spent alone, away from the noise and chaos of your children. He doesn’t offer a girls night out, or a spa day. He doesn’t even offer a date night with your husband or a nap or even a full nights sleep! Not that any of those things are bad, but instead He offers us something so much better. He offers us Himself, “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.”
My desire for rest is not wrong, it’s just often misplaced. While I may think that a little more sleep or a night out will solve my problems and fulfill my need for rest, Christ assures us that He is the one who gives rest. I once had a professor in college who challenged me and a room full of college students that the next time we felt like taking a nap to go read our Bible instead. His point was that maybe the rest we really needed was found in fellowship with God, not in sleep. Oh, how much more my heart needs to be reminded of that truth today than even my college self did!
So the next time your heart pines for a little rest – be that in the form of more sleep, time to yourself or whatever “self-care” tactic our world is touting – run instead to Jesus! His rest is true and lasting. While our world offers a temporary and fleeting form of rest for your body, he offers rest for your soul.