Do you ever feel like resting is a waste of time?
I can so easily get stuck in the mindset that my worth is based on what I have to show at the end of the day.
Sometimes, my husband has physically tugged me over to the couch to take a break.
But even at night, after the lights are turned off and I’m listening to my husband’s slow breaths, it’s almost as if my brain knows I won’t be interrupted.
It starts waving my to-do list around like a sparkler, all the while throwing in other thoughts like, “What did she mean when she said that to you?” or “Do you really think you’ll ever overcome the battle against worry? . . .”
Even when I was in the middle of the sleep-deprived newborn stage after Isaiah was born, my thoughts would often keep buzzing around like a mosquito after he had gone back to sleep.
Unwrapping the Gift
I’ve had to realize that resting takes time and intentionality. And it’s a gift God invites us to enjoy.
I recently watched a two-minute video by music artist Sara Groves discussing the seemingly “extravagant and wasteful attitude creative work seems to require.” She said that taking time to contemplate is seen as lazy, rather than time to let God speak to our hearts.
In our world of constant notifications and reminders, the idea of Sabbath is counter-cultural.
To take a whole day off and not work seems extravagant and wasteful.
Sara talked about the unproductive people in our worlds—the elderly, kids, the homeless—ones who occupy a space that’s easy to bulldoze right over. She questioned what kind of extravagant, wasteful way of thinking they might be inviting us into.
Seasons and circumstances constantly change, so how do I live with that kind of contentment whether I’m studying for college finals, washing sticky hands for the fiftieth time, or spending most of the day at doctor’s appointments with the other silver-haired people?
Rest + Faith
Hebrews 3 and 4 talk about the beautiful blending of rest and faith.
When we believe in Jesus, we are called to enter His rest. It takes daily faith to trust that Jesus is Someone we can rest in.
At the end of Hebrews 2, the author shares that Jesus became human to be our merciful and faithful high priest, paying for our sins. He was tempted like us, so that He can help us in our temptations.
Through Jesus’ power, we are called to fix our thoughts on Him, encourage one another, keep our hearts soft, and hold firmly to our confidence in Jesus. (Hebrews 3)
When we don’t take time to let our minds rest on the truth, we may be continuing on the path of disobedience the Israelites followed when they wandered in the desert. We may start thinking it’s up to us to save ourselves from our circumstances and the responsibilities of life.
Which is exhausting.
Trying to discipline my son in love when he ignores my request for him to come get his diaper changed.
Trying to make a tasty meal for my husband and then listen to him when he comes home late and exhausted.
Trying to speak words of encouragement to a friend who is going through an emotionally heart-stabbing experience.
So what does it look like to rest when we work full-time or have a toddler who would rather run than sleep?
At the end of Hebrews 4, the author points us to God’s Word.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart. Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:12-13)
At first, it might not sound restful to have my thoughts and attitudes lying naked before God.
But in the next verses, we see our Rescuer, the One who empathizes with our weaknesses, who was tempted but was able to live a sinless life for us.
It’s not a call to shape up or ship out. It’s an invitation to His power.
“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)
Pastor Rick Warren shared this attitude in a devotional:
“One of the most famous Christians of the 19th century was a guy named Hudson Taylor. He was a missionary to China, and he was a spiritual giant and a brilliant man. In his old age, he lost his health and became very weak. He wrote a letter to a friend that said this:
‘I am so weak I can no longer work. I am so weak I can no longer study. I am so weak I can no longer read my Bible. I cannot even pray. I can only lie still in the arms of God like a little child in trust.’”
Do we feel free to do the same?
The rest we enter into now is only a foretaste of God’s future rest on the New Earth.
It’s been in place since the beginning of time. After God created the world, He rested. He was satisfied with it because everything He does is good. (Genesis 2:2)
I can’t think of anyone better to handle the universe than the One who shaped it.
Will you ask God to show you how to enter His rest in your current season?
He is ready to shower you with His love through His truth.
You can click here for some Scriptures I’ve put together about rest to meditate on.
…As well as a song from Sandra McCracken’s new album, “Psalms.”
5 thoughts on “When Resting Feels Out of Reach”
Thank you Alicia. Read part of this to my parents yesterday. I was incredibly blessed through the video, because it mentioned Makoto Fujimura, and that led me to look him up and read what he has to say about art… thank you for the blessing of your writing, and I am on my way to look at those verses you wrote up again…
Thanks for reading, Lynda. You are such an encouragement and I’m always glad to hear your thoughts.
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