Sometimes you don't realize how heavy something is until you sit it down for a minute. You don't realize how hard you are running until you pause to catch a breath. We often think we can do it all. We buy into the american myth of doing and having it all and if we don't then we're considered a failure.
This is a hard myth to overcome because the american lifestyle doesn't warrant for rest. Rest is often seen as a weakness rather than a gift so we all work hard and play hard, but never truly rest. Normally I stay pretty busy and I'm honestly not good at resting at all. Recently though, God has been teaching me rest. He's been teaching me to fully rely on him for everything and allow him his rightful place rather than me taking what he gives me to run the play myself.
I didn't realize I was doing this until it was all stripped away with just me and God in the midst of my valley. He's always there to meet us where we are. I was frustrated with everything, especially myself and felt alone, but God is so patient bestowing mercy and grace all along our walk with him. As I began to sense this need for rest, two passages of scripture came to mind: Psalm 23 and Matthew 11:28-30. These are often some of the most quoted scriptures, but this time they hit me differently by opening my eyes in a new way.
At my small group this past week, our precious mentor who spoke said something that stuck with me deep. She said, "If it's heavy, it's not God because his yoke is easy and burden is light." I never thought about that. Often times it's all good things that I fill my schedule and life with striving to make a difference in other's lives, but if I'm not resting it can become heavy. I realized when it becomes heavy it's because I'm the one carrying it instead of allowing God to carry it. In Matthew 11:28-30 it says, "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.”
Wow. When I read this again, so many things stuck out to me. We first just have to come to him. It doesn't say after you fix everything or after you get to a certain spiritual level. It just says come. And it says all...meaning everyone can come to him and he will give us rest. To find that rest we have to take his yoke upon ourselves and learn from him. I never understood this until I understood how a yoke works. It's a way of saying we have to submit to him and partner with him by learning from him. Then comes the part I really want to dive into- it says you will find rest for your souls. Our souls carry all our thoughts and emotion. We are made up of body, soul and spirit. Each have an important role and it specifically says rest for your souls. Finally, the part that was mentioned in my small group...his yoke is easy and burden is light. This expresses God's character. His character isn't heavy or harsh, but light and easy. While this isn't referring to the things we may face in life, it is referring to how we handle and take on the things in life that hit us. If we submit to God and surrender those valleys to him, he will give us the rest we so desperately need.
This is something I'm constantly learning to do because so often I want to please God and do everything I can to make the most of each season. I'm often unaware that my lack of rest is draining me. Sometimes I think I put God in a box, but he is so much bigger than that and can handle everything in our lives. I hope this encourages you to look at your own life for the areas you need rest in and the ways you can submit it to God. I encourage you to read this scripture from Matthew over yourself along with Psalm 23 and study the ways God can bring us rest. I know you will find rest as you continually seek Him!
Father, I admit I'm often bad at resting and fully submitting to you. I need your help to rest and I submit myself to you daily. Show me how to fully rest in your presence and how to partner with you in life. I fully trust you and I know you can handle every aspect of my life, in fact you already know my future and everything about me. Thank you for the plans you have for me and thank you for the rest you are giving me. In Jesus name, Amen.