This past week, both Steve and I have been battling COVID. The tiredness has been a bit overwhelming. We’re breathing fine but energy-wise, definitely not up to snuff. At times I’ve felt frustrated and overwhelmed, wondering, “Why can’t I push through this?” It’s been tempting to fight the tiredness, but I have felt God whispering to my soul that I am exactly where He wants me.
David wrote, “Truly my soul finds rest in God” (Psalm 62:1). David embraced the invitation to rest that God offered him. In God’s presence, David felt relaxed, because he knew he was fully known and deeply loved. He allowed Himself to simply be held by God. He knew he could just rest and enjoy the Almighty’s presence without worrying if he would have enough energy to do the next thing.
The prophet Isaiah wrote prophetically, “This is my resting place, let the weary rest” (Isaiah 28:12). I could raise my hand on that one. I definitely qualify! I’m weary this week. The Hebrew word for “rest” that is used here is menuchah (Strong’s #4496). This is the same word used in Psalm 23:2 where David writes that God leads him by quiet waters of menuchah – waters of stillness. It’s a place of deep, abiding peace; quiet and restorative restfulness.
Jesus Himself said to His disciples after an intense season of ministry, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest” (Mark 6:31). Jesus knew His disciples needed rest and renewal in order to continue in their calling. The same holds true for you and me. Our souls need to be revived, and the only way to do that is to embrace the place of rest.
In the place of rest, our striving ceases and our anxiety quiets. Our worries are soothed and we settle down to simply enjoy God’s presence. In the place of menuchah, we let go of the need to keep up or perform. All to-do lists are quieted. All tasks are brought to a halt. All action plans are laid down under the comforting presence of God. It sounds so great, right?! But the truth is we often fight rest because it rubs up against our propensity to perform and accomplish! Ah, Jesus will continually invite us back to our true identity – His beloved child. We don’t need to continually perform. But, let’s get practical.
How do we accept God’s invitation to rest?
Change up your daily time with God. Rather than doing the same spiritual disciplines you always do, change it up a little. Take your face time with Jesus outside. With the sun coming up earlier, you could spend a few minutes outside, praising God for the beauty of His creation. Or you could take a worship walk and spend your stroll praising God for all His goodness. You could take one portion of scripture – even one verse – and focus on that. One summer I spent the entire season in John 15. Another summer I focused on Colossians 3 and one time Psalm 84. Take a passage and simply soak. Read it. Circle key phrases. Underline strategic thoughts. Meditate. Be intentional to listen to what God is saying to you through that passage. Slow down. Take your time and consider what God might be speaking to you.
Practice self-care. I used to think the practice of self-care was sinful. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach us to be others-focused? But then I began to take a closer look at the life of Christ. I realized that Jesus practiced self-care; He slept, He ate, He escaped the crowds for time alone with the Father, and He spent time with His close friends. If Jesus needed to practice self-care, how much more do I? Let me ask you, what refreshes your soul? A quiet walk? Reading a novel? Coffee with a close friend? In order to find refreshment, practice self-care.
Create the space to savor beauty. Our souls were created with a need for beauty. God, as the master creator, created a beautiful and colorful world. I believe because we are designed in His image, that we need beauty to keep a positive attitude. If we’re going to enjoy beauty, we have to slow down and create the space to enjoy it. At times that means doing nothing but admiring creation.
The other day I stood looking out the window at all the beautiful cloud formations that were filling up our blue Colorado sky. As I stared, I found myself praying, “Lord, thank You for the beauty of these cloud formations. Thank You, for the majesty of the big blue sky. Thank You for the gorgeous mountains that surround my home. Thank You that You are healing my body as I rest.”
Friend, rest is essential to renewal and to enjoy the life God wants for us. Rather than fighting Him, receive His invitation to come, and get some rest.
In the words of my friend, Susie Larson, “May you cultivate a lifestyle that allows for times of replenishing rest, powerful prayer, & thoughtful consideration to what God is saying to you in this season. May you push past the clutter & treat yourself to some time & space to rest & hear what God is saying to you today.”