Rest. Are you there yet?

What is rest? Webster’s extensive definition includes this: freedom from activity or labor; peace of mind or spirit; free of anxieties.

That’s what rest is in the spiritual life. Jesus spoke powerful words about rest. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-30 KJV).

That’s where it is. Rest is not a place—it’s a Person.

So how do we live in rest? In this insane world that seems to have exploded out of control, how do we live in rest? Jesus explained.

Come…and I will give you rest. It’s a gift, not an attainment. Our part: take my yoke upon you and learn of me. That’s how we live in it.

Simple enough. But I struggled much to understand this concept. Real life is rarely peaceful. Wars rage throughout the world. But our personal lives are also torn by conflict and unrest—disturbed or uneasy state, turmoil (according to Webster).

I remember the event that launched my search for rest. The Lord had given me the privilege of walking with a friend through a difficult life-chapter. We talked often, and she shared her heartbreak and the comfort God had given. I’d offer Scriptures and comments to encourage her to keep trusting God’s promises. One day after relating a hurtful incident, she said, “I put it in God’s hands and I have my peace back.”

Whoa! The student had learned the lesson better than the teacher!

My mouth gushed encouraging words, but my heart hadn’t truly found rest. Click To Tweet

My mouth gushed encouraging words, but my heart hadn’t truly found rest. These words came to mind. “If any of you lack wisdom let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (James 1:5 KJV).

I cried out to the Lord. Teach me to rest! Like many others, I want answers at lightning speed. Slowly over time, he taught me three truths that lead to rest:

  • God stirs the heart.
  • God acts at his appointed time.
  • God fights for me.

We’ll talk more about that later, but these verses began to settle my restless heart.

“Commit your way to the Lord [roll and repose each care of your load on Him]; trust (lean on, rely on, and be confident) also in Him and He will bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:5 Amplified).

“Be still and rest in the Lord; wait for Him and patiently lean yourself upon Him…” (Psalm 37:7 Amplified).

“I have set the Lord continually before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be moved. Therefore my heart is glad and my glory (my inner self) rejoices; my body too shall rest and confidently dwell in safety” (Psalm 16:11-12 Amplified).

Focus determines rest. If I focus on circumstances, the result is unrest.  If I focus on God’s promises, I have rest. Click To Tweet

Hard-learned truth: focus determines rest. If I focus on circumstances, the result is unrest.  If I focus on God’s promises, I have rest.

Are you there yet?

I had much more to learn about rest so we’ll continue the discussion next week.

Please tell me where you are in this journey to rest. And I’d be grateful if  you’d share this with your friends.

© Dianne Barker 2019

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