Confessions of A Burnt Out Missionary

  • by Deanna Kustas

Need some help understanding rest or how to rest?

  1. “In a culture where busyness is a fetish and stillness is laziness, rest is sloth. But without rest, we miss the rest of God: the rest he invites us to enter more fully so that we might know him more deeply.” – Mark Buchanan, The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.
  2. “[Present over perfect is] about rejecting the myth that every day is a new opportunity to prove our worth, and about the truth that our worth is inherent, given by God, not earned by our hustling.” – Shauna Niequist, Present Over Perfect.
  3. “When we miss the gift of rest, especially Sabbath rest, we miss so much of God.” – Pete Scazzero.
  4. Searching For Sabbath: Building rest and restoration into the rhythm of life by Katie Croft.
  5. Sometimes You Just Need to Stop: Taking time away in a world that demands every minute of our time by Amber Wiley

“When we miss the gift of rest, especially Sabbath rest, we miss so much of God,” said Pete Scazzero, author of “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality.”

In America, being busy and working so hard that you don’t rest is seen as a badge of honor. But take it from someone who’s burnt out, that’s a total farce.

Saying no in order to rest isn’t an excuse to not do the good works God has prepared for you. It’s not so you can ignore responsibilities. Choosing rest is not lazy. It’s obedience.

“One of the most convicting things I have recently come to realize about Jesus is that He was never, not once, in a hurry,” said Mark Buchanan, author of “The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath.”

Lack of rest is one of the areas where our culture has bled into our faith. Scripture is peppered with the value and command to rest.

Don’t believe me? Just look at Genesis. If God who spoke the world into being decided to take an entire day to rest at the end of it. What makes us think that we don’t also need a break?

“What kills a soul? Exhaustion, secret keeping, image management. And what brings a soul back from the dead? Honesty, connection, grace.,” wrote Shauna Niequist, author of “Present Over Perfect.”

God designed one entire day a week for us where we do not work. A whole day set aside for both physical rest and rest for our souls. Rest is our time to connect with Him.

Sab·bath /ˈsabəTH/ noun:  The seventh day of the week observed from Friday evening to Saturday evening as a day of rest and worship by Jews and some Christians, or observed Sunday among Christians as a day of rest and worship.

Taking a Sabbath is not some weird religious rule or burden God is using to test us. This command is a gift from the One who created us and knows us better than we know ourselves.

“Then he said to them, ‘The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.’” Mark 2:27

We have limits, we have needs and we need rest. That rest isn’t limited to just a Sabbath day, but it’s also regular times throughout the week to connect with and rest in God.

“The LORD replied, ‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’” Exodus 33:14

“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Taking time for Jesus to teach us is where we find rest for our souls.

One of the most humbling reality checks in life is realizing that if you don’t do ___________________ (fill in the blank with the scariest thing that comes to mind, I dare you) the world will still go on.

If you say “no” or “this can wait” in order to rest, God will still be sovereign. He will still work everything out for the good of those who love Him and He will honor you for trusting Him enough to obey.

Why is it so hard to rest?

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” John 15:4

Admitting we have needs and that one of those needs is rest, is straight up humbling. We want to think we can do it all. We want to help others, be the hero. We do not want to be the one in need.

A lack of rest is often a sign we think too highly of ourselves. Yikes! Scary, but true.

For years, I lived an unmaintainable lifestyle believing my worth came from what I did as a young, single woman in ministry.

I turned into a religious machine doing spiritual things, thinking I had to have it all together. I feared what others might think if I admitted I was exhausted and not connecting with God.

I’m no longer in full-time ministry, but it’s still hard to accept that I have limitations and need to carve out time to rest. Working part-time for Cru and another company now sometimes means choosing rest and not getting paid for hours I could be working.

Choosing rest means choosing trust.

Trust that God will provide for your needs. He will take care of the thing that you think has to get done right now. Resting is giving up control, admitting we have limits and taking God at His word.

Resting in God is a weekly, daily and sometimes hourly struggle for me. There are times when I still don’t choose rest. Without resting my body and resting in the presence of Jesus, the person I become as a result is not who I want to be.

“God, you have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless till they find their rest in you.”  – Augustine