Rest is an interesting concept.
Surely Jesus didn’t mean just physical rest, because the disciples continued to work. Jesus even sent them out on journeys to minister and to serve.
So this weariness and heaviness that he speaks about is surely more than just the exhaustion that comes from a long day, or a sleepless night.
Have you noticed that there are different types of rest? There is physical rest and the rest that comes to your soul.
For example, I can feel very physically tired, but rested in my heart and soul because the day was clearly what the Lord wanted for me. There was a connection between the day and His will. In other words, when I feel content in my soul, physical tiredness is accompanied with a joy. That is a good kind of tiredness.
The second kind of tiredness is the tiredness that comes from a heaviness of heart, when I am not sure what I am doing, or am wondering why I am where I am, or maybe even wondering where the Lord is. At times like that there is a wrestling and heaviness in my soul. I feel like it is difficult to see the Lord, sense His presence or know that I am in the center of His will.
It seems like about every five years in the twenty-eight years I have been walking with the Lord, I find myself in this second kind of tiredness; a place where I begin to wonder and long for some new perspective or vision as to what the Lord has for me.
I get restless and question whether I am in the place He wants me to be. There is a weight that lingers in my soul, a questioning that surrounds all that I do. And even though I know the joy and rest comes only from Him, sometimes I don’t look to Him.
Rather, I try to find that reassurance and confidence by just getting busier with the things that I am involved in. The result is that I am more tired and even more unsure. When I ignore the unsettledness or the doubts in my mind, I find that it later catches up to me and I have even deeper questions and doubts.
But when I have taken the time to do some serious reflection, soul searching and connecting with the Lord, then I do find that rest. Over the years, I have realized that when my soul is tired, the longing I have is for a deepening of connection with Him, so I am beginning to allow that restlessness to drive me to seek Him and cling to Him.
It has been a comfort to me to realize that God is not concerned or afraid of my doubts, like I have been afraid of them. He wants me to take them straight to Him and open-handedly discuss them with Him and with others. He reminds me time and time again, that I am not fooling Him or myself when I do not take the time to really do the deep searching into what is aching in my heart.
He wants me to come to Him time and time again to find that rest for my soul. There is a longing for a peace that I know comes only from Him and that can only be found when I am connected to Him.
Along the way, God has used people and different things to refresh my tiredness. Sometimes, it was seeking out a mentoring-coaching relationship; sometimes a deepening of my understanding of who God has made me; sometimes a revisiting of my calling and vision for the Great Commission. I call these times “sabbaticals for the soul.”
Sabbaticals are “a rest from work, or a break,” a time to cease what we are doing so we can concentrate on a particular aspect of walking with God through taking the time to reflect, get coaching, reading, studying, understanding our gifting and strengths.
As I have taken these “sabbaticals for the soul,” I have realized that walking with Him is more about getting to know Him and His desires for me than the current role, ministry or work I am involved in doing. He asks me to open my hand and allow Him to constantly renew His vision for my life.
His desire is to see me become more like Him and all He created me to be. As I understand that and work with Him in it, I find that rest for my soul. The Lord knows where I am and the steps I need to take to move forward.
As you look at your own life, what experiences has God put on your journey that have brought you to this point?
What have you found helpful to give rest to your soul along the way?
This article was first published on AltPerspective – a blog of Eastern European Area Team Leaders.
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