May 8, 2013
Learn to Rest
"He restores my soul." Psalm 23:3a (ESV)
My words poured through frustrated tears. "I try to be so organized. Every night I make a 'to do' list. I wake up in the morning furiously giving my best to complete every task. There are never enough hours in my day to get them all done. I wake up the next day to do it all over again, only this time, the unfinished tasks from yesterday's list carry over to today's. I'm so tired!"
My dear friend and mentor calmly interrupted, "Wendy, you must learn to rest."
Taking a deep breath, I whispered, "Is resting something I have to learn?"
"Yes," she said firmly, "you must learn to rest."
"Okay," I told her. "I'll go to bed earlier and when I feel super tired, I'll take a short nap."
Back then I thought the cure to my weariness would come from resting my tired body and delaying my duties for a time with a catnap. But that wasn't what she meant. My friend knew there was a difference between being physically tired and needing to catch up on some zzz's, and being worn out in our hearts, minds and souls.
The truth is, we aren't weary simply because our schedules are full. We are weary because our spirits are depleted. Within each one of us resides a soul that desperately needs renewal and restoration, something an overloaded schedule doesn't always allow.
It's easy to hide our exhausted souls. On the outside we may appear well-organized, emotionally stable, and put together. But on the inside we are often hopelessly overwhelmed and completely stressed out. The remedy for our weariness will not be found in a nap, but in God alone.
In the Old Testament, Psalms 23 speaks of God as our Shepherd. That passage says our Shepherd "restores" our souls. When I looked a bit deeper into the original meaning of "restore," I learned so much more about God's promise to bring life back to my tired soul.
The Hebrew word "restore" in Psalm 23 is shuwb. It's a word most often translated "to return or go back." It speaks of God's people returning to Him and means "movement back to the point of departure." The use of the word "restore" implies we must return to God to receive our restoration.
In the New Testament in John 10:14 Jesus tells us He is our "Good Shepherd." This is from the Greek word poimen. It literally means "shepherd," referring to one who guides, guards, and provides for his flock. When we return to our Shepherd, Jesus, He will guard us, guide us and provide for our every need.
Our Good Shepherd can only restore our souls when we turn our hearts and our minds away from the noise and busyness of the world back to Him. Sitting alone with the Lord leads us to peace and gives us the strength we need to move forward.
Do you need restoration? Take this little test.
Does every word your husband speak irritate you?
Does every errand you have to run for your kids breed resentment?
Does every morning bring feelings of stress and anxiety?
If you answered yes to one or all of these questions, you are running on empty, operating out of your own depleted resources.
Learn to rest.
Return to your Good Shepherd.
Invite Him to restore your soul.
Receive a fresh filling of His love, mercy and grace.
When you do, He will replace your weariness with strength, your resentment with thanksgiving, your irritability with patience, and your anxiety with peace.
The Lord is waiting.
Meet with Him. He will refresh and renew you, enabling you to go out into the world to serve your family and friends filled with a newfound sense of His peace, love, and joy.
Dear Lord, help me be still before You. Give me the rest only You can give. Renew and restore my weary heart. Fill me to overflowing. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Do You Know Him?
Visit Wendy Blight's Blog and sign up for her new three-week online study, Quiet My Anxious Heart: Learning to Rest in Jesus. It starts today!
Hidden Joy in a Dark Corner by Wendy teaches you how to have a quiet time and grow deeper in your walk with God.
Reflect and Respond:
Have you neglected spending time alone with God? For the next seven days, return to your Good Shepherd. Open Psalm 23, read a portion of the passage each of the seven days, and invite the Lord to refresh and restore your soul.
Jeremiah 6:16, "This is what the LORD says: 'Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls...'" (NIV)
Psalm 62:5, "Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." (NIV)
© 2013 by Wendy Blight. All rights reserved.
Originally published Wednesday, 08 May 2013.