December 26, 2017
When I Rest, I Feel Guilty!
The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:1-3, NLT).
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Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details!
Instead, God calls me to rest. I don’t want to rest. When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do. I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.” I have tried to ignore that whisper on more than one occasion, but it is only a temporary maneuver on my part.
The Lord is my Shepherd, He is used to dealing with stubborn sheep like me. He will lovingly make me lie down in green pastures and firmly lead me beside quiet waters. Why? Jesus wants to refresh my soul and give me the peace that can only be found at His feet. Rest is not really an option. It is a spiritual discipline that needs to become a spiritual habit in our life. How?
Admit your need for rest. Many of us have bought into the lie that who we are is based on what we do or don’t do. We fill every waking moment with something or someone in order to prove our worth. After all, we must be worthy if we are doing worthy things, right? Busyness does not always equal productivity. When we admit our need to rest, we are acknowledging the fact that we are imperfect and that our human power is limited. We need to rest in Him.
Turn to Jesus to find rest. Recreation is anything you enjoy doing while relaxation is any activity that slows you down. Restoration is an inside job and can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
We once had an Australian cattle dog named Dallas. Australian cattle dogs are extremely loyal to a master of their choice. Dallas chose our son Jered to be his master. When Jered came home from school each day, Dallas would greet him at the door and follow him wherever he went. If Jered did homework in his room, Dallas would find a spot under the desk. If our son was working in the garage, Dallas was with him. When Jered ran an errand, Dallas went for a ride. Dallas instinctively knew that the only place he would find genuine rest was at the feet of his master. The same is true in our life.
Lay your stuff at Jesus’ feet. The number one stress is the result of bearing a burden that is not yours to carry. Exhaustion comes when we take on a responsibility God never intended us to have. The twin of exhaustion is emptiness that comes when we fail to take on a responsibility God does intend for us to assume. God empowers His plan and agenda for our life. When we step outside of that plan, we are stepping into our own power and depending on our own strength, both of which will soon be depleted.
Realize you are not alone. For years, our family vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina in order to escape the brutal heat of South Florida where we lived. We all had our favorite thing to do while on vacation. Dan loved to read and take long walks in the cool, green forests. The kids loved wading in creeks, looking for “gold.” My favorite activity was shopping for antiques. Now let me define “antiques” and “antique stores” according to Mary. The best stores were nestled in the mountains on some remote dirt road and the “antiques” were what most people would call junk.
One year, I walked into a shop and stopped in my tracks when I saw the yoke. Matthew 11:28-30 is one of my husband’s favorite passages of Scripture where Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls.” For years, I searched for just the right yoke to give Dan as a special gift. It seemed that every yoke I found was either too big or too small and in less than stellar condition. The yoke before me was in perfect condition and was just the right size and price. Upon closer inspection, my excitement faded.
Yokes have two loops of leather or wood attached to a sturdy wooden frame. Two working animals wear the loops around their necks in order to bear whatever load they are given. The loops on this particular yoke were not the same size - one larger than the other. When I pointed out the flaw, the shop owner said, “It is supposed to be made like that. The stronger animal is placed in the larger loop to help the weaker animal pull the load.” In other words, a shared load is a lighter load.
Are you tired and exhausted from trying to live life on your own? Come to Jesus and find rest in Him.
Father, Thank You for the promise of rest. It seems like I am always tired and every step is hard. Please forgive me when I turn to You as a last resort instead of running to You first. Lord, today, I turn to You for rest.
In Jesus’ name,
Now it’s Your Turn
Identify the areas of unrest in your life. Bring them to God in prayer and seek rest in Him. Make the commitment to read Psalm 23 once a day to find rest for your soul.
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