Have you ever felt “off”? Like something is “just not right”. You feel you should be doing something, but you don’t know what to do. You feel like you should be fixing something, but you don’t know how. Everything, and I mean everything, feels like it takes extraordinary effort whether it’s completing a report at work or deciding what to wear. Every decision, whether large or small, feels overwhelming. You find yourself saying, “I’m worn out”, “burned out”, “stressed out”, “poured out”. Do you notice that all of those words end in “out”? Clearly, your supply of something is gone and it needs to be replenished. You are restless and what you need is God’s rest.
Restless is defined as “never at rest; perpetually agitated or in motion”. We live in an overachieving society that believes that if you are going from 5 am – 10 pm every day, you must be doing something right, and your efforts will certainly produce success in life. That mindset often leaves us feeling that there is something more we have to do, or put in order, to be valued.
When Christians talk about “resting in God”, people can misinterpret that to mean that we are idle or lazy or live in la la land where we expect God to do everything as we sit around and wait. That is not what resting in God means at all! Resting in God is not resting FROM work but it is resting IN the work.
As believers, we partner with God in this thing called life. He has a part and we have a part in all He has called us to do and be. We are fine doing our part, but the trouble comes when we try to do His part. The result is anxiety, stress, fear, worry, frustration. When we rest in Him and let Him do what only He can, we are choosing to live in the rest of God. You see, when we strive, God waits. When we rest, God acts.
It reminds me of the time our oldest daughter, Micaela, fell and opened up her head, requiring stitches. She was only 2 years old and was terrified as she lay in the ER with doctors and nurses surrounding her. We had put pressure on the wound, dressed it to the best of our ability then headed to the ER. They numbed her head but every time they would start, she would flail around and cry out and try to block their hands. The doctor would begin, but then pull away as her hand came up to block his instrument time after time. After multiple attempts, the doctor gently said, “If you are really still, it will only take a few minutes and your head will be all better and you can go home with your mommy and daddy.” After all the struggling, she finally lay still. Soon, she calmed down, her head was stitched up and we were on our way home.
It’s such a picture of how restlessness can block the help that we so desperately need. We do everything we can do and then we become agitated when we don’t see the results we had hoped for. We get into a cycle of constant motion that produces nothing, because we know the work is not done. God has not done what only He can do, and He would, if we would just be still. When you find yourself striving, thrashing, grabbing, settle down. Stop. Be still.
In Matthew chapter 11, Jesus said, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Jesus is saying, “come to me” “take my yoke” “learn from me” “you WILL find rest”. If you are striving, feeling isolated, lost, burned out, stressed out, poured out, worn out and you’ve done all you know to do, be still. Rest. Remember, when we strive, God waits. When we rest, God acts. Draw near to God in the quiet and allow Him do what only He can do!
~ Kristine Morgan
The Pastor’s Wife