Have you ever checked into a hotel that had the most luxurious bedding and mattress? Crisp, cool sheets that are not too stiff, a mattress that is just squishy enough to be soft but not too saggy, and a cool, quiet air conditioner gently blowing on your face. Your body is warmed by a hot shower and you laid down to sleep early enough that you know tomorrow you will feel rested. For some reason, I find the comforts of a good hotel room hard to beat. Maybe it is because I am not kept awake worrying about chores and other things I should be doing. Maybe it is because the stage of life in which I traveled often was before I had a child and husband to share my time with. Either way, I can tell you that being a mother is exhausting and I crave rest. I am not complaining about my blessings, just being honest with you.
Recently at our church, our pastor gave an excellent sermon on rest. It was a true reminder that my REAL rest comes from God. Sleep is important, but no amount of sleep can replace the strength, hope, and energy that God provides.
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
Jesus not only invites us to share our burdens with him, but commands us! As the mother of a 2-year-old and a very easy-going husband, sometimes I am exhausted by having to make decisions. I find peace in being told what to do by Jesus! I am not only able to give him my worries and problems, but being obedient requires me to do so!
“Have you never heard? Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, The Creator of all of the earth.
He never grows weak or weary. No one can measure the depths of his understanding.
He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.
Even youths will become weak and tired and young men will fall in exhaustion.
But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles.
They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 41:28-31
Wouldn’t you love to receive strength when you feel powerless? Now comes the real challenge for me. I get this concept in theory but how do I obey Jesus in my daily practices? Usually I am reminded to give my worries and anxieties to God in a moment of mental panic. In those times, I have to say a quick prayer (I think of them like a text message) to ask God to help me give up my need to control. The idea that I cannot control everything (anything really) gives me peace. God has it all in control and when I remember that, I have mental peace which brings me rest. Other times, I need to rely on God to provide me with the supernatural strength that only comes from him. There are days when I can’t drag myself out of bed. “God, please help me get up and get to the shower.” Again in the shower: “God, please help me be strong enough to make it to work.” On the way to work: “God, please help me make it through the morning.” You see the pattern? On those days I am like a solar panel, powered by the Son. And at the end of the day, I look back and praise Jesus for getting me through.
Lastly, God also gives us rest from supernatural attacks. When everything seems great and it feels like you are on God’s path for life and then BAM!!! Out comes the self-doubt, anxiety, depression, bills, sick family member, past trauma, health issues, injury, or personal attack from another person. These can be supernatural attacks. All Satan has to do is plant a tiny seed, and because of our sinful nature, a problem will grow. Going back to Matthew 11:28, the word Jesus uses for rest is “anapausō” which means “to give rest, give intermission from labor, by implication refresh”1. When we remember that we are being attacked, we can put on the Armor of God and fight that attack! The Belt of Truth tells us that God gives us intermission from the labor of fighting our enemy.
It’s time to give Jesus your burdens. It is time to call on God to give you rest from your attackers. Stop trying to be Superwoman (no hate, she seems pretty cool) and pray that God helps you release your burdens to him.
It’s time for some rest.