So often in our lives, rest becomes the last thing on our list of things to do. We do as much as we can in a day, and in a week, and cut our hours of rest and sleep down so that we are able to get more accomplished. At times this may result in us being less effective in our ministries and less caring to those around us as we can get exhausted and irritable. What might happen if we flipped this pattern around put rest at the top of the list?
Rest is a form of caring for oneself and connecting with God, and it is an important part of a healthy walk with God. In his book, “Let Your Life Speak”, Parker Palmer writes “Self-care is never a selfish act – it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do it not only for ourselves, but for the many others whose lives we touch.”
In scripture we are invited to come to Jesus to receive rest that truly refreshes us. In Matthew 11 Jesus invites us to rest in Him.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (The Message)
As we continue to journey through Lent, I invite you to set aside some burdens if you are able to. Take a brief moment (or an hour, or even a day if you can!) to hand these burdens over to Jesus and rest in His presence.
Lord Jesus we confess that at times we are overwhelmed with the needs around us. We pray today that we will have the courage to set these burdens before you and to embrace the rest and refreshment that you offer to us. May we walk in your strength and not our own.