Friday, July 17, 2020

Devotionals for the Heart: Rest Well

Do you rest well?
A devotional by Alexis Newlin

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 
–Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV)

Do you rest well?

God has made it more apparent to me that I do not. I am my own worse task masker, constantly driving myself to do more and more until I break down. As I am breaking, weary, crying and feeling as if the world is closing in on me, God whispers to me.

Our conversation sounds like this: 

God: Will you let me have it all? Please, just rest.

Me: But God, I have a million things to do. There are people counting on me. I have to get things done. I can’t rest right now.

Convinced that everything rests on my shoulders, I attempt my many things on my overflowing to do list and find that I simply can’t do it. God whispers to me again: “Just rest.”

When I finally do rest, I read God’s Word (The Holy Bible). I listen to my favorite podcast or music. I pop on my favorite comedy. I go get a massage. I take a nap. In doing these things, I find that I start to feel better, to feel lighter. The weight of world begins to lift and I realize that I’ve carried burdens that I am not meant to carry.

I’m reminded of this verse in Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV): “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I’ve tried to do it all, without consulting God. Often, I ask myself, “Do I keep working, or do I take a break?”

Just that simple question in prayer to God would make my life so much easier. I often forget that Jesus rested. 

There are many verses that detail Jesus taking breaks from His ministry:
Jesus resting on a boat during a storm (Mark 4:35-40).

After feeding the 5000 people, He went alone to pray (Matthew 14:22-23).

Encouraging the disciples to take a break after going out to minister to others
(Mark 6:30-32).

God rested after His creation of this world and all that lives within it 
(Genesis 2:2-3).

If the God of all creation can take a break from his work, it is okay for us to do so as well. We need rest. Our bodies are not meant to work constantly. If we are constantly working, we leave no room to replenish ourselves.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve seemed to confuse resting with laziness. I’ve bought into the lie that if I allow myself to take breaks, or do things that I enjoy, I’m being lazy. Yet, that is so untrue! The truth is that we need balance of work and rest. If we are tired and weary all the time, we will be ineffective for the kingdom.

So how can we rest well?

1) Spend time with God:
Just that alone helps you rest. In your quiet time, you can lay out all your worries and cares to God. He can let you know which burdens are actually His and ones you need to let go of. If you find it difficult to read or pray, just worship. Singing praises to God will lift your spirits and bring joy to your soul.

2) Take care of yourself: This is a big one that I struggle with daily. It is important to get enough sleep, eat well, hydrate, exercise and take breaks. It’s amazing what a simple nap can do! By taking care of ourselves, we’re better able to do the things God has called us to. My pastor once said that we should be working out of the overflow that God gives us. If you’re empty, you can’t help others.

3) Do things that you enjoy: It is okay to watch your favorite show, listen to music, read that book, go outdoors or hang out with friends. God wants us to engage in things that we enjoy. He wants us to spend time with those that we love.

Remember the importance of taking care of yourself, as our Savior did the same.

Take time to just sit at His feet and rest in His presence.

Author Bio:

Alexis is a 36-year-old lover of Jesus, loose leaf tea, roller coasters, writing stories and going on adventures. Originally from Marietta, GA, Alexis now resides in Fresno, CA.  

You can always find Alexis outdoors enjoying a walk in her neighborhood, scoping out the newest food truck, hanging out with friends or planning her next trip.

Her church, The Revival Center, and family mean the world to her. They have supported her through the loss of her mother and her own cancer diagnosis.

Alexis enjoys encouraging others by reminding them not to look at what they see, but to always look to God, who is working in the unseen.

Alexis currently writes for several online ministries and launched her first podcast – The Brave Podcast – in January 2020.

Connect with Alexis:

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