A Call to Rest
My first three babies were great sleepers. I’m talking sleep through the night at 10 weeks old kind of sleepers. I’m not gonna lie—it was awesome. Then, I had baby number four. That sweet babe of mine did not sleep for more than 45 minutes at a time for nine months. Suddenly, I understood. All of those tired mamas on Facebook made sense to me. I nodded in total agreement how coffee had become a necessity and showering a luxury. I repented of every time I had judged a mama wearing her slippers at the grocery store.
Y’all, we are living in a society of tired people. We have convinced ourselves that a little afternoon nap and an extra cup of caffeine will make everything better. Oh, that may give you a boost for the day. It may help you pull through to the weekend. It is not, however, a long term solution to the weariness that weighs many of us down.
We do not need a nap (well, not just a nap.) We need rest.
The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. And he said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while” —Mark 6:30-31.
The apostles were experiencing exhaustion. Jesus listened as they told him “all that they had done and taught” and he knew. Often, we do not realize when we are pushing ourselves too far. We need someone who cares enough for us to speak truth to us and tell us that it’s time for a break. We need to press the pause button on all that we are doing and teaching.
I still remember when my husband and I were early in our marriage. I was working full time and pregnant with our first child. I, in my usual fashion, had overreacted to something minor. That man of mine looked at me and said, “You need to go upstairs and take a nap or have a quiet time or something. You’re exhausted.” Now, I would love to say that I responded with gratefulness and humility. I am pretty sure I did not. However, looking back, I see the wisdom in his words.
Weariness, my friends, greatly exaggerates negative emotions. Everything seems overwhelming. Everyone knows Matthew 11:28.
Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
As I read that verse this week, however, I noticed something. Jesus did not say that, if we came to him, he would end our struggle or fix that problem. He knows that we don’t need a quick fix. What we need is rest so that we can continue on in our pilgrimage. We need to give ourselves permission to stop. We know there is always another load of laundry that could be done. There are those pesky cobwebs hanging from the ceiling and fingerprints on the windows. There is always something that needs to be done. So, why does the Lord insist that we come to Him for rest? He wants to give us the permission that we will not give ourselves—permission to just stop for a moment.
You have permission to watch cartoons with your kids this morning.
You have permission to sit on the porch and drink your coffee.
You have permission to turn on the radio and dance in the kitchen.
You have permission to laugh.
You have permission to breathe.
You have permission to recover from whatever has been weighing you down.
You have permission to regain your strength.
The Lord gives you permission to rest.
And that work that you still have left to do? It will still be there tomorrow.
Written by Stacy Edwards