Thursday, January 15, 2015

What is Rest?

Hmm, I just typed the above question into Google and got a host of mumbo jumbo about something that uses the acronym spelled REST. I wanted to just see what came up and this was telling, our culture as a whole does not know how to rest yet as a whole is fairly lazy. 

So what is and isn't rest?

Perhaps we think of rest as neat and tidy wrapped up with a bow? What is rest to you? Each one who reads those words could perhaps answer differently yet still rightly. Rest is different things to different people and personalities. 

Rest is not necessarily laying down with my eyes closed in a perfectly peaceful and comfortable moment. It is not always quiet or lengthy.  I confess that when I think of rest I typically think of quiet, low-chaos, solitary, and life changing. Those things just don't fit my life very well right now - yes, I have moments of quiet and low-chaos but not seasons.

Here is what has to say about rest:
1. the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep
2. refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor
3. relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles or disturbs
4. a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude or tranquility
5. mental or spiritual calm, tranquility
6. the repose of death
7. cessation or absence of motion

This surfacy sounds good - but I think there is more to true rest. I read in God's Word that He brings rest to the weary. I know His Word is trustworthy and so I must choose to focus on the truths of His Word not on my doubts and wondering how. 

  "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." Matthew 11:28-30

I love these verses and I sense that there is a LOT to unpack there. While still good, to read them barely scratches the surface.

Try and picture this:

Imagine the most beautiful and inviting get away you can think up, a place that exudes rest to you. You have been invited by Jesus and He is there waiting to welcome you with open arms to this place of rest. He has a way of naturally easing your burdens and lightening your load as you arrive. He warmly welcomes, walks slowly and talks gently with you. Then, He invites you to be His student - to learn from Him. To follow His example. Can you imagine? Yet, isn't that exactly what the above passage is inviting us to? 

Why is it so hard for us to rest? I think we are afraid. Afraid of letting go even a little and knowing that if we lessen our grip on things they could spin frightfully out of control. We are afraid of missing out {more on that another day}, we are afraid of failing, afraid of getting behind or overwhelmed. At this moment, everything I can think of that keeps me from rest has a root in fear. 

Let's pause here - consider today what rest is to you and what is keeping you from rest. What can you learn about rest today? Take at least one deep breath to practice rest even for one moment. God, please teach us to rest.