KATIE M. REID
“So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.” Matthew 7:11 (NLT)
While I think we can all agree that rest is crucial to our well-being, it can also be exhausting to feel guilty that we aren’t getting enough of it.
Can we please kick guilt to the curb and reframe the conversation?
We grab hold of the good news of grace and unwrap its contents with sheer delight. The same is true for rest. It’s a gift to be freely enjoyed, not a punishment inflicted on us. “So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him” (Matthew 7:11).
When we’re young, we nap. We don’t always like it, but we need it. We fall apart without it.
When our children need something, we do everything we can to meet their needs. Say your son needs a pair of shoes. You search for a pair that meets his need and makes him smile. You bring home a pair just his size, but a puzzling thing happens. He chooses not to open the box. He sets it down and never opens it.
What if your daughter has a cavity? She’s in so much pain yet refuses to let you take her in for treatment. She kicks and screams, even though the procedure would significantly improve her quality of life. Getting a filling might not be pleasant at the time, but it’s able to alleviate great discomfort long-term.
Do you have a need yet haven’t opened the gift God’s provided for your benefit?
Is your body in pain or your mind in a constant state of stress, yet you refuse to undergo what’s necessary to get back on track? I’ve been foolish and stubborn when it comes to rest. I’ve discounted the gift and refused its benefits, viewing it as punishment instead of provision.
Rest is an opportunity to exercise faith that we’ll be taken care of in the absence of our “doing.”
God knows what we need even better than we do. He doesn’t sleep on the job. He does nothing halfway. He lovingly created us to do, but we also must have sleep and a break.
Our needs point to His ability to provide. Our tipping point is an opportunity for Him to show up, break through and supernaturally provide when there’s no other way.
Resting in who He is and our identity in Him might not translate into a full night’s sleep as we face difficulties. Rest might be a life-giving gasp of air after you’ve been swimming for too long. Rest might mean receiving grace instead of bullying yourself when you’ve overdone it or underdone it. Rest might be crawling into the comfy recliner with Jesus, instead of dusting. (Yes, definitely instead of dusting!)
As we realize that grace abounds in the area of rest as well, we see possibilities and not limitations — the joy and not the duty of it.
I used to think rest had to look a certain way. But even in my own household, we rest in different ways. One sleeps as long as possible. Another likes to draw, read and be creative to unwind. I prefer a 20-minute power nap and then time to think and process while sitting in the sunshine. My husband likes to connect with God outdoors, taking in sights and sounds of woodland creatures and rugged terrain. Some of my friends connect with God by going for a run. This act of exertion calms their minds and rejuvenates their bodies.
Rest can look a thousand different ways. Whatever you choose, may it recharge you, not drain you. Take a break from your work and make room to enjoy things (and people) you may have been hurrying past.
May your time of rest demonstrate the trust you have in God, who gives His children good gifts, including rest.
Heavenly Father, thank You that You are trustworthy. You knew what You were doing when you wired us with a need for rest — physical and spiritual. Help us exchange the guilt of rest for the gift of rest. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
TRUTH FOR TODAY:
Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (NIV)
James 1:17, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (ESV)