Rest: A Necessity or A Luxury?

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Dear Friends, 
Rest: A Necessity or A Luxury?

We live in such a fast-paced world, where we hardly take a moment to stop and take a breath. We feel pressured to move at the pace of everyone else. Whenever I've had to get the train to London, the moment I step off the train and onto the platform, I find myself swept along in the frantic pace set by those around me. Everyone is rushing and without realising it, it's easy to get caught up in the rush.

We tend to feel guilty if we admit we need to have a rest. We find it hard to accept our own limitations. We put a huge amount of pressure on ourselves to keep going. We view rest as a luxury and tell ourselves "I'd love to be able to have a rest, I just don't have the time." But rest is not a luxury, it is, in truth a necessity. We need rest.

I believe that if we continually ignore our need to rest, God steps in to use our circumstances to make us rest. At least, that's how it's been in my life.

When we can't function at the level we want due to ill-health, old age, or other circumstances, we get frustrated. Frustrated that we can't do what we once did, or do what we would like to do. That's how I have felt at times and was feeling again not so long back. I was so frustrated by my limitations.

There is so much I long to do, things that are good and worthy, and yet I'm hindered because of my health. This is not how I wanted life to be.

But God met me in my frustration. Through various sources, such as posts on Facebook, blogs I read, sermons, Scripture which God kept bringing me back to, even the 40-day devotional book I'm almost halfway through: "Whispers of Rest" by Bonnie Gray. All of these were emphasizing the need for R.E.S.T. 

Just when I thought I'd got a pretty good handle on rest, God has been taking me through some more lessons. But I'm so glad that Jesus is such a wonderful teacher, so gentle, so patient, so loving.

The particular Scripture God repeatedly brought to my attention (sometimes more than once a day) is a verse I've written about in previous blogs. It's Matthew 11:28-30 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT)

And paraphrased in the Message as:
“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.”

"Come to me," says Jesus. What an invitation Jesus speaks to each and every one of us. Imagine him saying these words to you right now. Can't you just hear the love and concern in his voice? We can come to him just as we are, with all our baggage. He knows just how we are feeling. He understands. I believe we all have a need to be fully understood for who we are, understood and loved. Jesus sees our frustrations, our anxieties, the stress we put ourselves under and he wants to release us from these things.

"Learn my unforced rhythms of grace,"  Jesus says. For me, there's so much poetry in these words. They resonate deeply within me. How I long to learn and live in Jesus' unforced rhythms of grace. How about you?

"Keep company with me," says Jesus. When we do we receive rest for our souls. What a blessing it is to find rest in his presence.

As I've said, God is once again teaching me the value of real rest in him. He enabled me to release into his hands all the frustrations I'd been feeling. I've been able to savour time with him. Whilst I've not been able to be as physically active as I would like, he has shown me how to rest in him. This time has actually been one of blessing because it's meant I've had time to meditate on his Word and hear him speak to me through Christian books I've read. I've had time to journal and write. I would have missed out on all of this had I had the energy and strength to get on and do things.

My time with him has again helped me to accept the season of life I'm in right now. To accept that it's ok to have limitations and restrictions. And to enjoy those things I am able to as I rest in him.

To Think About:
Do you see rest as a necessity or a luxury? How do you think God sees it?

Have you ever had a season in life when you have felt frustrated by your limitations? Was there a time when you felt as though you had been 'laid aside'?

What do you think God may have been wanting to teach you during this time? Did you receive any blessings from him during your 'time-out'? Did you learn anything which has changed the way you now approach life?

What do you think it means to rest in God?


If what you read was of interest to you, then you may like to know that my book "Dear Friend...52 Weekly Devotions to Encourage, Challenge and Inspire" is available to buy from Amazon, on Kindle or in paperback. (Its content is material adapted from previous blog posts.) To learn more, click on the link below:


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