The Gift of Rest
I don’t know what it is that makes us feel like we have to do everything and do it all it once, but we do. This last year of my life has been about learning to rest and saying no to multitasking. I am focusing on being present and slowing down to enjoy life. I’ve never felt so connected or loved.
In this process, God has been talking to me about the importance of rest and keeping the Sabbath. Did you know that the command about the Sabbath is the longest of the Ten Commandments? Check out Exodus 20, God provides the most explanation for this verse. Amazing, right? It’s like He wants us to know that He’s serious about rest after a long work week. So I’ve been taking Him up on his offer and I must say, it’s been amazing! After church, instead of rushing to get things done around the house, I put my to-do list to the side. And I do things that re-energize me for the week, like taking a nap, lunch with friends, watch Hallmark movies or catching up on my reading.
I attended a service at my church called The Practice. The teachings centered on the use of various spiritual disciplines to help us connected with God, self, and others. These practices emphasized the importance of slowing downing, inviting God in and being fully present in each moment. Through these experiences and ongoing conversations with God, I learned that it’s important to listen to my body and slow down.
One of the ways I’ve been doing that is meditation. I started with the Examen and gradually moved to creating my own. Christian meditation is different than eastern meditation, in the sense that the focus is to increase our awareness of God’s presence in our lives and to reflect on His revelations. I have found immense joy and peace in these practices. Most recently, I’ve been studying Matthew 11:28-30 and pondering Jesus’ offer to carry my burdens in exchange for His rest. Wow! He is willing to do the heavy lifting while I just chill out and enjoy Him.
An invitation to Rest
Here is the Message translation:
28-30 “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.”
Reading this version, I feel like Jesus really understands that we get overwhelmed and drained by life’s daily challenges and He’s beckoning us to come lean on Him always to get through it. I imagine Him standing in front of me with His arms stretched out, and looking directly in my eyes. Then He says, “I know what you need, will you trust me to give it to you?” Each time, I meditate on this passage I find what I need to move forward. Some days that was sleep, comfort, and sometimes it was the answer to a problem. Each time I feel known, supported and loved. I have created three similar meditations using a different translation to share with you and want to invite you to just exchange your burdens for His rest. Check them out below.