Rest is a new topic of interest to me. It seems that everyone I know is exhausted and busy. We all have so much on our plates, we all have too much on our plates. Even in the best of times we feel over worked, overused and overly tired. Though there are moments of energy, usually fueled by some form of medication, whether it be 17 cups of coffee (in my case) or a red bull, there is an overwhelming presence of our underlining exhaustion. An illustration comes to mind. When I was a kid, I would play in friends pools almost everyday of every summer. One fun game we used to like playing was a game of great skill. The game was to hold a highly buoyant object, usually a inflated toy ball or something, under the water as long as possible. We would stand on the ball, stand on each other on the ball and hold with all our might but soon enough the ball would flip us and come flying out of the water only to restart the game. This is our lives. We try our best to hold the tiredness down with coffee or less work or vacation but the ball always wins, it always flips us and exposes our weakness.
How can we beat this terrible game? This is the question I have been pondering over the last couple of weeks. This is the question that is crucial for us not only to thrive in life, but also to survive life. While there are a number of short term fixes to ‘hold the ball under water,’ there is really only one way to win the game.
What the heck is soul rest. It is simply the rest that we all are really longing for. The rest that a 7 day vacation can’t give you. The energy that 17 cups of coffee can’t afford you. It’s true rest. It’s true rest that we all desire, rest that addresses not the surface level problems but looks through that to the underlying cause of our exhaustion. We will never truly rest until we realize that our work is done. Our work to try to prove ourselves to our co-workers or families. Our work to make more money. Our work to be the best moms. Our work to have the nicest house. Our work to have that one thing. Our work to be accepted.
We will never truly rest because there is a tornado of unrest IN our hearts.
The answer to winning the game and having the true rest, is to have all the longings of your heart (being loved, accepted, having identity secured, etc.) met. Not by earning it or finding it at the bottom of coffee cups but in a relationship with someone who can give you those things.
The only person who can answer all those longings is God himself. He created the world we walk in and the air we breath. Being everything you need is not difficult for him. It is in Jesus that we can finally have rest.
How? Glad you asked.
Jesus came to earth, lived a pure (sinless) life and endured the restlessness life for us on the cross so that we could be made right with God. When you become a Christian (trust in Christ) you are declared holy, blameless, perfect, infinitely worthy, unshakably important because Christ gives us his perfect life. So God sees his Son’s life when he looks at us, therefore we CANNOT and don’t have to earn anything or impress anyone.
All of our struggles of acceptance and fulfillment end, because we know that it doesn’t affect how God sees us. He sees us as his Son.
So you don’t have to strive to make millions, or have the nicest house, or have the best car or any of those things. You can say no at work at let your career path take the hit, because you aren’t trying to impress anyone, the Lord calls you perfect already.
From his understanding we can begin to have internal peace. It is this that is of primary importance when seeking rest. Then we build external ways to live and experience this rest. By stopping work, giving yourself time to breath.
Once we get the internal rest of Christ, our external efforts of resting become effective. We can take off work and truly know that it is ok.