Originally posted February 21, 2019.
Do you feel rested when you wake up each morning?
If you didn’t hesitate saying “yes” to that question, let’s talk, because you my friend are a bit of a unicorn to me. My normal morning rhythm is a slow, snooze-button filled, coffee-dependent routine. My family has come to understand that momma isn’t to be “poked” first thing…or even second thing for that matter. My lack of bright-eyed energy in the mornings has often left me wondering what feeling truly rested is like.
In the Fall of 2013, I studied through the book of Hebrews with a group of ladies at my church. “Rest” was a repeated theme, and captured the attention and curiosity of many of the worn out mommas around the table. Out of a desire to fully understand what this word meant, I did the most logical thing I could think of. I Google searched the definition of “rest”. Being both a verb and a noun in the English language, this is what I found:
Rest (verb) – to cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
Rest (noun) – an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity.
Looking to scripture for some additional clarity, I landed in Genesis 2:2-3. These verses record how God himself rested on the seventh and final day of the creation account, from all of the work that He had done. Well, since my work is never done…unicorn. Another reference was Deuteronomy 5:14, where God’s people are commanded to cease their work on the seventh day of the week. They were commanded to rest. To God, this rest for His people meant something holy.
When I studied Hebrews, my children were 4 and 1. Truly an adorable time, but those that have gone before me in a similar season, you know that life was busy. Tasks never felt finished, my house was always messy, and the to-do lists were a continuous cycle of rinse and repeat. Sound familiar? Learning to rest in the midst of this kind of monotony sounded hard, almost like another thing to tackle on the to-do list. To strive and strive (and strive) each and every day to obtain “an instance of ceasing” left me burnt out. Rest was a command I was sure I was failing to obey.
Those Google definitions and Biblical commands left me feeling like “rest” was still a far off, unicorn-type thing to be experienced. However, digging a bit deeper into the verb form of the word, I found this: to be at rest means we are grounded; we place hope, trust or confidence on or in something. That definition felt closer to what I truly desired, and needed.
As timing would have it, I am currently studying the books of Deuteronomy and Joshua. The theme of “rest” comes up again, and not only in the Sabbath command, but in a dimension that illuminated where true rest is found. Faithfulness. Consider the first generation of Israel to be led out of Egyptian slavery. They weren’t allowed to enter the promised land (a land of rest) because they disobeyed the Lord. They hadn’t remained faithful to Him. In contrast, the nation of Israel eventually DID experience periods of rest, namely after they entered the promised land and trusted in the Lord to establish them as a people within it. That is the sticking point. Trust, confidence, faithfulness. God blessed His people with rest in the land when they remained faithful to Him.
“On God rests my salvation and my glory; my mighty rock, my refuge is God.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.”
~Psalm 62:7-8, ESV
Refuge is such an inviting word. But are we allowed to enter this place of refuge, of rest, if we aren’t completely faithful? Are we welcomed into His rest on our own? Historically, entering God’s presence wasn’t something everyone could do. Only the appointed High Priest could enter the Most Holy Place of the temple and atone for their sins, and only once a year. He alone was “allowed” to enter the presence of God and intercede on behalf of the people.
Our intercessory High Priest, Jesus, gives us access to this refuge; this forgiveness and peace with God. Receiving the grace he extends to us is how true rest is possible.
“Let us this with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
For me, drawing near to God with confidence means trusting in the salvation I have been given through Jesus. I approach His gates of refuge through prayer, worship, the study of scripture, and following the leading of the Holy Spirit. I place my hope of entering God’s refuge in my true and better High Priest.
“Find Rest” is a song born out of my desire to better understand this elusive concept. I wanted to capture the struggle of daily striving, and a desire to enter God’s rest in the midst of it all. This meditation is a reminder of the good and better rest offered by God.
The rest I was originally seeking was the feeling of completion. “Google definition” rest still happens occasionally (and should), but instead of “trying” to relax and cringing through the reality of all that still needs to be done, I’ve learned to place my trust in God’s provision of time to get it all done. I still make lists (I love lists and the joy found in checking things off), but I approach them differently; trusting in God to help me decipher His will. I listen for His leading and place my hope, trust and confidence in Him. It creates a confidence in my days, a feeling of rest. Peace even.
God’s gift of rest is better. It is lasting. True rest can be found when we place our confidence in our Savior, Jesus Christ. I would love to hear what your favorite ways to truly rest look like! Care to share in the comments?
I pray that this song blesses you on your journey. Enjoy the music, and rest well friends.
P.S. My sister-in-law Anna took those adorable family pictures for us way back in 2013. They are the only "formal family pics" I've had taken. Yep, time to add that to the list!