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Three Things About Rest That Actually Make Me Feel Rested!

I haven’t been listening to God very well when He keeps telling me to rest over the past couple of months. Actually, I haven’t listened for a lot longer than that. I think He has decided to take away my choice in the matter until I finally get it.

My health has taken a dive over the last couple of months. I’m having a lot of pain and inflammation, especially in my back. Fatigue, headaches, and many other symptoms I won’t go in to. It may be from chronic stress, or maybe something else; I don’t know yet. I have ended up in bed without a choice on several occasions recently.

I think I’m finally getting it. I’m supposed to rest!! (duh!)

So, I have actually been pursuing rest in the last weeks. And it feels really good to be able to say that.

I didn’t even know how to rest. And I don’t think I’m alone. Maybe you don’t know how to rest either.

I’m excited to share a few things I’ve learned about rest that really surprised me. I’m so thankful God didn’t give up on me. I’m thankful He still loves a slow learner (very slow).

1. Rest means taking off the mask, all the time. Rest means learning to like the real me, just as I am. God loves me just the way He made me. I can stop trying to be someone else, always trying to be better…God is pleased with me right now, right where I am (even if I feel like a mess). God specializes in messes.

2. Joy and rest go together. What if we chose joy instead of efficiency once in awhile? What if we did things that yielded no result other than just feeling joy, knowing God is smiling at us, resting in the truth that we are His child?

What brings you joy? What feels like rest to you? (It should be totally unproductive!) I didn’t even know for awhile. But I’ve been doing some thinking about it, and remembering; here are some favorites that I hope will trigger ideas for you...

-laying on floor floor in my living room in the sun

-sitting outside on a beautiful day, looking at creation

-just sitting with my worship music on

-taking a nap

-hot chocolate with extra whipped cream

-laughing and being silly with my kids and my husband

-a date with my husband; holding his hand

-sitting by a fireplace with my Bible

-that moment when I finally realize what God is trying to tell me

-a weighted blanket and a good book

-writing what God is speaking to my heart

-Bavarian cream donuts with powdered sugar

-mountains

-having a really great conversation with a close friend

-researching a topic that I’m passionate about

-working on the adoption books I’m making for my three oldest children

What does your joy list look like? Joy=rest.

3. “Our scars make us know that our past was for real.” - Jane Austen(1)

Rest means looking back at the painful memories from the past instead of trying to forget them. I’m reading a book right now called, “Finding Spiritual Whitespace-Awakening Your Soul To Rest” by Bonnie Gray. Here is a quote from her book that I found profound:

Shalom

A deeper peace. It’s what shalom really means. It’s found in the beautiful original Hebrew language that gets lost in translation. Shalom means wholeness. Real. Complete.

You will keep him in perfect peace (shalom) whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. (Isa. 26:3 ESV)

Perfect peace from God isn’t found by forgetting. Peace is ours if we dare to remember our pain and our sorrow, and experience our fears fully with Jesus. Shalom peace from God is a putting back together. Shalom is the movement to recover pieces of ourselves that have been abandoned, a putting back together of what we’ve left behind, to find Jesus with us in our memories.(2)

I love that. And as I read it, I know it’s truth. We can go back to our painful memories (so we can heal) when we fully realize that Jesus will go back with us. And that He was there all along.

We can let go. We can be still. We can find healing and closure and wholeness. And where there is healing, we also find REST.

A verse I discovered (as if it’s never been there):

There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will fall by following their example of disobedience. - Hebrews 4:9-11 (emphasis added)

May we make every effort to enter the kind of rest God truly wants for us!

Jesus, your patience and mercy often leaves me speechless. You just keep pursuing us, even when we repeatedly don’t get it. Show us how to rest, Lord. Remind us it’s a commandment. Remind us to make it a priority (even if we have to be in bed while). Amen.

 

Source:
(1) and (2)- “Finding Spiritual Whitespace-Awakening Your Soul To Rest” by Bonnie Gray. 2014. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group; Grand Rapids, MI. pg. 73, 76.

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If you are an imperfect wife, mom, daughter, or friend, struggling to stay focused on God in the craziness and find joy in the heartache, then we have something in common. I am a recovering perfectionist and daughter of the King, slowly learning to fully trust the One who sees me just as I am, and is already pleased. I’m so glad you are here.

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