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.”(Matthew 11: 28-30)
What would you do if you had 8 days to do absolutely nothing? I’m a busy person. I have something to do nearly every day, and sometimes it feels like the second one thing drops off my calendar another event pops up to replace it. I know I need to rest – but sometimes, even that can seem like just another thing on my calendar.
This July, my husband and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary. As a gift to ourselves, we planned a trip without our children. We had visions of huts over a turquoise ocean, laying around and doing nothing all day. We would casually stroll down the boardwalk to the restaurants for dinner, spend evenings drinking fruity cocktails and stargazing. A resort so remote that phones and email don’t work. A full 8 days of REST.
Does it sound amazing?
At first it sounded heavenly, but the more I thought about it the more it made me nervous. The thought of having absolutely nothing to do for 8 entire days and no contact with my children gave me next-level anxiety.
I know rest is good for me. God gives us the example of rest because we need it. When we sleep at night our bodies work to repair the damage done during the day, and when we take a day off, our spirit can work to repair damage done during the week.
I know rest is good for me. When I take the time to rest fully, it’s wonderful. Sometimes when I stop doing ALL! THE! THINGS! and remember to slow down, I’m able to see beauty of God’s creation. I physically feel my muscles loosen and the tension goes out of my shoulders. I remember what it feels like to be a child with no responsibilities, eating a peanut butter sandwich on a lawn chair parked under a tree.
I know rest is good for me. I know I’ve had enough sleep and have taken time to slow down when I notice I’m not doing as much worrying about everyone and everything. My footsteps are lighter. I’m more relaxed. I feel better and want to make healthier choices.
I know rest is good for me. I remind myself rest doesn’t’ have to be sitting around and doing nothing for extended periods of time. Rest can be simply getting enough sleep, putting aside worries for a short time to enjoy time with friends and family. Rest can be going outside barefoot in the backyard and standing under my birch tree so I can hear the leaves shiver in the wind. Rest can be digging in the dirt in my garden for 10 minutes, or rest can be driving hours into the mountains where I can hear the river burble past, watch wildlife frolic, and smell the scent of pine and clean air.
I know rest is good for me. It’s good for us. But it doesn’t have to be a rest that gives me anxiety. Our trip won’t look like what we initially imagined. We won’t be sitting in huts over the ocean. Instead, we will be at Disneyworld and on a cruise ship. If we want to, we could pack each of our 8 days with activities. And some days we might. Much of our vacation won’t look like rest – but it will be. We will rest from our responsibilities as we run around Disneyworld and the cruise ship, feeling like kids again, laughing and being silly. We rest as we take in the beauty of God’s creation while stargazing off the balcony overlooking the ocean and exploring new places. And we will rest as we take casual strolls to restaurants for meals and spend evenings drinking fruity cocktails. We might even spend a day doing absolutely nothing.
Let us pray...
Thank You for giving us the gift of rest.
Help us to sleep, so that our bodies can heal.
Help us to share our worries with You, so that our spirits can be restored.
Fill us with Your peace and presence so that no matter where we go, we know You are there with us, guiding us into Your holy resting place.