Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. 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. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.
- Matthew 11:28-30
When I was fifteen years old, I founded my own magazine ministry.
I couldn’t have been more excited. I poured hours of my time into writing and designing issues, putting together a team of other writers, and editing article submissions. It was an honor to watch God bring young ladies to the ministry who I could mentor and encourage.
But when I turned twenty, I began to struggle with keeping up. Putting out magazine issues each month was getting exhausting with all the other responsibilities I had weighing on me also. I could feel God gently encouraging me to take a small break. The ministry He had given me was such a good thing, but He knew that it was time I took a rest.
Yet I fought against that.
I’ve always been the definition of an overachiever. Taking a break felt like quitting to me -- and I never quit.
So I kept pushing myself until I began to cry one day and asked God how I could possibly balance everything I was trying to do. And He led me to Matthew 11:28-30 (above).
So I took a deep breath and I did what felt impossible to me at the time: I rested. I took a break. Not forever, just for a season.
And here are some things that I learned in the process:
1. It’s okay to rest. I think in this world that is constantly filled with busy, we can feel guilty if we take a break. You feel me? Taking a break feels selfish, so we push ourselves until we have nothing left to give. Sweet soul, taking a break is not selfish. I’ve heard it said that you can’t pour from an empty cup. If you don’t take the time to rest, you’re going to burn out.
2. Run to Jesus. In the verses above, Jesus says that He will give you the rest you so desperately need. But you must go to Him. When we fill our lives with busy, we can miss the opportunity to spend time with God. When our to-do list is filled to overflowing, we forget to be still and know that He is God and He is good. When you take a break to rest, go to Him. Rest in Him. Spend time in His Word and His presence in prayer. Let Him renew your strength with His.
3. Take time to care for your mental and emotional health. When we fill our schedules to the brim, we are not leaving any time to relax. God didn’t create us to constantly rush and do. When you take the time to rest, you’re allowing yourself to care for your mental and emotional health. Matthew 22:37 encourages us to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind. We can’t love Him with all of our mind if our mind is exhausted. Relax and take the time to enjoy life.
If you’re feeling worn down or tired, don’t be afraid to rest. God is such a good Father and He loves you so much. He will always be there for you.
After you’ve rested in Him, you will be ready to jump back into the great plans He has for you. And it’ll be so much better than before.
1. Think about your schedule and evaluate the activities keeping you busy. Which ones can you cut out or take a break from to allow you time to breathe?
2. What are some ways that you could invest in your relationship with God this week during a time of rest?
Dear Jesus, thank You for giving me rest. Please, help me to accept that gift today and to understand that rest is a good thing. Help me to keep my focus on You. Thank You that I have the gift of spending time with You. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
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