Devotional Thoughts, Guest Post

Rest for the Weary

This excerpt by Hannah Anderson comes from Gospel Meditations for Mothers (Day 23).

The last several weeks have been particularly busy ones, and as a result, I’ve found myself feeling out of sorts, irritable, and generally put upon. You know what I mean: when every “Mommy, can you help me…”  feels like an obligation; when each new opportunity weighs you down; when you reach the end of your endurance and just want people to leave you alone.

Truthfully, it’s my own fault. I am no perfectionist, but I do have a tendency to busyness. I have a hard time saying no, winding down, and truly resting. Over the years, I’ve had to admit this inability to stop as a weakness and commit to creating quiet space in my life. I’ve learned that rest is an act of faith—that I can stop working precisely because I believe that God will work for me. But recently I’ve learned that rest is also an act of self-control.

Rest is not only an act of faith—it’s an act of self-control.

The first time that the Scripture mentions the concept of rest is in Genesis 2:3 when God rests after creation. He didn’t rest because He was tired, but to model rest for us. And part of what He models is His own self-mastery. By abstaining from work, by purposefully limiting His creative power, He shows that He is not mastered by anything. Just because He could have done more didn’t mean He had to.

So too for us, rest is not only a form of trust. It’s also a way to express the freedom and power that He has given us through the gospel. When we rest and purposefully abstain from work, we declare that we are no longer slaves to our baser selves. We are no longer driven by our fears, desires, or even the demands of those around us. We declare that we are mastered by nothing but Him.

In Matthew 11:28–30 Christ calls those who are weary and heavy laden to come to Him for rest. But He provides this rest in an unexpected way: by calling us to come under His control. “Take my yoke upon you,” He invites, “and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart….My yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Rest is a way to express the freedom and power that He has given us through the gospel.

Christ’s call to rest is a call to come away from other masters and submit to Him alone. It is a call to come away from following the expectations of other people and our own sense of performance. It is a call to be conformed to nothing but His perfect image, to allow His nature to mold and shape our own, so that as we follow Him, our souls—just like His—will be free from the weight, free from the strain, free from the feeling of being driven like a pack-animal. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear,” Paul reminds us in 2 Timothy 1:7, “but of power and love and self-control.”

When feelings of bitterness and discouragement creep up inside you, do not simply push them aside and soldier on. Instead take the opportunity to evaluate whether you have enslaved yourself to something other than Christ. Take the opportunity to remember that He is a good, kind Master Whose yoke is easy and burden is light.

God commands us to rest in Exodus 20:8–11 because He knows how desperately we need it—physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. Stop trying to impress others, yourself, and even God with your self-inflicted busyness. Learn the joy of rest.

Let the gospel free you to rest.

Explore the whole book!

A mother’s work is exceptionally important—and excruciatingly difficult much of the time. In Gospel Meditations for Mothers, moms will find encouragement from the authoritative and sufficient Word of God in their eternally important work and labor of love! This mini-book includes 31 daily readings, short Bible studies on all sorts of topics—from trials and fears to love and endurance. Written with moms in mind but broad in scope, these articles would benefit any Christian.