What a lovely word.
Recently returning from an exhausting week at camp, I have been trying to rest up for another week of camp starting tomorrow. I was looking forward to having a week off between my times at camp so that I may have a chance to rest and perhaps catch up on sleep. I would conclude that this week has mostly been restful. I had no campers that I needed to constantly watch out for; I was free to relax my mind and do things that rejuvenated me, like going for tea with my cousins, or seeing friends that I hadn’t in a while (shout-out to you Genny and Linnaea!). It was refreshing.
So, I have been able to rest mentally and emotionally. My brain has had a break from working though conflicts and being a mom to six little girls. I have also had physical rest by being allowed to sleep in when I feel I need to.
I have been discovering, though, that while those are all good and needed forms of rest, spiritual rest is something that is essential but cannot by attained by removing myself from difficult situations or sleeping the day away. It is a different kind of rest, and a rest that can be accessed when my surrounding situation seems like the farthest thing from restful.
This notion of finding rest among the chaos came clear to me when I was stressing about different things during camp last week. I came across Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn form me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (NIV).
I realized then that I cannot attain true rest on my own. God invites us into His rest. This is not a rest for our weary earthly bodies and minds, but it is a rest for our souls.
I think rest has a lot to do with trust. When we are at rest, we are at peace. When we decide to come to God for rest, we are saying we trust that He is far greater than our burdens and He will give us the rest and strength that we need. My soul is at rest when I trust God with my worries and fears for the future. It is at rest when I say “Yes, Lord” and follow His ways instead of the world’s. It is at rest when I slow down and become aware of His presence. “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you” (Isaiah 26:3, NIV).
The reasons this week has only mostly been restful is because while I was mentally and physically refreshed, I still chose to sometimes not come to God for rest when I knew I needed it. I still chose future concerns over His peace.
True rest can only be found in the One who formed my soul and knows every detail of it.