Be Rested

Read Matthew 11:28-30

Our rest lies in looking to the Lord, not to ourselves.
- Watchman Nee

When our daughter was little, we developed the routine of reading books before bed. After we finished reading, I would turn her around and rest her head on my chest. I would then rock her for a few minutes before laying her in her crib. It wasn't uncommon for her to doze off to sleep while on my chest.

One night she climbed into my lap carrying a blanket, stuffed animal, sippy cup, pacifier, and a few books. After we finished reading, when I turned her around to rock her, she refused to let any of her items go. She couldn’t fall asleep because she struggled to maintain her grasp on all of her stuff. They caused her more stress than rest.

Just like my daughter, we can be tempted to have a tight grip on our life. For many of us, not being in control is a scary proposition. If my schedule isn’t laid out the way I think it should go, if people aren’t responding the way I think they should, if my plan isn’t executed the way I had it in mind, it’s easy to get weighed down and stressed out. When the limits of our control are tested, control becomes a burden we can’t carry. In Matthew 11, Jesus tells us that true rest is found not in control, but in Him. However, in order to experience His rest, we first have to release our grip on our life.   

That night while rocking my daughter, she began to settle down and fall asleep only when she let go of all the stuff. The same is true with us. Before we can take up Jesus’ yoke, we have to release our grip on our schedules and expectations. Sometimes we’re afraid to relinquish control because we don’t trust that Jesus’ way is better. But only when we turn over the reigns of our life to Jesus will our souls find the rest we truly desire. Trust Jesus. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light.

Reflection Questions:

1. What circumstances or things in your life right now cause you stress?
2. Why are you afraid to let them go?
3. When has there been a time that you’ve experienced Jesus’ rest? How did you get to that place?