How can it be mid-summer already?! And how did I get this far without resting?
Summer used to be one lazy day running into the next: swimming and picnics and hand-cranked ice-cream, nights full of stars and fireflies. Above all, there was time to rest. Time to watch the clouds or fish and paint and time to dream. Where did that all go?
“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.”
Our Lord’s words arise, unbidden, from the back of my mind. Only, what I hear is “Sarah, Sarah, you are anxious….” For the fact is, the peace I’m looking for isn’t found beside a lake or “down the Shore,” as we say where I live. It helps, of course, to get away; but true rest begins on the inside.
“Come to me, you who labor and are heavy laden, and you will find rest for your soul” (Matthew 11:28-30)
For your soul. Yes, our bodies need rest. But no amount of sleep or leisure has power to calm a soul. For that, we need the Lord.
“Okay…,” says that a small voice in my head, “Sounds good – but how do I get it?” A few thoughts come to mind, that I share in hopes they will help you, too:
R-E-S-T: Remember, Encourage, Settle, Trust
R = Remember God
God loves you, [insert your name], with a deep and personal love. Remember who he is, who loves you!
- He is the God who rested after creating and who made you in his image, to enter his rest.
- He is the God who thought rest so important, he made it a commandment.
- He is the God who said, in his Son, “Come to me…and I will give you rest.”
- He is all-powerful. He is perfectly able to give you rest.
Try filling your mind with Scripture about God’s love and faithfulness. If you commit them to memory, the Holy Spirit will bring them to mind when you need them. This can be a powerful source of rest and peace.
E = Encourage each other
We’re all in this together. When someone you know is overburdened or sinking in anxiety, encourage them to look up into the eyes of God. Encourage them to remember his love and faithful care. Find a friend who will do this for you as well.
S = Settle into God’s love
“Be diligent to enter into that rest” (Hebrews 4:11). God doesn’t force his rest on us; we need to enter it. Practice casting your cares on God. See yourself climbing into his arms like a child nestles into the arms of her father.
T = Trust
Chances are, if your soul is not at rest, you are trusting in yourself instead of in God. Think of Peter, who rode the storm as long as he kept his eyes on Jesus. He was only engulfed by the waves when he looked at them instead (See Matthew 14:22-23).
Finding Summer R.E.S.T.
God has strong arms to save us; he calms storms, he gives grace, he promises rest. When you think it all depends on you and you’re distracted by worry, remember the God who loves you!
As you head out to the beach or the lake or take a couple days to unplug, set aside some of that precious new free time for God. Reconnect to him in the silence, and truly REST.
© 2017 Sarah Christmyer