What is rest and what does it look like?

The original Greek word for “rest” means to: cause or permit one to cease from any movement or labor in order to recover and collect one’s strength.

I’ll be honest... this is a hard topic for me to write on. I’ve wrestled with whether or not to write on this, but if you’re reading this, that means God has finally convinced me to put the pen to paper (or fingers to keys in this case), so here we go...

I *really* like working. I like the idea of being busy and always having something to do. If you’re familiar with the enneagram, I’m a Type One or “The Perfectionist”. It is natural for me to work and want to do it perfectly. That “wanting” to do things in perfection, can easily become a “have to” for me, leading my wanting to striving. And if I’m being completely honest, that perfectionist mentality has ruled most of my life, specifically in these last two months. On the flip side of the coin, resting is challenging for me. My mind naturally races thinking about the next thing or task I can complete. You’re probably thinking, wow this girl probably has no life outside of work. That assumption is 100% accurate, up until this past week.

Here’s the truth that shifted my perspective:

We were never meant to strive.

I’ve believed the lie that striving is natural and normal (and maybe it is, apart from Jesus).

The truth is: it is supernatural to find rest amidst the chaos. (because Jesus is supernatural!!)

Jesus came for us to experience rest, not striving.

Jesus came for us to find rest, even when it seems impossible.

He came for the supernatural to be natural.

Matthew 11:28-30 (TPT) says this,

28 “Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. 29 Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me.30 For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear.”

It was never God’s intention for us to be burdened with work or struggle to make it through our next class, next meeting, or next year. The verb “come” in verse 28 is not just an invitation; in the original Greek, it’s an imperative asking for immediate action.

—It is an urging, a pleading, a heart cry for you to experience life abundant through Him—

There is also a choice in this. We can choose to continue doing life apart from Him, or we can choose surrender, freedom, and from that: rest. Easy-peasy, right? Lol. I like how Jesus uses rhetorical questions to drive points home, so there’s my shot at typing like Jesus if He had a computer and used texting acronyms.

Back to the blogging: it is a constant battle and daily choice to choose Him. But take heart, because the best part is that we have the freedom to choose, and we are empowered by Holy Spirit to do this. Romans 15:13 in The Amplified Bible says this:

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing [through the experience of your faith] that by the power of the Holy Spirit you will abound in hope and overflow with confidence in His promises.”

“We have the promise (Matthew 11), the freedom of choice, and the empowerment to choose Him no matter what (Romans 15). Our Father designed us for relationship. Our relationship with God is true rest’s residency. As we spend time with Him, we are refreshed and renewed, filled with all joy and all peace and all hope. We were designed to be in constant, regular communion with Him.

It is our choice to cease from any movement or labor, and in return, He provides a place to recover and collect our strength.

When we choose to fight for our rest in making space for the secret place with Him, only then do we experience rest.

I know my mind immediately jumps to this (and maybe yours does too): “But I have so much to do. I don’t have time to do this.” However, when we spend time with Jesus, somehow everything else falls into place. I think Bob Sorge put it best in his book Secrets of the Secret Place: “It is the understanding that spending time in His presence does not diminish our productivity in life, but rather becomes the wellspring from which flows Spirit-empowered effectiveness and fruitfulness. It is the only abode of true rest.”.

Choose rest today, friend, by choosing to fight for your time with Him. John Mark Comer calls it the spiritual discipline of slowing: “You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry in your life; hurry is the great enemy of spiritual life in our day. Slow down to the speed of Jesus.”.

Let your pace match the pace of Jesus.

Take a seat.

And soak in His presence for a while.

Author | Brooke DeLoach