Big days have a predictably unpredictable way about themselves, don’t they? They have the irrevocable ability to resurface years worth of resentment, some intense, self-preserving behavior and a million expectations. For anyone who has come face to face with the reality that these days, no matter how hard we try to overcome the memories, are not always what they’re cracked up to be: this one’s for you.
Today’s for those who need to be reminded how deep the Father’s love for us truly is. How desperate He is for us to kick our shoes off and stay a while. How rest is promised to those who cast their burdens upon Him because He cares for us.
For a majority of my life, I have been in a constant battle between rest and busyness. My inner critic lets me know that there is always something to be done — always reliant on myself to do more! Connect, manage, hustle. All perfectly good things until I’m unable to give them my full attention and wholly receive their fruit. Resting only made my anxiety worse as my to-do list grew and I attempted to manage every aspect of my life.
God, in all His tenderness, has reiterated the powerful, healing words of “Be still and know that I am God” over me to captivate me into His relentless pattern of bearing my cross for me. Time and time again I find myself reverting back to my self-sufficient ways, completely tiring myself out, but He reminds me that it. is. finished! He conquered death so that I can freely experience His gift of rest.
Don’t mistake rest for sleep, though. We shut everything down when we sleep to refresh our bodies. Rest gives us the opportunity to restore our souls. The rest God provides isn’t the peace that comes when you are sleeping and the switches are all turned off. It’s the peace that comes when you are awake and fully able to acknowledge whatever it is we are feeling. Stillness, solitude and silence are some of the most practical gifts we can give ourselves when our circumstances start to cloud our judgment, so that we are able to discern the voice of God.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from 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.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
“Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens!” (Psalm 68:19)
“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14:14)
Psalm 23 has had a reoccurring presence in my life and has become a tried and true foundational anthem for my striving heart. It’s short, sweet and to the point: come as you are, you have a place at My table, I’ll take it from here.
As scripture reads Psalm 23:
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness for His name's sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”
My modern-day translation of Psalm 23:
He guides and protects me.
He makes me stop and rest.
His ways lead to being still, to refreshment and peace.
He makes me whole again and provides renewal for my weary soul.
He shows me where to go and gives me a testimony.
He is sovereign and refines me through difficult times.
He makes me courageous and I am never alone.
He is the God of All Comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3).
His table is set for me with plenty. With intimacy and packed full of nourishment. He has set the stage. He has many purposes and plans for my life.
He blesses me.
He gifts me with lavish blessings full to the brim.
My life is surrounded with mercy, goodness and love.
I dwell in security and safety, always.
With all its enticements, false promises and ever-changing, often unattainable goals, the world has set us up for failure and a snare is set. The “if only” and “greener grass” models have left us to believing and hoping in lies that will only leave us more weak and dissatisfied than before. But the Lord, with His endless mercy and unchanging character, has set a table for us. It’s brimming with all we need and overflowing with replenishment, nourishment and intimacy. He is the ultimate dinner party host—asking us to trust Him and simply relax in His presence. What a luxury!
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
“For the mountains may depart
and the hills be removed,
but my steadfast love shall not depart from you,
and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,
says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10)
So as summer kicks off, my prayer is that we each seek more wisdom from Psalm 23 and truly find soul-fulfilling, life-transforming rest in His presence. If your summer is calm and relaxing, press in. If it’s busier and more chaotic than the school year, press in. When we seek Him, we find Him and when we find Him, we encounter Him and when we encounter Him, everything changes.
Be still. Give yourself grace. Know that He is God. Surrender and rest. He’s got it all! May you experience just how deep, vast and immeasurable the Perfect Father’s love is for YOU,
“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!” (1 John 3:1)