Is “Rest” a Dirty Word In Your Vocabulary?

Are you feeling…. disheartened, disappointed, baffled, undone, weak, exhausted, drooping, drained, fatigued, wiped out, fed up, zonked? Too pooped to participate?

Do you wonder why you have lost patience, compassion, energy, drive, tenderness, grace, kindness and mercy?

It is all too common these days for us to become physically spent, emotionally weary, mentally overwhelmed and spiritually aching.

What do you feel when you hear the word… REST?

The word “rest” invokes a myriad of thoughts, emotions, physical responses and just the need to breathe deeply and exhale. Our idea of rest usually takes us to a place of escape. Escape from physical weariness, mental fatigue, emotional overload and maybe spiritual drought.

We are not alone when we are in the need of rest. The Psalms record David addressing the issue with God. “Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me” (Ps. 42:5), “My soul is weary with sorrow.” (Ps. 119:28). And my favorite, ”Oh, that I had the wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.” (Ps 55:6)

There are practical Soulutions that will bring some of the results we desire. For physical weariness we can be restored by sleep, exercise and the proper diet… all doable. It is possible to combat mental fatigue by practicing “right thinking” Philippians 4:4-9. Emotional overload tends to be lightened by a good friend. Talking or “unloading” the burden helps to carry it in a manageable way.

But the SOULution is found in the rest that only the Savior can offer.

Matt. 11:29 says: 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.

Andrew Murray says this in his book Abiding In Christ,

“These words of the Savior uncover what you have perhaps often wondered: How it is that the rest you at times enjoy is so often lost ? This must have been the reason: You did not understand how entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest.

Giving up one’s whole life to Him to rule and order, taking up His yoke, and allowing ourselves to be led and taught of Him, abiding in Him, to be and do only what He wills–these are the conditions of discipleship without which there can be no thought of maintaining the rest that was bestowed on first coming to Christ. The rest is in Christ, and not something He gives apart from Himself, and so it is only in having Him that the rest can really be kept and enjoyed.”

Rest is possible. Not only possible, but provided by our Lord. He gives us more than rest, He gives us Himself. He guides us clearly through the Word to our place of rest. “Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.” Ps. 62:5

We can trust Him to care for us, to supply the rest we need. Andrew Murray says it so well in Abiding in Christ, “Weary soul, come and learn this day the lesson that there is a spot where safety and victory, peace and rest, are always sure. That place, which is the heart of Jesus, is always open to you.”

How are you doing believing these truths? Where can you rest in God today?


Deb Hafer is the director of Global REST, a non-profit organization whose call is to assist workers in extending and enhancing their work cross culturally by providing customized, on-the- field) retreats as well as individual visits and team mediation. Global REST retreats are custom designed to minister to small groups (teams) to bring renewal and encouragement, focusing on the areas the team chooses. She can answer answer any questions you might have. Please contact her at [email protected]


  1. Patty Stallings April 26, 2015

    Such a beautiful reminder of truth today, Deb.

    “Entire surrender to Jesus is the secret of perfect rest” is what this heart needed to read this morning!

  2. Monica F April 27, 2015

    Thank you for this beautiful post.  Reading through it brought back some raw emotions that I experienced early on in our Sabbatical stateside.  We are 9 months into our 12 month sabbatical and I have to say that I am in such a different place than I was nine months ago.  I couldn’t read Matthew 11:29 without breaking down into tears.  The mere idea of ‘rest’ induced feelings of guilt and not living up to people’s expectations.  I resisted the gift of rest I’d been given… tried to busy myself….and even convinced myself that I didn’t need the ‘rest’ (but the rest of my family did- ha!).

    It wasn’t until I surrendered and let the Lord truly lead me into rest (even though I still wondered if I was being ‘sacrificial’ by resting), that I could experience a true Sabbath. It wasn’t just an escape.  Rest resulted in laying myself down, unpacking my soul, and letting my gentle Father soothe my wounds and weary heart.  So for anyone out there who is in the place that I was in nine months ago— weary, broken, and exhausted (only admitted to a few)…. there is hope.  Rest is possible.  It can be found in a few moments, a day, or a six month sabbatical.  We need only surrender and abide in Him.

    I am so thankful to be in a new place- refreshed and restored.  I know it will be hard to maintain REST in my life as we move out of the Sabbatical period.  But I definitely have the motivation and renewed understanding of what it means to REST.  Thank you VA.

  3. Marie May 3, 2015

    I shared this article with my circles, Deb. Thank you for the gentle reminder that resting is a godly thing, as the Spirit leads us into it. I remember discovering in our prefield training that the Jewish surrender to the Sabbath is really based on TRUST in God … trust that He can hold all things together, even when I must lay it down and pick it back up again later. In that in-between time, God will still be faithful. He doesn’t need me to make the world go round when I sabbath with intention. =) In fact, it’s by resting that I drink of HIM deeply, so that what needs to flow through me to others is filled up. I love that. Thank you & may God bless you and your ministry of teaching others to rest!

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