Trusting God with the Rest

Rest. This seems to be something I have been thinking a lot about but haven’t been able to fully vocalize in a tangible way. There has been a push over the past few years for more self-care and mental wellness. For those of who follow Christ, I think it goes even deeper than that—like a dream that we knew clearly upon waking but whose edges seem hard to grasp as the day goes on.

Because for many of us, it’s hard to stop going on. There is often a struggle to lay the work and hustle aside to sit still, to just be. I know that this is what we are invited into and what is made available for us, but for whatever reason it is hard to give ourselves permission to pause.

For the past couple months, my husband and I have been in that place of realizing that we need to rest but not knowing exactly what that looks like. And sometimes the biggest battle to rest is fearing the repercussions. Will supporters understand our need to pause? Can we take time with our family that is not attached to a conference, meeting or ministry? The answer should be overwhelmingly yes like it is in almost every other role or career. It just doesn’t feel so cut and dry as an overseas ministry worker. But taking time to pause and rest is vital to our work. It is part of producing fruit, but as my husband and I have been learning more lately, rest is necessary to ensuring that the fruit we produce is sweet instead of bitter, underdeveloped, tasteless, or rotten on the vine.

As someone who has struggled with fear of man, I often have these questions as I consider creating more margin in my life. You may have asked yourself the same:

  1. What does rest look like for me?
  2. Do I have permission to do what brings me joy and rest?
  3. Am I allowed to take a vacation as a worker in a foreign field?
  4. Can I say no even though there is a need?
  5. Do I trust God to take care of what I can’t?

The answer to that last question should be obvious but I think that is the greatest point of tension. All the other thoughts may be legitimate concerns. But ultimately, trust is what can trump every other issue, every other fear.

Do I trust God to take care of what I can’t? Can I trust that he will provide even when others don’t understand? Do I trust that God can do more with my less than what I’m trying to do with my meager more? Do I trust that rest truly is a gift that God has given and that I can work from it, instead of striving towards it?

This perspective, if we can grasp it, changes everything. It makes rest more than an event or routine. It becomes the rhythm of our lives—something to be valued and cherished.

When we rest, we make room for God to move. Not that he needs it. But I do. I need that room—that margin, that buffer—that gives space to breathe deep. I need the pruning that makes what remains all the more sweet.

Not only do we need to give ourselves permission to rest, but if it’s within our power and realm of authority, we need to give that permission to others. Showing through our examples and encouragement what it looks like to live our lives in submission to what the Lord intends for us. Less hurry, less stress, less rush. Rest is a gift that I want to savor. As our family does our best to walk out this rhythm of rest and abiding, I want my kids to take notice. For them to not feel rushed or pressed to strive towards what is inauthentic, but for them to receive permission to live their lives from a place of rest too.

We are those who plant ourselves in countries and cultures. In doing so, we are invited to reach our roots towards the living water that Jesus said will never run dry. This is deep work, hidden work, an actively restful work. Because we sometimes have to burrow through rocky soil, dry land, places sun scorched and barren. But when we rest in the Lord, anchor ourselves in his shadow, he will grow something lasting and beautiful out of that submitted place. Rest then becomes more than a self-care moment, but an act of trust that the Lord is the one who will bring things about. Intentional rest cultivates the type of growth that we need. Roots that dig down deep; feet firmly planted in Christ.

Does the issue of trust resonate with you as you read? If so, what keeps you from trusting God with your rest?

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2 Comments

  1. Ellie July 6, 2022

    Ooh Jenny, it’s good! And you really got me with this line: Do I trust that God can do more with my less than what I’m trying to do with my meager more? “meager more” – so helpful!!! Blessings to you on this ongoing journey for both (all ) of us.

  2. Jenny July 7, 2022

    Isn’t it that way though? What we have really cannot compare to what the Lord has and can do. Its just that trust part that gets a little difficult :). Blessings to you as well!

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