Day after day I live my life going through daily routines. As a follower of Jesus, a wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend and minister my list is endless, there is always something to be done. I am also a type A, driven, list loving person. Add these ingredients together and you get a woman who will drive herself into the ground before realizing I need rest.
Rest – freedom from labor
FREEDOM! Now that is a word that I adore. My favorite movie of all times is Braveheart and I think everyone knows the famous scene when William Wallace yells at the top of his lungs “FREEDOM”. Tears stream down my face every single time I watch that passionate speech, a speech reminding the common folk that they deserve freedom as much as anyone. I love that movie so much because the anthem still rings true for you and me, we, as common folk, deserve freedom. We not only deserve it we NEED freedom…. including freedom from laboring.
Labor – expenditure of physical or mental effort especially when difficult or compulsory
Ever feel like your laboring through life week after week? Even the easy weeks when there is no drama or major hiccups it can still feel like we are laboring to get through our daily routines. Drudging away at the things that require our attention and affection. Wondering when any kind of relief from the mundane will come. I have come to realize that the freedom I seek in these moments is simply experiencing the presence of God. This is the one place that true rest is found.
Matthew 11:28 Jesus tells us “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
What does it say that we must do to receive the rest he offers? “Come to me”. That’s it! It’s that simple. We must go to him when we feel like we are laboring with no relief. He promises rest. So, how do we go to him and receive this rest? We STOP. We stop long enough to ask him for what we need. We stop and lean into him. We stop and wait on him. He will respond to our asking. He will bring the rest that we long for.
In the midst of my busy life my heart cries out…. “Lord. Turn my heart to you when the life around me isn’t what I prefer. Lord, you are the glory and lifter of my head. Turn my gaze back to you. Take me to that sweet place shared by you and I. That place where nothing else matters. That place where our eyes are fixed on one another, where you pull me close and your heart is all I care to hear. Turn me now Lord. In the midst of jagged rocks and rough seas. Turn me and pull me close again. I want to be with you in that place where we are face to face and I can feel your breath on my skin giving me renewed life again.”
Maybe today as you read this you recognize the same longing I have, the longing to be free from everything that feels like labor to your soul. Stop, be still, and go to him. Get somewhere alone, turn on some worship music, open your Bible and lean into him…. and wait. Linger in his presence and let him bring you the rest that you long for. There is no better place to be and nothing on the face of the earth to desire more than his life giving presence.