When I am at home it can be very hard to relax. For some of you, that might make no sense at all…but for a few of you women, this statement might ring especially true. I see my home as my “domain”, as my responsibility and my stewardship. My eyes are always looking around me and are, unfortunately, often noticing all that still needs to be done: the cobweb high up in the corner, the weeds creeping into the flowerbed, the dust settling on the nightstand, the soaking pot that needs to be scrubbed. All around me, I see “the next thing to do”, and it can be hard to just sit still.
A “staycation” would never bring about the quality of stillness and rest that my body and spirit need. Maybe one day, but definitely not today. Getting away has always been a sweet gift and a needed respite from the daily “grind” of life…and with it often comes fresh perspective. With extra time to rest, think and engage, I am reminded of what truly matters, and the proper temporal and eternal weight I need to give to things. It’s a reboot of sorts that encourages my heart and recharges me to head back into our home with renewed purpose in giving attention and time to the details of my life with a more balanced approach.
In many ways, just like being at home, my mind itself can be easily distracted and cluttered by so many things. The needs are endless, the time is short and there is much to think about, organize and plan…and that’s just concerning what to put on the table for dinner tonight 😉 . Then there are the pressing needs, both physical and spiritual, of our own family as well as the family of God that the Lord has placed us in. When the pressure builds, the needs increase and my mind seems overwhelmed, it’s easy to seek an escape, and I have been known to bury my head in a good fiction book or check “Plugged In” to find a movie to end the night with. In and of themselves, neither of those things are wrong, but they never ultimately satisfy or bring the rest my heart needs.
My mind needs a vacation, not once or twice a year, but daily…and I have found the sweetest location the world has ever known in the pages of Scripture. My mind is renewed with the promises and character of God and the fresh perspective I gain: God’s perspective. It grounds my heart in truth, helps me more clearly see the world around me, and realigns my desires to be for the glory of God and not for selfish gain.
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-29
This verse is not just a promise to be realized at the moment of salvation; this is the yoke of rest we are to wear every day of our lives.
Dane Ortlund, in his beautiful book Gentle and Lowly, says it this way:
“His yoke is kind and his burden is light. That is, his yoke is nonyoke, and his burden is a nonburden. What helium does to a balloon, Jesus’s yoke does to his followers. We are buoyed along in life by his endless gentleness and supremely accessible lowliness. He doesn’t simply meet us in our place of need; he lives in our place of need. He never tires of sweeping us into his tender embrace. It is his very heart.”
True rest is found when we submit our thoughts, desires and planning to the yoke of Jesus’s rest which was enabled through His work on the cross in our place. True rest comes when we abandon our broken cisterns of worldly thinking, open up the Word of God, and drink deeply from the fountain of living water. As we lie down in the green pastures and quiet waters of His Word, swept up in the tender embrace of our Savior, we find what no resort can offer, no vacation can promise and no trip can produce…eternal rest in the temporary moments and days that make up our lives.
“You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You.” -Augustine