Restful Rest

Is there a song that draws out your feelings every time you hear it? For me, it is this one:

“I’m tired. I’m worn.
My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing.
I’ve made mistakes. I’ve let my hope fail.

My soul feels crushed by the weight of this world.
I know I need to lift my eyes up, but I’m too weak.

Life just won’t let up.
And my prayers are wearing thin.

I’m worn even before the day begins.
I’m worn, I’ve lost my will to fight.”
(excerpted from “Worn” by Tenth Avenue North)

Sometimes this song reminds me of hard times from my past. Other times it describes the burdens I am carrying at that moment. Burdens many people carry. Worry. Depression. Guilt. Anxiety. Shame. Regret. Loneliness. Doubt. Fear. Confusion. Worthlessness.

Where do we find rest? The escape of sleep? The numbness of alcohol or substances? The distraction of hobbies or shopping? The indulgence of comfort food or media binges? The comfort of sex, self-harm, or careful planning? The thrill of risk-taking? Those may bring temporary relief, but it never lasts. We must resume the struggle before our strength is fully restored. This cycle breaks us down more and more over time. We grow tired and worn.

Friend, have you tried resting in Jesus? He has extended an open invitation:

Come to me, all you who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. Put on my yoke, and learn from me. (Mathew 11:28-29, CEB)

Come to me. How do you go to Jesus? With a humble heart through prayer. A humble heart is willing to confess your weakness, emptiness, exhaustion, and hopelessness. It admits what you are doing is not working and you need help. Prayer is simply talking to God. There are no rules about what or how to pray. It can be out loud or in your mind. Your eyes can be opened or closed. You can pray anywhere at any time while doing anything. There are no special words and no forbidden words. Since Jesus already knows everything you are thinking, feeling, and experiencing, it is safe to be open and honest with Him.

All who are struggling hard and carrying heavy loads. Who can go to Jesus? Anyone who is tired. You do not have to figure anything out first. You do not have to “clean house”. You do not have to get your act together. Go to Jesus just as you are. He will welcome you with open arms.

I will give you rest. Jesus is not offering a temporary escape or distraction or numbness. He offers rest that will refresh and replenish your heart, mind, soul, and body. He wants to permanently relieve you of heavy burdens.

Put on my yoke. A yoke joins two oxen together so they can share the workload. Wise and caring trainers start young oxen with a very light yoke and increase the weight and bulk as the oxen grow strong enough to handle it. When correctly fitted, the yoke does not feel heavy, even when the oxen are pulling a heavy load. Jesus wants to share our yoke and help carry our burdens. He offers a perfectly-fitted yoke so we are no longer exhausted and crushed under their weight. When we yield to Him, trying things His way, we find the lightness and joy He has promised His followers, even in hard situations. Jesus calls this far more life:

I came to bring them life, and far more life than before. (John 10:10, PHILLIPS)

Learn from me. Yoked oxen learn to follow their trainers’ commands. The trainer prepares them to navigate the field successfully, avoiding dangers and obstacles. Jesus can teach us to navigate life successfully. He can empower us to overcome worry, depression, guilt, anxiety, shame, regret, loneliness, doubt, fear, confusion, and worthlessness. The more we learn from Him, the more consistently we experience far more life.

King David describes resting in God this way:

I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure…
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand. (Psalm 16:8-11, NIV)

If you have never tried resting in Jesus, try an experiment. Go to Jesus. Give Him your burdens. Agree to learn from Him. I suggest you read the Gospel of John in the New Testament, one chapter a day (21 days). Each day ask yourself, “What can I learn from Jesus?” and write down a thought or verse you find meaningful. When you are done, evaluate whether resting in Jesus brought you far more life.

If you have a relationship with Jesus but have not been resting in Him, start again today. He will not criticize you for pulling away. He is always ready to take your burdens and share the yoke of far more life.

The song quoted above continues with these lyrics that fill my heart with hope:

I know that You can give me rest.
So I cry out with all that I have left.
Let me see redemption win. Let me know the struggle ends.
That You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn.
I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life and all that’s dead inside can be reborn.

Jesus offers restful rest. Test Him out. You may find far more life.

Sisters,
What burdens are you carrying?
Where do you turn for rest? Is it restful?
Are you willing to try resting in Jesus? Why or why not?
Thank Him for giving you His light yoke and teaching you the ways of far more life!

(You are welcome to let me know how your trial period goes — or ask any question — at farmorelife@gmail.com. I am praying for you!)
-Shari

Copyright 2021, Shari Damaso

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Shari Damaso

In John 10:10 Jesus says, "I came to bring them life, and far more life than before." I definitely have far more life since I began taking my relationship with Jesus seriously about 30 years ago. I want to inspire women to find far more life -- pursuing their passion for God and becoming the unique person He created them to be. Do not settle for life when God offers you far more life!

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