by Brooke Lee
Many years ago, in the midst of ministry burnout, a mentor of mine said to me, “Rest is Biblical.” Although her words felt cutting at the time, they were true. In fact, you can’t get but two pages into the Bible without confronting rest. But, what actually is rest? Is it sleep? A vacation? Unstructured time? If we look throughout Scripture we’ll see it plain and simple: rest is the presence of God. While we may experience breaks from life, numb out, or temporarily escape our responsibilities, true rest, the kind that fills us up and breathes life back into our souls, can only be found in the presence of God. In Matthew 11:28 Jesus addresses this exact thing as He speaks tenderly to the one who’s tired and worn out, “Come to me and I will give you rest,” He says. Notice how He didn’t say, “take a break,” or “get better at your work-life balance” but rather, “Come to me,” solidifying this truth that it’s in His presence, and His presence alone, where true rest for our souls is found.
Several years ago one of my best friends was getting married and to this day I don’t think I’ve attended a wedding as elegant as this. The reception venue was gorgeous and the food was exquisite, which thrilled my 6’4” husband who can pretty much eat for six. As my friends and our spouses stood together enjoying the music and appetizer hour, my husband cut into the conversation and proposed we move our group to this one particular corner of the room. I looked at him a bit puzzled, but agreed, and off our group went. I was just about to question my husband’s odd behavior when two double doors behind me flung open followed by an outpouring of kitchen staff. There were trays and trays of mouthwatering food—filet mignon bites, ahi tacos, mini lobster rolls, and more. My husband shot a smirk my way and then happily began plucking appetizers from every tray that passed him.
You see, what my husband did was this: he found where the source of food was coming from and then he positioned himself directly in front of the source and ate his fill. When you are worn out, who or what are you positioning yourself in front of to receive rest? I wonder how different our lives would be if we were adamant about positioning ourselves directly in front of God—the source of our rest—so that we could receive our fill.
Take some time and reflect further on these questions. When you are tired what do you turn to for rest? Do you view rest as optional? If so, why? What value does “busy” have in your life? Do you allow God to give you rest, or do you try and create rest for yourself?
Brooke Lee is a wife and mother and lives in sunny San Diego, CA. She is the founder and leader of a non-profit women’s organization called GLAM: God Loves All of Me, and the author of a handful of devotionals, as well as the small group curriculum for women entitled, “Identity: A Soul Journey”. Her newest tool to help draw people closer to God is an on-the-go devotional podcast called, “In the Midst,” helping people engage with God in the midst of their daily lives. In all that Brooke does, she is passionate about teaching women how to take off their masks, knowing that freedom always follows, and leading women to rise up and take their place in God’s great story.
“Recover” is an 6-entry devotional meant to accompany you during your times of rest to help you better understand the rest God intended for you. Each entry includes a verse, written devotion, and 2-3 restful spiritual practices that you can begin applying to your life today.