Resting in God is difficult for me. I am a person of action. If I’m not in action, I’m probably sleeping. Everyone I know is overwhelmed with action items. We are struggling through each day trying to make progress.
Even God, while creating the world, took the seventh day off. “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done.” (Genesis 2:1-3)
The creator certainly sets a good example for His people to follow. We must take time for resting in God or it will catch up with us. Rest doesn’t come easy, but God designed us to need rest. Yes, we can work hard, but we must rest.
Resting In God Is Found In Jesus
I’ve come to understand that Jesus is the source of peace and rest in my life. Peace is not something I can conjure up on my own. It’s not in my power. I only receive it when Jesus offers it to me. Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)
Jesus is telling us, “You don’t have to try so hard. You must go where I go, do what I tell you to do. Resting in God is found in me, and I’ll make sure we get where we’re going.”
In the normal course of action, however, good habits for rest are an important factor in daily life. Certainly, I’m not the model for good habits. However, I’ve had to learn a few of these habits the hard way. Here are some tips for developing a restful way of life.
Prayer helps me to focus my attention on God, reminding me I’m not in control. The creator of the universe is directing my steps. This works best in my life by developing a habit of continuous, regular connection with my creator.
A few years back, I tried an experiment of connecting with God once every 60 minutes through the course of my waking hours. John Burke, pastor and author outlines this practice in his book, Soul Revolution. Burke describes the development of habit over 60 days. He says, “As you go through your days, seek a continuous conversation with God, using every sixty-minute beep of the watch as a reminder to reorient yourself into a continuous conversation of willingness.”
I find this habit to be central to a pattern of good communication with God. It helps to develop a habit of continuous prayer. I don’t have to use a beeping alarm every hour to remain connected. Instead, I connect with God every time I get up from my desk. As I go through my day, I take God along. I pray short prayers, connecting with Him every chance I get. Peace is added to my day by a continuous connection with God.
Paul told the Christ-followers in Ephesus, “And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:18)
To rest easy, you need to know God’s Word. Taking time to know the Bible helps you to recall it more easily when you need it. Many scriptures talk about how to react when you’re worried and struggling. God tells us repeatedly, “do not fear, for I am with you.” (Isaiah 41:10)
Knowing what the Bible says will help you tap into the peace that can only come from the Prince of Peace. We can know peace because we know Peace – Jesus Christ. In a favorite passage, Jesus tells His followers, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
When I have trouble sleeping due to stress or anxiety, I often turn to Psalms in the Bible. The Psalms have a way of helping me in times of trouble. They remind me I’m not alone. Psalms handles this with poetry and songs. Many of these were written by David, who struggled with depression and crippling anxiety.
Psalms has a way of calming me, especially the verses that praise God, helping me realize He loves me. Reading scripture helps me to ease my troubled mind and find peace – sometimes enough peace to sleep.
Not all rest is sleep. Sometimes I need to turn off the television. Sometimes I need to go for a walk. Sometimes a day of solitude might be in order. A day of rest or even an hour or two of rest can do wonders for my mental health.
You can see that rest is not just sitting on the couch or sleeping it off. It’s developing good habits for mental health. When you go for a walk or exercise, it releases cortisol in your brain. That will make you feel better.
Good Spiritual Habits
Developing good habits for rest and following Jesus, the Prince of Peace, is the best way to find rest in God. Commit yourself to a regular habit of prayer, reading God’s Word, and avoiding distractions is a great start to finding rest. Stepping into a moment-by-moment journey with the creator will lead you to the rest you need.