How to Receive Rest for Your Soul

Is your soul in need of rest but you aren’t sure how to get to that place?

I wonder if you made goals for 2020. We’re at the end of January, when the resistance of everyday life may cause us to start losing steam.

Are you discouraged?

Do you see other women on IG crushing it with their goals? And do you then compare yourself and berate yourself? Be honest.

Oh friend, I know what it’s like. And so, I want to invite you to rest. Yes, at the start of your new year, I am indeed inviting you to rest.

Maybe you need to rest from discouragement, comparison, or berating yourself. And maybe, just maybe, you need to rest from the idolatry of accomplishment or productivity.

I want to invite you to consider Christ and find rest.

Be still and know that I am God

Our culture thrives on productivity and busyness. Often without recognizing it, our confidence rests in what we’re able to accomplish. And when we don’t accomplish what we think we should, we can become discouraged, disillusioned, and dejected.

Or we’re supercharged and push harder.

This doesn’t happen in a vacuum. We have podcasts and social media to remind us of how to be the godliest mom, the best wife, the healthiest friend. There are voices all around us telling us how we should live, and they are loud.

I dare say that those voices threaten to stamp out the voice of God. Without recognizing it, we can easily follow their lead rather than His.

No wonder we can get easily discouraged.

And yet it’s right in the middle of this that the Lord offers us an invitation through His word. He calls us to a stillness that has the potential to radically change how we move forward into the next moment, day, month, year.

Consider the words of the psalmist, “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!” (Ps 46:1).

The Psalm was probably written during a break in war, amidst chaos, busyness, and serious responsibility. Asaph’s life, and the soldiers’ lives for whom he was responsible for, were at stake. There were probably many opinions about how to fight the war. And yet in the middle of it all, God instructed him to be still. To rest.

God invited Asaph into a counter-cultural way of approaching the life circumstance he found himself. And he does the same with us.

I can only imagine what would be running through my head if I were in the psalmist’s shoes. It would seem the least opportune time to slow down and simply be still, resting. But that’s the very thing God called him to do.

But rest from what? Maybe anxious thoughts. Maybe from trying to play the role of God, trying to control the situation. Maybe from the cacophony of a thousand voices telling him the right way to do it.

Rest Isn’t Passive

Notice that after the Lord says “be still,” he says, “and know that I am God.” [1]

The Lord invited the psalmist to know him. Our God is knowable. He’s relatable. He’s alive! He delights in the exchange that occurs in healthy relationships—that of listening and speaking. This is how we really get to know another person. He is not far off and distant, uncaring and cold. He’s given us His Word and His Holy Spirit so that we can know His heart and grow in relationship with Him.

In the midst of the chaos, we’re invited to be still long enough to know the Lord. But we all know that relationships take work. So how can it be rest?

Listen to Jesus’ invitation,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light”
(Matt. 11:28-30)

Jesus invites into rest with him, but there are two key aspects to his invitation. We are to go to Him, and then, we need to put on his yoke. A yoke is a harness that goes over the shoulders of two animals so that they can work together to pull a heavy load.

But this hardly sounds like rest, it sounds like he’s inviting us into work! And he is. But notice the details of his invitation:

  1. Jesus invites us to put on the yoke that He has already borne. He’s right there carrying the heavy load, and there’s an open spot beside him. He invites us to slip into the yoke next to him and to let it rest on our shoulders while we walk together through life.
  2. He invites us to learn from him. When we walk through a joyful season or the most excruciating season, we can look to Jesus, because He’s experienced the gamut. We can talk with Him and read about His life in the Word. How did he respond to these situations? We can ask Him to help us.
  3. He is gentle and lowly in heart. Consider the lowliness of Jesus in bearing the heavy burden so that we don’t have to. Consider how gentle he is as we walk alongside Him and struggle. He doesn’t chide us, but is the most patient One we’ll ever encounter.
  4. We will find rest for our soul. Imagine the inner turmoil we will be free of when we walk with Him, listening to His voice! It is a restful place.
  5. His burden is light. His yoke and burden that we put on is easy and light because He carries the weight of the yoke and bears the burden. We need only to put it on and walk with Him.

This is amazing! We go to Him weary and heavy laden, and He invites us into an intimate journey of co-laboring with Him. I want to trade in my self-sufficiency for this, don’t you?

He Is God

When we consider the words of the psalmist and put on the yoke of Jesus, we will know that His is God. Who else can bear the heavy load and carry us in this life? We will know God because we’ll be abiding in Him! And, we’ll experience a rest like never before.

So, I invite you dear friend, to slow down and consider both Psalm 46 and Matthew 11:28-30. Maybe 2020 will be year of rest.

[1] Have you ever done the exercise where you write out a Bible verse and highlight one word, meditating on it before rewriting the Bible verse and highlighting the next word to meditate on, and so on? It might be helpful to take a few minutes and do that with this verse.


Kelly Tarr

Similar Posts