In our fast-paced world, we long for rest. But if you’re like me, when you get the opportunity to rest, it doesn’t feel like rest—it feels like laziness.
That’s because we lived in a performance-based world. We’ve been trained to rate ourselves on productivity.
It has taken me years, but I am happy to report that I have at long last learned how to confidently rest in the Lord, even when I am confronting problems and navigating trials.
Truth be told, there are scriptures that still send me into a tailspin. It feels the same way I did when my daughter was little and I was running a brick-and-mortar business. When I was at work I felt like I should be home with her. When I was home with her I felt like there were so many things that needed my attention at work.
I love when 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
But I also appreciate 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”
And another favorite is the parable of the talents in Matthew 25:14-30, which basically says that you are to make good use of your talents and if you don’t, you are wicked and lazy.
How can we reconcile these scriptures? And more importantly, how do we get past our fear of laziness so that we can enter the place of rest?
I have found in my journey that there are five hindrances to rest:
Lack of faith.
Rest is directly connected to your level of faith. If you don’t know who God is and what He desires for you, how can you have faith in Him? And if you don’t have faith, how can you rest?
Faith is knowing that He will take care of you despite what you see, despite what you feel, and despite what others are saying you should do.
Sin separates us from God. God is not double-minded. He will not give you peace while you’re in sin. That would be condoning the behavior. One of the biggest sins is pride. Pride says, “I can and should do this myself.” Pride also takes credit for oneself.
Rest is more than giving your body a break. True rest is internal. But when you feel as if you have to control your environment, you lose the ability to feel at rest internally. Worry is a useless attempt at control and until you let go of it, you will never find peace for your soul.
If you are the type who is used to taking matters into your own hands, it may have begun out of necessity but has crossed over into habit. If you want to feel the sweet relief of rest, you must break the habit of ‘self-reliance.’
Inability to receive.
Do you struggle with a performance-based mentality? Then you have likely been taught that you must ‘earn’ everything. That’s not how God operates. Your salvation was free and so is His rest.
Rest doesn’t mean doing nothing. Rest describes an inner peace that is beyond understanding. It’s calm in your circumstances, tranquility in the turmoil, and serenity in the storm.
Yes, we are called to work hard and use our talents for God’s glory. But there comes a point where you’ve done all you can do and then you need to leave the ‘rest’ up to God.
When you do this, you can then rest in the palm of His hands and enjoy the sweet times of physical and emotional rest that can only come from Him.
So, if your burden is too heavy, you are likely carrying something you were never meant to carry. Will you choose today to let go of the hindrances and rest in Him?