Word For Your Weekend - Rest - Part 4
I have three children under the age of 5, which means that most days and even nights are not what you would consider “restful”. Someone always needs something, and actual sleep is sometimes hard to come by. Ironically, my most restful time of day currently happens around 6:00AM. Not every morning, but most, I will sneak up to our loft after my 4 month old goes back to sleep after his 5:30 feeding. I take a cup of coffee and spend the next little bit alone in the quiet. I could choose to sleep for a while longer, but this early morning time gives me more real rest than another hour of sleep ever could.
Over the past three weeks we have talked about what true rest means, and today I want to address what true rest might look like. Most of the time it won’t look like actual sleep.
We are all in different seasons and every family’s dynamics are unique. Sometimes achieving a full night of sleep can be a challenge, to say the least. But in Matthew 11 Jesus talks about rest for your souls - and that is something we can all take advantage of, in one way or another.
God has prepared genuine, spirit-deep rest for those who believe in Jesus (Hebrews 4:1-11). Let’s look at some ways we can enter into that rest…
I can enter God’s rest when I start my day. You may not have time to read your Bible over coffee every morning, and that’s ok. Your mornings may feel hectic from the moment your eyes pop open. But you probably shower, or make coffee, or pour a bowl of cereal. Is there a habitual part of your morning that you could intentionally include Jesus in? Whether it begins with a sticky note with a Scripture to meditate on taped to the coffee pot, or a worship song ready and waiting when you turn on the car to drive to work, every day that starts with entering God’s rest is bound to be better.
I can enter God’s rest by praying wherever I am, at any time, about anything. Don’t forget to bring your weariness and burdens to the Lord, at any time of your day. The beauty of prayer is that we never lose access to God, thanks to the Holy Spirit. We can pray in the car line at school and find rest in the middle of our busy day.
I can enter God’s rest when I listen to things that point me to Him. I could talk all day about how worship music changes the atmosphere in our homes, vehicles, and work places. The same goes for podcasts and audiobooks that are full of all of the things that Philippians 4:8 talks about. So many times in my life my mind has been wrapped up in anxiety, fear, stress or pain, but a worship song or a word that I needed to hear has ushered me into the rest of God. Take an inventory of what you listen to throughout a typical day, and you might be surprised how un-restful some things really are. Make it a priority to fill your ears with life-giving words.
I can enter God’s rest when I take an intentional time to get away. As special-needs parents, the days are long, full, and intense. Physical rest is a precious commodity, and spiritual rest seems even harder to come by at times. Sometimes a day or two away can bring so much rest to our souls - just a moment to breath and be refreshed. Rising Above offers events each year with this very thing in mind. If you are a special-needs parent looking for a weekend away, we would love for you to join us for By The Brook (for moms) or Soar (for dads). If those events are not a possibility for you, consider finding a time to step away and be refreshed.
I can enter God’s rest by treasuring Christ and the Gospel in the middle of unrest. I recently read this quote and it changed my perspective on so many things...
“The Gospel is the one great permanent circumstance in which I live and move.” - Milton Vincent
Everything else in our lives - our relationships, our trials, our anxieties, our child’s diagnosis, our homes, and even operating on little physical rest for weeks, months or years - is temporary. But the Gospel is true, and in the middle of the unrest, Jesus stays ever the same. If we believe the stories are true - that Jesus really did die for sinners, of which I am surely one - then our souls and spirits can rest in knowing that “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him.” (Psalm 62:1)
- How does a lack of rest affect your emotions or the way you react to situations as you raise your child with special needs
- What actions can you take to implement more soulful rest into your life?
- This week can you decide to enter God’s rest in the way you start your day, in purposeful prayer, by listening to things that point to Him, by taking some intentional time away, or by treasuring Christ in the middle of unrest? Try to choose one of these areas and pray that the Holy Spirit would help you implement it.
Thank you, Father, that you are our source of rest and that You never sleep, but are always with us. Thank you that you are true, faithful and kind. Please give us creative ideas in the days to come for how to pursue soulful rest and may we find rest in You alone. Amen.
(c) 2018 by Hannah Kistler