The Best Gift
Besides the people in your life, what is the best gift you have ever received? Two stand out in my memory.
When I was 16, my parents gave me a beautiful western saddle with a suede seat and silver embellishments to replace my old, plain one. I still treasure that gift even though I don’t ride anymore.
My husband gave me the other gift that I treasure (he is a great gift-giver). He created a picture collage out of an old window, featuring each of our previous homes and our family in each pane. I cried when I opened that Christmas gift.
Jesus’s Gift of Rest
Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.Matthew 11:28 NLT
Jesus may have been speaking directly about the religious burdens that the Jewish leaders laid on people, but His offer of rest extends to any weary and burdened person.
We are busy. And, most of the time, we are busy doing good things. We lead, teach, plan, and manage. We not only “do” for others, but as women, we support other people as a daughter, wife, mother, employee, sister, friend, or neighbor. In those roles we care for, listen, and advise. With all that we have to do and be, most of us live in a heightened state of stress.
In the midst of those good things, we need rest. But, we have to learn to receive it, learn how to slow down and ask Jesus to teach us about it.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. –JesusMatthew 11:29-30 The Message
Learning to Rest
I learned to come to Jesus for rest the hard way. You’ve probably heard my story if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile. My workaholism and people-pleasing habits resulted in chronic fatigue and required lifestyle changes. I wrote about those challenges and changes here and here.
Yoga practice has taught me to slow down and breath deeply. Slow, deep breaths send messages to our bodies. “You can relax right now. Let go of that tension and stress you’re carrying around.” I’m still a work in progress.
Rest gifts my body and my spirit. I’m a big fan of Andrew Murray, a Christian writer and preacher from the 1800’s. This week I read,
You are to hold yourself still, to listen to the voice of the Spirit. As the Lord Jesus acts, so does also the Spirit: “He will not cry out, nor raise His voice” (Isaiah 42:2). He whispers gently and quietly, and only the soul that sets itself very silently toward God can perceive His voice and guidance.The New Life, 1885
I don’t won’t to miss anything that Jesus wants to say to me, but I might if I’m too busy to listen. I have written a short, devotional book about learning to listen to Jesus titled Led. It contains 30 days of lessons from the Good Shepherd from John 10:1-5. Find it here. I’d also love to hear about your attempts to find rest so that we can learn from each another.