We live in a culture that loves to glorify being busy. It’s not the slow mornings of making breakfast as the sun rises, evenings relaxing at home with a book and hot chocolate, or weekends with absolutely no plans that are celebrated.
It is the jampacked schedule, the side hustle, the never-ending social calendar, the work we take home that creeps into our nights and weekends, and the email inbox with 10,000 unread emails, that lie to us saying, “Look how busy you are. You must be important!”
But as life gets busier and busier, I never feel satisfied. My achievements, work, and striving can all be good, but none of those things will ever fulfill me. In fact, if I am not careful, they normally leave me feeling completely exhausted. And I know I am not alone. A study1 done in 2018 showed that three-fourths of people over the last year have been so stressed out at some point that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope.
So, how do we, as Christians, deal with the never-ending stress and pressure to be busy, achieve, and do more? It can show up at work, with our families, in our hobbies, and it can even be in our ministries.
Thankfully God has an answer for us.
Matthew 11:28-30 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.” (NIV)
Let’s unpack that a little more.
We Are Not Our Busyness
Busyness can be alluring. It shows us we are needed. We are important. We are making a difference. The things that make us busy—the friends, the work, the hobbies, the family, the projects—can make us feel like we matter. And because we find our identity in those things, it’s easy to set aside our need for rest to relentlessly pursue more. Pair that with our deep desire to be approved and liked and we fall into the trap of always needing to do more to keep others happy.
But God offers us rest from this mindset. When we come to Him, He can reassure us of the most important thing: He can gently remind us that He loves us.
That means that our filled schedules, our being the best parent, making the best sourdough, getting the grades, putting in more hours at work, and giving the most engaging presentation does not make us valuable.
Only God’s love for us can do that. We do not have to constantly live up to the unrealistic expectations of social media, our boss, ourselves, or even the people in our lives. God loves us without us having to do anything. Because of that, we can take a deep breath and take the time to rest.
When Jesus came to earth, He offered a wonderful example of how to find rest in God. Jesus often went away to solitary places to spend time with God. He was found napping on a boat when His disciples were panicking about a storm. He also didn’t come to earth and immediately begin His ministry. He had time to grow, and when He was about 30 years old, His ministry started (Luke 3:23).
Biblical scholars believe Jesus died and rose from the dead 3 years after His ministry began and then ascended into heaven 40 days after His resurrection (Acts 1:3). That is less than 4 years out of 34 of doing His ministry which is around 10% of Jesus time on earth!
If that is Jesus’s example to us, why do we spend our lifetimes not balancing work and rest? Why do we focus on chasing so many things in this world? Just like Jesus, we need to prioritize our rest with God.
Psalm 1:1-3 says,
“Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.” (NIV)
Think about the phrase “which yields its fruit in season”. Are you trying to constantly yield fruit? Or are you like the tree that takes time to grow and rejuvenate in God’s Word? We are not meant to be constantly yielding fruit. We are meant to plant ourselves in God and His love.
Just like Jesus, we will grow, we will rest, and when the time is right, God will help us bear fruit.
Stop skipping rest in order to do more. It’s ok to not have a full schedule. You need time to rest, and the more you rest with God, you’ll be refreshed in His love for you. You cannot do anything to make Him love you more. Find your rest in Him.
1. Foundation, M. H. (2018). Stress: Are We Coping? London: Mental Health Foundation.
Hannah Schermerhorn lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with her cat, Fritz. She is an electrical engineer who has worked in legal, business, and global marketing. Hannah enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her nieces and nephews. Most recently, she authored A Single Life To Live.