We are looking for rest in all the wrong places, for true rest is found only in Him.
I love to read. The only problem is that it’s difficult to put down a good book. The laundry gets overlooked, leftovers are pulled out for dinner, and I ignore the screen-time limits I put into place so that I can read one more chapter. (Or three.) I joke that I’m not a very good wife or mom when I’m reading a good book because finding time to sit down and read is my top priority.
Maybe reading isn’t your thing, but there’s something that you look forward to doing that is the opposite of accomplishing. Something that helps you relax, something you enjoy. A place or an activity you wish there was more time for.
In the previous post (Unsatisfied (Part 1): Why You Feel Behind – Callie Clayton), I shared my revelation from Matthew 6:24: “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” God revealed that I tend to oscillate between serving the Master of Productivity and the Master of Rest.
The Master of Rest
When the Master of Productivity is too loud for too long, I get worn out–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I deny myself rest to produce, perform and accomplish. So, I’ll hit a reset button, embrace the mentality that says I deserve more “me-time,” and begin to listen to the Master of Rest.
This master values downtime above everything else. This master tells you that you’re working too hard and that it’s okay to ignore your responsibilities. This master convinces you that meeting your needs is more important than meeting the needs of others. This master whispers half-truths, confusing you and deceiving you. He calls himself the Master of Rest when, in reality, He is the Master of Entertainment.
How do we know we’re serving the master of rest?
- Rest is our priority.
- Our responsibilities are viewed as an inconvenience.
- We are frustrated when rest is unattainable.
- Our ability to rest determines our mood.
- We are satisfied only when we have ample time for ourselves.
- We replace true rest with the numbness of entertainment.
- We are jealous of other’s time of leisure.
- We are physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally lazy.
What does God say?
God invented rest. He rested himself to show us just how important it is (Genesis 2:2-3). God requires His children to take a break from their work regularly (Exodus 31:13-17). He encourages us to lay aside our to-do lists and do something that gives our hearts, minds, and bodies a break.
However, leisure becomes an idol when we trade our rest for selfish consumption and ignore our God-given responsibilities. True rest is not reading a novel for hours or binge-watching a show. That’s entertainment. Time set aside for entertainment is not wrong, as long as we remember that it does not rejuvenate us the way that true rest does. When we serve the Master of Rest, we are actually serving the Master of Entertainment, because true rest is only found in the Lord (Matthew 11:29).
The God of Rest
There are multiple names for God throughout Scripture. His names help us understand His character and His heart for His children—for us. Five names of God show us why the rest we long for is only found in Him.
- El Shaddai means The Almighty. It tells us that God satisfies and nourishes us completely. It means He is our sustainer and is capable of meeting our needs.
- Jehova Nissi means The Lord is My Banner. A banner was used in battle, held up on the front lines to give the soldiers hope and a focal point. God is our hope, and He is our focal point.
- Jehova Raah means The Lord is My Shepherd. A shepherd leads his flock and takes care of the needs of his sheep. Raah also means companion or friend, proving that God not only guides us and cares for us but wants to befriend us.
- Jehova Rapha means The Lord Who Heals. Rapha literally means to restore, to heal, or to make healthful. This name reveals that God can heal the physical and emotional needs of His children. God is the one who restores us.
- Jehova Shalom means The Lord is Peace. In Hebrew, peace is translated as the “absence from strife.” Shalom also means complete. We understand that complete peace is found in God which in turn allows us to rest.
When we are devoted to our Heavenly Father, He promises to give us rest because that’s who He is. He is Almighty.
- He will nourish and satisfy you completely (Isaiah 58:11).
- He is your banner. He shows you where to go and gives you hope in the middle of your chaos (Song of Solomon 2:4).
- He is your shepherd. He guides you and takes care of you so you can take a break from trying to accomplish everything on your own (Psalm 23).
- He is your healer. He promises to restore your weariness–physically, spiritually, emotionally, and mentally (Exodus 15:26).
- He is peace. He will keep you in perfect peace as long as you stay connected to Him (Isaiah 26:3).
A Simple Shift
Me-time, downtime, vacations, entertainment, and leisure are not bad in and of themselves. We just need to make a simple shift in how we think about them. Neither one will fully satisfy us and give us the rest we long for. True rejuvenation—mental and emotional restoration–only comes from the Lord. Continue to make time to set your to-do list aside, be present with your family, and do the things that you enjoy, like watching a movie or reading a good book. But do not let the Master of Entertainment deceive you. He is not a good master who gives you rest. He enslaves you with selfishness and numbness.
So, when you feel weary and overwhelmed, open your Bible before you open a novel and turn on worship music before you turn on the TV. Remember Jesus’ invitation in Matthew 11:29, “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.”
Callie Clayton writes to encourage others (and remind herself) that it’s possible to experience God right where you are. She enjoys teaching the Bible to teenagers, having good conversation over meals she didn’t cook, and baking all the chocolate desserts. Embracing her role as a boy-mom to three little ones, she and her husband are worn out, but loving the adventure of parenthood.