“Are you tired?” Jesus asks. “Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. 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” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG).
The Lord understands you are exhausted—tired—burned out trying to live your faith just right. Your mind is drained and stretched. Your heart is heavy with fear that you haven’t done the right thing. You yearn to be free from the bondage of never feeling good enough. You are on a treadmill of physical, emotional, and spiritual destruction that seemingly has no end. And Jesus says, “Get away with me and recover. I’ll show you how to take a real rest.”
Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, in her book, Sacred Rest, writes, “Slaves are bound to their work. Anyone who cannot rest is essentially a slave. Jesus came to set the captives free so that we have may abundant life. Sacred rest is about that freedom.”
Jesus came to set you free from your treadmill. “Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it,” He encourages. “Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.” Sweet rest in Jesus—deep and healing and thorough—is found in His “unforced rhythms of grace.” The love of God which died for you sustains and fills you when you surrender to His healing grace.
“Since God is really the only one able to love us on the level our hearts desire,” Dr. Dalton-Smith shares in Sacred Rest, “we are constantly seeking the wholeness, peace, joy, and happiness that can be found only in this place of surrender. Rest is knowing that you are enough, even if you don’t meet your goal this month. It’s knowing that you are valuable as you are with no additions needed. Rest is knowing that you are preapproved for all of God’s blessings.”
To what are you bound? Jesus says that He will not lay anything heavy upon you. So what is this weight you carry? Guilt? Shame? Jesus does not condemn you. He is your greatest encourager. He does not accuse you. The accuser does that. And when you do not surrender to rest in Jesus—when you do not “learn the unforced rhythms of grace”—you can become your greatest accuser. You forget that you are free in Jesus. You forget that His gift was enough.
“This is what living well-rested looks like,” Dr. Dalton-Smith writes. “It’s a life lived with open hands before God, not holding on to the pain of yesterday, the blessings of today, or the promises of tomorrow, but rather trusting in God’s love for you. Living well-rested is a life surrendered to the gift of freedom.”
“Keep company with me,” Jesus says. “I have approved you. Everything I have for you fits well. Rest in me, and you will learn to live freely and lightly. I am the unforced rhythm of grace.”
Quotes: Dalton-Smith, Saundra, Sacred Rest: Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, New York, NY: FaithWords/Hachette Book Group, 2017.
Devotion © 2019 Lynn Lacher