I eyed the bright numbers on the clock telling me I’d be lucky to get four hours of sleep that night. Hitting “send” on my paper, I stumbled into bed, murmuring, “Once I graduate, then I’ll be able to rest.”
But over the years that followed, that midnight promise morphed to match new seasons:
“Once I meet this work deadline, then I’ll be able to rest.”
“Once our baby sleeps through the night, then I’ll be able to rest.”
“Once the children are in school, then I’ll be able to rest.”
Those refrains pushed me out of bed every morning and kept me working late into the night, until one day I found myself at our kitchen table, head in my hands and sobbing the words “I can’t do this anymore.”
I was exhausted.
And from talking with older women, I knew they were repeating the same worn refrain, merely aged to match their own challenges:
“Once we pay off the mortgage …”
“Once the kids leave for college …”
“Once we retire from our jobs …”
Women of all ages and stages are chasing rest, but that coveted rest eludes us all.
In a moment of clarity, I realized that rest won’t arrive on the other side of “someday” because, no matter how much we get done, there’s always more left to do.
Wiping my tears, I cried out: “God, I need You. I can’t do this anymore.” And in His kindness, God reminded me that we’re not the first generation to struggle with such things, nor are we alone.
In fact, 2,000 years ago, Jesus looked at a crowd of women and men just as exhausted as you and me, and He said:
“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” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV).
Jesus doesn’t tell us to wake up early and go to bed late in order to hustle our way into His Kingdom. Quite the opposite. He invites us to lay down our heavy burdens and find rest in Him.
What does that look like in real life? I developed an easy-to-remember R.E.S.T. acronym to guide me toward Jesus when I feel overwhelmed, and you can use it too:
- R: Recite God’s goodness. The next time we find ourselves hustling, let’s pause to praise God for who He is and what He’s already doing (see Psalm 103:1-2). What can we thank Him for? Let’s start there.
- E: Express your neediness. Then we get honest with God about our struggles and sins, casting our burdens on Him because He cares for us. (1 Peter 5:7)
- S: Seek His stillness. Next, we take time to “be still, and know” that He is God (Psalm 46:10a, ESV). We quiet our hearts to listen to His still, small voice. Is there anything He wants to say to us? Are there any burdens or to-dos He’s asking us to lay down?
- T: Trust His faithfulness. Finally, we declare our confidence that our good God, who began a good work in us, will be faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)
We don’t have to wait for that elusive “someday” to experience God’s rest. The gentle and humble Jesus opens wide His arms, and He says, “Come.” Today, just as you are, come.
Let’s come to Jesus, lay down our heavy burdens and receive the gift only He can give us: rest for our souls in His loving presence.
Dear Jesus, how kind You are to welcome me just as I am! I’m so tired of carrying these heavy burdens by myself, so I give them to You right now. (Name them one by one.) Please show me if there’s anything I should do differently. I trust You to refresh me with Your peace and strengthen me with Your power today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.