Soul Rest

When I was pregnant I got a lot of advice. Some of it, while well intentioned, was not so good, but some of it was gold. One of these glittering little tips had to do with nap time. Mother after mother told me the same thing: let your house be noisy during nap time. Let your baby learn how to sleep while the vacuum is running, while people are talking, while music is playing. Train them to rest with noise.

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 Me when I was pregnant with my son Judah.

Photo Credit: Melissa Yocum Photography

I’ve gotta say, this was great advice. We entertain a lot, and the people that we fill our life with are not quiet. Our house is full of music and laughter and loud talking and it all combines to form a lullaby for my kids. They can fall asleep to the voices of their parents and grandparents and aunts and uncles talking downstairs. They drift off with the music of laughter and stories from our friends or their mom and dad debriefing the day. It’s really a wonder this ability that they have, the skill of resting in a restless environment. It’s one of those small victories that you strive for as a parent, that you push and prepare your kids for, but I think that we fall just short of applying to our lives.

I’m not talking about the ability to sleep with the TV on or the talent akin to narcolepsy of being able to fall asleep anywhere. No, I’m talking about a different kind of rest. I’m talking about soul rest.

In a world as harried as ours, filled with violence and anxiety and insecurity, our souls cry out for rest. These souls of ours wander through the desert of life desperate for refreshment and renewal. We exhaust them with worry and doubt, with comparison and endless striving and, by the end of each day, they look just like a little child falling asleep at the dinner table.

You have to know what I mean. That feeling of exhaustion not in your body but in a deeper place, the place that cries out for rest in the midst of the restless. While the world rolls on loudly like a vacuum cleaner, we have to figure out how to find rest in the middle of the storm.

Well here you go.

“Come to me all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30 ESV

The need for rest and a restful environment are not mutually exclusive. They can’t be. If we only rested when everything in our lives was calm and quiet, we would never be able to. In fact, it’s in the times of our lives when things are the loudest and craziest that we need rest the most. That’s why that verse is so perfect, like an oasis in the middle of the desert.

When your soul is tired and weary from the worry and the fear, when it has a headache from the barrage of voices telling you that you aren’t enough or that you are failing, that’s when you need to look to the One who gives rest to your soul.

That sweet spot of resting in the restless place is found in Him.

When we come to Him, in the midst of the storm of living, our souls find that quiet corner full of pillows and love and whatever aroma therapy scent helps you sleep.

“And He said, ‘My presence will go with you and I will give you rest.’” Exodus 33:14 ESV

If you are feeling a little harried, overwhelmed, and just plain tired, carve out some time to spend with Jesus today. It will feel like you took a nice, long, afternoon nap, one that leaves you refreshed and whole again. He is the one who gives rest to the weary and who’s burden is easy and light. Curl up in your quiet place with Him while the world rages on and, like a baby, your soul will be able to sleep anywhere.

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