We need rest. Our bodies need physical sleep to survive and thrive. Most of us have experienced a time we stayed awake “too long.” Maybe you were studying for a test in college, finishing a stressful project at work, laboring through the night or staying up with sick kids. We remember hitting the point of exhaustion where we thought to ourselves “I need to sleep or I’m going to break down.” (Or if you’re anything like me there have been times when you’ve broken down before you even realized how tired you were.)
Physical rest is very important. And honestly, most of us don’t get enough sleep. I urge you to make time for this. Let your body reset and recharge.
In our overly efficient minds sleep can sometimes seem like a waste of time. We think “Seriously! How can I sleep for 8 hours when I’ve got laundry to fold, bathrooms to clean, work I need to finish at home and can’t I get a minute by myself to relax?” We prioritize productivity over everything else. Even our own health.
But we’re a tired people. We get the flu because we’re working too hard and not resting. Our bodies ache. We run on caffeine from sun up to sun down, yet are still exhausted. Our heads hit the pillow at night, only for our minds to race about everything we have to do the next day.
And what’s even more important is that so many of our souls are weary. We’re tired from running the race. We never know when to stop until we hit a wall and something monumental or catastrophic happens. We feel we’re running on fumes but don’t know where to recharge. Our brains are so tired that we can’t even focus on our families or friends. Our “rest” is zoning out while a TV show is on or roaming on the internet.
Our souls are so weary. Sometimes we try to fix this by working harder – whether it’s at work, in our marriages, with our children or friends. We think if our relationships are better, then we’ll feel better. Sometimes we think our job or the place we live is the issue so we seek to change that. Sometimes we feel like we’ve lost our identity and need to find a new hobby to find ourselves again.
Do you identify with soul weariness?
It doesn’t have to be as all encompassing as the examples I mentioned before. It could be a mom who, after dealing with the 8th tantrum before lunch, thinks to herself “Is this really all there is?” It could be the couple who sits in the front of the TV over dinner every night and doesn’t have much to say to one another.
Our time with Jesus often feels rushed and scattered. Maybe we only read the bible when we’re planning a club talk or know it’s going to be a hard day. Even though Jesus promises us He gives us rest and that His yolk is easy and burden is light, we’re often so overburdened by our busyness that being a Christian seems like another thing where we need to do more, where we feel like we’re failing because we can’t do enough.
If this is you I urge you to take a step back. If we could do enough to please God, Jesus would not have needed to come! But because we are sinful, even our best intentions aren’t enough. Jesus came to be tortured and die for you and me because we can’t be good enough. But thanks be to Jesus – in Him there is freedom when you’re feeling exhausted or like your work is in vain. And not only is there freedom, but there is sweet mercy.
There’s mercy for you exhausted person. There’s mercy for you weary mom. There’s mercy for you single woman who feels like no matter what she does it’s never enough. In Christ there’s mercy for all of us because of what He accomplished on the cross. He knows we’re tired. But out of His grace He gives us the gift of rest.
And oh, what a sweet gift it is.