My heart is…exhausted. I’ve been asking God to teach me about rest. Day after day (and all throughout the day) I’m praying “Come to Jesus” prayers. He calls, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest,” (Matthew 11:28).

So I come, and my prayer is often these four words: “Jesus, I need You.”

He goes on in the above passage to say, “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,” (v.29).

So I pray, “Teach me.”

I’ve learned enough to know that the enemy will counter what the Lord says, but he’s not always blatant about it. He weasels his way in. So as I’m learning, I’m listening for the Lord’s gentle voice. If the voice you hear doesn’t lead you with kindness, but instead tears you down in defeat, that’s not the Lord.

The enemy devours.
The Lord directs with gentleness.

I’m NOT saying the Lord won’t correct us or reveal to us what is out of line with His character. In fact, one of my habitual prayers is asking Him to point out anything in me that offends Him, (Psalm 139:24). But I am certain He will correct in a way that builds relationship with Him.

Here’s what I’ve learned about rest so far:

Eternal Perspective

Rest only happens in relationship with Him.

He calls us to abide in Him, because apart from Him we can do nothing. He tells us to come and reason with Him, giving us prayer as one of the primary ways we communicate with Him. It’s about conversation with the Mighty King of all creation and tender Shepherd who gently leads us, who carries us on His shoulders when we lose our way. He came as Emmanuel, God with us.

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, simply by believing in Him, He gives us the right to become His children. He doesn’t just desire to be with us eventually in eternity, He is here with us now by the indwelling of His Spirit. We were made for relationship with God, and it’s only in relationship with Him that we find true rest for our souls.

It’s important to note that not only do we need relationship with Him, we need relationship with others. The enemy will scatter and isolate us. I’ve fallen prey to this. I forget I’m not the only one, that these same experiences of suffering are experienced by my brothers and sisters throughout the world. We were made to carry each others burdens as well.

Rest gives us eternal perspective.

I can and often do get caught up in the moment. I exhaust myself by spinning my wheels and trying to solve the right now problem I face. It’s the tyranny of the urgent. And while I’m living in the right now, I have to remember there is an eternal. This moment that presses me so hard is temporary.

Do you recognize this scheme of the enemy, too? He seeks to overwhelm you by laying on the burdens until your knees are buckling under the weight of it. When I zoom in on the problem that’s all I see. But when I magnify the Lord, my perspective changes. I can see beyond the now toward His eternal reign.

Rest is surrendering our plans to the Lord.

When I’m white-knuckling my agenda and hell bent on making it happen, I can’t reach for the Father. My clenched fists, holding tight to “my plan” position me in fighting mode. I strike out at the wrong enemy. Tension rises.

The truth is that He has good plans for me, (Jeremiah 29:11). He has a dream in His heart for me, and I believe — even if in my hardheadedness I sometimes forget — that He is able to do far beyond all I can think or even imagine. This impossible situation I am facing that I can’t see the way through? He can. When I think the dream is as good as dead, He paves a highway through the sea. I hear His whisper, “Surrender it to Me, and I will carry you through.”

Surrender leads to trust.

My own understanding is so limited. He calls me trust Him with ALL my ways. My heart makes its plans but the Lord directs my steps. When I trust Him — because He is faithful in all His ways — I can breathe again. The burden isn’t so heavy when I’m no longer trying to carry it alone.

Did you know He shows favor to us at the sound of our out cry? (Isaiah 30:19 CSB)

How do I gain favor with the Lord? Cry out to Him. That’s it. That’s all that He requires of me. So I pray…

“Jesus, I need You.”

Remember the gentleness I mentioned before? Train your ears to listen for His gentle voice. As He guides and corrects, He also comforts. Psalm 23:4 reminds us that His rod and staff are a great comfort, even in the darkest valley.

The enemy prowls, ready to pounce and devour, (1 Peter 5:8).
The Lord is poised, ready to rise up and show compassion, (Isaiah 30:18).

I’m a slow learner, but I am learning.

And for this moment I choose to rest in my Mighty Warrior God: a warrior who delights in me; who sings over me, (Zephaniah 3:17).

Who is this God? He is all at once strong, relentless against the enemy, while gentle and relentless in His pursuit of me.

Deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. When I rest in Him, I’m strongest of all.


Thank you, Jesus, that You never stop pursuing me; that You are so gracious at the sound of my cry. When I call, You answer me. You say, “In returning and rest I will be saved; in quietness and in trust will be my strength,” (Isaiah 30:15). I’m willing, Lord. Help me rest in You.


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