How to Rest When You’re Restless

When someone says rest…

When someone refers to ‘rest’ in a spiritual sense, I always nod my head profoundly, but honestly I become bored to tears. The thought of sitting and not doing anything is exhausting.

There’s no doubt that as Christians we are commanded to rest (Exodus 20:8). And that God will help us in the endeavor (Psalm 23:1-2). When I think of rest, I think of sitting at home and not doing anything for long boring periods of time and that sounds more like tribulation than tranquility.

My spirit resists the idea of rest at every level. Too often I idolize productivity and wear a badge of busyness proudly.

But Jesus doesn’t say, “Only rest when you’re really tired and can’t move anymore.” And with that realization I have to ask myself, what does a habit of rest look like when you’re restless? 

One night I confessed to a friend:

“I don’t want to deny the restlessness God has put in my spirit. But I don’t want to be disobedient in not having a habit of rest. I’m trying to figure out what those things look like together.”

God heard me, and blessed me with an answer.

I found myself going to the coast alone, for a reason that I can only describe as being compelled to.

After doing a few human things (working/eating etc.) God told me to drive without a destination. He knows this is one of my favorite things to do, so I excitedly got in my car and started driving, only turning on whims.

I had no idea where God was taking me, until I turned down a little side street and bright teal water sparkled at me. He led me beside the (somewhat) still waters and let the sun warm my skin and the breeze play with my hair and the pelican make me laugh.

In that moment I felt incredibly loved and peaceful and I heard God say, “This is how you rest when you’re restless. Seek me in the adventure and new. I will meet you there.”

Rest isn’t a standard

This adventure taught me that rest isn’t a standard that looks the same for everyone. God romanced me into my rest. I realized that for me, rest looks like leaning into my restlessness and directing it toward the God who makes adventure.

He made my spirit to come alive in the adventure and he asks me to find Him in it to sit in awe.

That’s how you rest when you’re restless.

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