By Matt Dawson
What does rest look like?
Does it resemble a person at peace with the world, free from the stress of life? Does is look like a person enjoying the people and life happening around them?
Or does it resemble an exhausted person, depleted both physically and emotionally, who stops to catch his breath? Does it look like a cocktail mixed with worry about things not yet completed and anxiety over what remains to be done?
I don’t know about you, but I resemble the latter more than I care to confess. Most folks in my church and community also admit that they, too, are running on fumes. Life and family can seem more like a blur that we pass on Interstate 77 rather than people and experiences for us to enjoy.
Why do we struggle to find rest? Matthew 11:28-30 gives us an answer. There is a difference between stopping and resting.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest …”
Frequently, we are forced to stop in our lives either by exhaustion, depletion or sickness. Stopping is the reaction of one who carries the weight of the world on their shoulders. Our strength is insufficient. We cannot keep every plate spinning. We fail to accomplish all that we desire. Simply put, stopping is not resting.
Rest is found by those who understand that only God can handle the weight of the world. He invites us to enjoy the world, not stress over it. Rest is found for those whose strength comes from Christ’s spirit within them. Rest is found when we understand that, in Christ, we have all the time and resources necessary to accomplish all that He has called us to do.
Jesus invited those who were exhausted and carrying the weight of the world to come find rest in Him. Resting is a choice.
I hope with this upcoming holiday season, you will enjoy the people and life happening around you. I pray that we all experience what rest actually looks like.
The Rev. Matt Dawson is lead pastor of Journey Church, 15711 Brookway Drive, Huntersville.