What if We Could Rest?

“There’s a book that would really help you,” she said.

I leaned forward, eager for my next assignment from my trusted counselor/mentor.

Surrender Your Junior God Badge: Every Woman’s Battle with Control.”

Ah, yes. My Junior God badge.

What a unique way of describing the crux of my problem. (And thanks for the gut-punch.)

Being the diligent soul-tender that I am, I ordered the book and began wincing my way through it.

The author, Jackie Kendall assisted me in my understanding of rest. She refers to 1 Peter 3:4, where the Bible describes “the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” She goes on to explain that “quiet” is not describing volume or a certain personality type, excluding vocal, energetic women from God’s pleasure.

The same Greek word is used in 1 Timothy 2:2, where Paul instructs believers to pray for political leaders, “so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.” It is a calmness. A place of rest, unruffled by the wind and waves.

You might be a quiet person with a storm raging on the inside. You long for a quiet inner life of rest and godliness.

Today, I’d like to share three categories where I have been learning to find rest.

1. We can rest in Christ’s work.

I am writing these words the Thursday before Easter. This will probably be published on Good Friday. The day we remember the death of Jesus. The day that paid for our rest.

In this season of remembrance, here’s a question, dear Saint.

What if all our strivings, our panicked attempts to avoid God’s disappointment are simply unnecessary? What if God’s gift of grace was meant to be accepted?

How often we shun and shame ourselves, thinking we are speaking truth.

But what if we could rest?

To accept that Jesus covered our sin means to rest in that fact. To trust it to be true. His work atoning for me means that I don’t have to atone for my sin. I don’t have to do penance. I don’t have to bear the guilt and the shame of falling short, once again.

No.

His work has purchased our rest.

And it was expensive.

In our pride, we barter back and forth with God, unwilling to be in His debt, thinking we are being noble by insisting we pay our share of the bill. As if we could.

No, my friends. Jesus paid it all.

In this, we can rest.

2. We can rest because our identity is secure.

This one is for those of us who feel “a little too much” and “not quite enough.”

Maybe it’s our appearance that defines us. Or our temptations. Our competence. Our possessions. The approval of other people. Or the lack.

It’s the thing you measure yourself beside to determine if you are okay.

When my identity is based on these things, there is no room for rest. Every moment, I am posturing, scrambling to prove myself, to convince myself and others that I have value.

Success doesn’t help. It’s like trying to fill a black hole with a shovel. We know deep down, it isn’t working.

And then to avoid our shame, we wear a mask, pretending we have it all together. Some of us have been wearing masks long before 2020.

But what if we could rest?

What if God thought you and I were worth trading His Son?

You and I are image-bearers of God. We resemble Him. Sin distorted that image, but did not erase it. God’s purpose is to restore what was broken. But you don’t restore something worthless. Jesus traded His own life to redeem us. To bring us into His family.

When we rest our identity in our value to God, it feels like solid ground beneath our feet. We are accepted. We are valuable. And those other means of proving our worth show themselves as the sinking sands they are. When they call us to measure up, we can remember our secure identity as God’s adopted children.

In this, we can rest.

3. We can rest because we are loved.

This category ties to the others, but I think it is so important I’ve given it its own number.

It’s one thing to know our sins are covered. To know we are valuable to God. But sometimes, especially if you have heard this message your whole life, it begins to sound very transactional.

Jesus paid = I get in. Yes, yes.

But do we walk around feeling how profoundly we are loved?

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. 

John 15:9

We are loved beyond anything we can imagine. We are loved when we sit, when we rise, when we stumble, and when we fall.

When Jesus told us to abide in His love, I really believe He meant it.

Some of us are so starved for love because we do not understand God’s love for us. We want our need to be met by our friends or our spouses or our children. No human being is capable of providing the level of acceptance and love that our hearts ache for.

But what if we could rest?

What if we could truly rest in the love of God? Meditate on it? Let it become the air that we breathe?

Some of our most holy work in this world involves stretching our faith to believe what God says, especially when we feel unworthy of it.

God knows how hard and humbling this is for us. But His love is the warm sun and nourishing rain to our souls. It softens our hearts, weeds out our pride, and prepares us to bear fruit in righteousness.

You and I are profoundly loved, my friends.

In this, we can rest.


I wish I could tell you I live effortlessly in this place of rest. On a graph, it would look more zig-zagged than I would like.

But even here, we can rest knowing there is grace to cover this sacred zig-zagged journey.

Thank you for joining me.

5 thoughts on “What if We Could Rest?

  1. I don’t have words to express how beautiful this is. I’ll read it again and again.
    Thank you so much for being so open. ❤️

    Like

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