Lessons in Rest — Broken & Hopeful

Hannah Morrell

As we close out 2019, I am reflecting on the word God gave me this year. I don’t do a word for the year often, but this one was incredibly prominent throughout the year for me. He gave me the word “rest” and I wanted to tell you what He’s taught me about rest this year.

When God first told me that “rest” was the theme for the year, I laughed because of all I had to accomplish this year. It was not the year I would have picked for rest. But what He was showing me was that rest wasn’t about what I had to do, but the Source from which I operated.  When I realize that everything I need for the Christian life comes from the Life of Christ within, I don’t have to overexert, overcommit, or overwork to try to make it all happen.

First, He told me I had to walk into my weakness, not run away from it. I wanted to hide and pretend that I was strong, but He called me to walk in the weakness and embrace it. In allowing myself to admit weakness, I could also move toward acknowledging Him to be my strength. This changed my source instantly, and took off all the pressure to try to be everything was expected. 

As I walked into our women’s retreat this year, I started getting really nervous about people being incredibly disappointed with me, the organization of the retreat, or the teaching I was going to do. God reminded me that my job was just to bring Him, renew focus on Him and allow Him to be strong. I wasn’t supposed to pretend I was a perfect Christian or ministry leader. That was actually the opposite of what I needed to do! In pointing to Him as the strength, patience, wisdom and each other need I had, ladies were also pointed to Him to be their source rather than another person or themselves. 

Another point He made about rest this year was that it could happen all the time, not just the moments when I was relaxing on the couch. I think we often confuse the idea of resting in Christ with not doing anything. This is not passivity. Instead, I look at my list for the day and instead of allowing it to drive me into hopeless despair or crazy stress, I look back to Jesus for whatever way He leads. There will be interruptions, unplanned events and mistakes. But I don’t have to go into stress over it. Instead, I can move with the flow He brings as He is the patience for it. The crazy thing to me was that most days that I moved in that rhythm, I got a lot done! But it wasn’t with the attitude that I had to run over everyone around me or beat up on myself to get it all finished. It was just what God allowed for the day, and He was enough for each task.

Along with this is the recognition that it’s at my busiest that I need the reminder to rest the most. I want to believe that if I just stay up all night, organize myself better or enlist my children to slave labor then it will all work out fine. But instead, I lay all that down in the lap of my Father and wait for His provision for whatever He has for me today. Sometimes it means allowing Him to change my plans for the day, but He does know what really needs to be done.

The result of rest means that I can go about any day, busy or relaxing, with Jesus as my source and focus. When I am tempted to go into crazy mode, He calls me back to resting. When I want to get discouraged and believe I’ll never be able to do something, He calls me back to resting. And He is doing things that I never would have imagined possible! I get to stand in awe of them, recognizing the whole time that it is His work and I get to come along for the ride! The pressure is off! 

I hope that as you start the new year, you will be called back to the rest found in allowing Jesus to be your source. And that whatever you have to tackle this year will never be done alone or with your limited resources. He is enough, and so you can trust Him to be enough and rest.

 Are you weary, carrying a heavy burden? Then come to me. I will refresh your life, for I am your oasis. Simply join your life with mine. Learn my ways and you’ll discover that I’m gentle, humble, easy to please. You will find refreshment and rest in me. For all that I require of you will be pleasant and easy to bear. Matthew 11:28-30

Re-published with the permission of Hannah Morrell at Borken & Hopeful, a ministry created for those who feel broken to fin hope in Jesus.

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