The LORD is my shepherd. I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He refreshes my soul.
Friend to Friend
We once had an Australian cattle dog named Dallas. Australian cattle dogs are extremely loyal to a master of their choice. Dallas chose our son Jered to be his master. When Jered came home from school each day, Dallas would greet him at the door and follow him wherever he went. If Jered did homework in his room, Dallas curled under the desk. When Jered ran an errand, Dallas rode shotgun. Dallas instinctively knew that the only place he would find genuine rest was at the feet of his master. The same is true in our lives. But … I am not very good at this rest thing.
Life is so daily and often filled with uncertainty, a reality that can make me very nervous. I want to know what the plan is and how that plan is going to be implemented. Details! I need details!
Instead, God calls me to leave the details up to Him and rest. I don’t want to rest. When I rest, I feel guilty. I have places to go, people to see, and important things to do.
But I hear the quiet whisper of the One who knows me best and loves me most, “Mary, it is time to rest.” I have tried to ignore that whisper more times than I care to admit, but it is only a temporary maneuver on my part.
The Lord is my Shepherd and is well acquainted with the antics of stubborn sheep like me. He will lovingly make me lie down in green pastures and firmly lead me beside quiet waters. Why? He wants to refresh my soul. He wants me to experience the peace that can only be found at His feet.
Rest is not really an option. It is a spiritual discipline that we need to make a spiritual habit in our life.
Many of us have bought into the lie that who we are is based on what we do or don’t do. We fill every waking moment with something or someone in order to prove our worth. After all, we must be worthy if we are doing worthy things, right? Busyness does not always equal productivity. When we admit our need to rest, we are acknowledging the fact that we are imperfect and that our human power is limited.
For years, our family vacationed in the mountains of North Carolina in order to escape the brutal heat of South Florida where we lived. We all had our favorite thing to do while on vacation. Dan loved to read and take long walks in the cool, green forests. The kids loved wading in creeks, looking for gold nuggets. My favorite activity was shopping for antiques. Now let me define antiques and antique stores according to Mary.
The best antique stores were nestled in the mountains on some remote dirt road, and the antiques were what most people would call junk. It’s all a matter of perspective.
One year, I walked into a shop and stopped in my tracks when I saw the yoke hanging on a wall. Matthew 11:28-30 is one of my husband’s favorite passages of Scripture where Jesus says, “Take my yoke upon you and you will find rest for your souls.” For years, I searched for just the right yoke to give Dan as a special gift. But every yoke I found was either too big or too small and in less than stellar condition. The yoke before me was in perfect condition and was just the right size and price. Upon closer inspection, my excitement faded.
Yokes have two loops of leather or wood attached to a sturdy wooden frame. Two working animals wear the loops around their necks in order to bear whatever load they are given. The loops on this particular yoke were not the same size – one larger than the other. When I pointed out the flaw, the shop owner said, “It’s supposed to be made like that. The stronger animal is placed in the larger loop to help the weaker animal pull the load.”
Boom! I bought that yoke and gave it to Dan, but it is really a gift for me as well – a beautiful reminder that a shared load is a lighter load.
Are you tired and exhausted from trying to live life on your own? Come to Jesus and find rest in Him.
Father, thank You for the promise of rest we find in Your presence. It seems like I am always tired and every step is hard. Please forgive me when I turn to You as a last resort instead of running to You first. Today, I turn to You, Lord, for rest.
In Jesus’ Name,
Now it’s Your Turn
- Read Genesis 2:2. How does this verse apply to your life?
- Read Job 33:26. Notice every “action” word in this verse. What does God promise
when we choose to apply the steps He outlines in this verse?
- Identify the areas of unrest in your life. Bring them to God in prayer and seek rest in Him.
More from the Girlfriends
You can’t eliminate stress, but you can learn to control stress before it controls you. Mary Southerland transforms the promises of the Twenty-third Psalm into easy-to-implement, practical steps that will hand you the keys to stress management. Escaping the Stress Trap is a story-filled, humorous, and helpful approach to dealing with the pressures of life. The chapter-by-chapter study guide is ideal for both personal and small group studies.