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Today’s Truth

He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul (Psalm 23:2-3 NIV).

Friend to Friend

She leaned in close, ignoring the crowd of playful kids running past on the pavement. The ice cream truck’s jangling music box nearly muted my friend’s confession: “I’m exhausted. I decided for now, I’m just not doing anything. This is my sabbatical to rest and heal.”

In the days following, emails trickled into my inbox from another weary friend. Depression was stealing her strength and her sleep. She chose to simply stop. My friend set down productivity to pick up slow moments of peace. Practicing her “no,” she closed her ears to the demands on her time and talents to listen to God’s voice.

At this same time my daughter typed out a resignation letter to release herself from her job. The burden of stress and loneliness had become too heavy to carry. Now, she’s savoring a quiet break before working where she’ll be valued and seen.

These women don’t know how they’ve held up a mirror to my soul. By choosing to rest, they have exposed my own habits and attitudes. I’m asking tough questions with some answers I’d rather deny:

Am I ashamed of my hurts and limitations?

What am I using to numb my pain and stress?

Who am I working too hard to please?

Do I depend on my own strength or abilities to get by?

Am I brave enough to share my struggles?

Do I believe I’m truly loved?

As women, we so often have grace for others’ weakness but little for our own. We want to “have the mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) but His loving compassion is difficult to apply to ourselves. In dark times of hurt or loss, anxiety or overwhelm, we struggle to rest in His love. We power through the pain until we’re in danger of coming apart.

In Psalm 23, God offers himself as the healer of our stress and fatigue:

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. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake (vv. 1-3 NIV).

What a beautiful invitation to receive all we need from God’s hand. Our anxiety can give way to peace. Broken bodies and hearts can be restored. Our feet can turn from self-destruction to “right paths” of wisdom and obedience to His will. Instead of wearing ourselves out to be all things to all people, we can rest in our God who is everything for us.

Yet you and I can easily ignore God’s gift of rest. We act more like the stubborn nation of Israel in the book of Hosea. Instead of depending on God for their needs, they put their trust in useless idols to provide. They “rejected knowledge” of God’s Word in favor of corrupt leadership and human wisdom. (Hosea 4:6) Their hard hearts refused to follow the loving Shepherd who could guide and “pasture them like lambs in a meadow” (4:16).

Israel’s efforts to go it alone made a wreck and ruin of their lives. They found themselves suffering instead of safe and secure in God’s love.

Are you depleted today? Do you feel crushed by the weight of others’ needs and expectations? Does the world have a greater voice than the Word in your life? Perhaps you’re putting on a brave face to mask your fear. Or sin feels too powerful to resist. You feel alone in your pain. Dear tired friend, say “yes” to your Shepherd. He is calling to you right now, saying,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30 NIV).

Let’s Pray

Lord, You are not impressed by my grit or self-sufficiency. You do not despise my weakness or tears. Today, I’m exhausted from trying to solve my problems and handle life on my own. I’ve reached the end of myself, and I want to follow You into rest. Forgive me for pride that depends on my strength instead of yours. Teach me to be still and know You are God (Psalm 46:10). Restore my soul as only You can.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn

What signs of spiritual, emotional, or physical burnout are showing in your life right now?
What activity might God be leading you away from so you can experience rest?
Where and when can you meet with God this week to meditate on Psalm 23 and share your needs with Him in prayer?

More from the Girlfriends

God’s peace and rest are found in His presence. Joanna’s devotional, Hope for Each Morning, will lead you to draw closer to God every day of the year.

Each simple, heartfelt entry offers a scripture, teaching, and prayer to refresh your confidence in God’s love and promises. This beautiful foil-embossed edition is the perfect gift for the friend or loved one who needs to know the hope found in Jesus today.

(As an Amazon Associate, Girlfriends in God earns a small commission from qualifying purchases using this paid link.)

© 2021 by Joanna Teigen. All rights reserved.

 

12 Responses to “Courage to Rest”

  1. I know I should rest in God but I’m feeling so unloved especially by the people in my household. I cry 😭 to our God to change me those in my household. Have an better understanding of who we are in Christ Jesus heal all who are sick in Jesus Christ name Amen.

  2. Sherri says:

    Katherine I am praying for you!! I understand your pain. I am learning in everything to give God thanks! Prayer truly does that change things.. Allowed God to use you as the light in a dark place. God promises not to leave us nor forsake us and you will get through this. I am praying for you and your family. Put your focus on God and praise him!

  3. Pam says:

    I am struggling as a high school teacher. This year is one of the toughest of my career. I honestly don’t know if I can finish out the school year. The pandemic has changed how our students view education, and not in a good way. It’s so hard to step away, but, every day is a physical and emotional struggle. I can’t be the only teacher feeling this way. I’ve prayed and prayed for God to guide me in making the decision whether to stay or leave before the year is out. I’m trying to live Exodus 14:14 “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” I’d love to hear from other teachers.

  4. Carol says:

    Dear Joanna, Thank you for this post. As I opened this writing, tears started to well up inside.
    I walked away from my business life recently, only to realize I was trying to do all that life required of me on my own. God was just waiting for me to release my strangle hold on everything, only for Him to step into the lead position.
    I have a few physical problems that are the result of my anxiety and work-over-load, but now I’m learning to”lie down in green pastures”.
    If any of your dear readers, can stop for a moment in prayer…just picture yourself handing over your “yoke” of responsibilities (paper work, included); Jesus is more than pleased to take it from you. Then all you have to do, is ask for his guidance to the next step. Praise Jesus, that He is faithful and just to forgive us of our failings!

  5. Terry says:

    Thank you for your words. I just returned from being out of my office for three days. I was at that point of weariness. I needed the time to refresh and renew and your words reminded me of that upon my return. It is always interesting to me that God knows what we need and we just ignore His prompting until we can no longer do so. I was able to spend time with God during my time out of my office and away from all the cares of the world around me to just be still and know that He is God.

    Thank you for your message.

  6. Traci says:

    Pam,
    I am a school support administrator I have heard from numerous teachers and principals that they are thinking of leaving education because it’s too hard. My team and I too have found it almost impossible at times to do our work in the current situation. I’ll be praying for you that you decide to stay because as Rita Pierson said, “Every child needs a champion!” I can tell you have that champion heart for your students just by the fact you aren’t making the decision of staying or leaving lightly.

    In those times when things are really hard for me, I turn to one of my favorite scriptures Gen. 18:14 “Is there anything too hard for the Lord?” I always tell my husband I can substitute any situation in the place of the word anything in that scripture and we know the answer will be the same every time! I know it’s easier said than done but be encouraged!

  7. Katherine, I’m so sorry for what you’re going through with your family. The wounds from our loved ones can be the most painful. I’m praying today that God overwhelms you with HIS love–that he can build you up, give you comfort and encouragement, and confidence that he is right beside you in this season.

  8. Pam, I can only imagine how difficult it must be to serve your students day after day when it feels so many obstacles are standing before you. I’m praying for God to give you endurance to keep going until he reveals the next steps on your journey. I’m asking him to comfort you and give you an overwhelming sense of his love, and how close he is beside you in this hard school year. And, I’m asking him to bring encouragers your way who can relate to how you’re feeling and build you up. God bless you, my friend.

  9. Carol, thank you so much for sharing how God has met you in this stressful time. In your surrender to him, you’ve encouraged all of us to trust and follow him as our King. I’m praying today for continued healing from the physical affects of anxiety. I’m asking him to guide you in your work life, and to give you joy day after day as you release every question and decision to his perfect control. May you know his every blessing!

  10. Terry, it’s so difficult when life is overwhelming and knocks us down. Thank you for sharing how you found rest in God in this hard time. I’m praying that he can hold your heart and mind in a place of peace even as you return to your busy routine. I’m asking the Spirit to keep God’s Word alive in your thoughts so he can encourage you all through the day. In whatever battles you’re fighting today, I’m asking God to show you his power and strength that’s always for us in our weakness. God bless you as you walk with him!

  11. Marline says:

    Thank goodness for fresh Hope in the Morning!!!!!!!!!!

  12. Keira says:

    He leads me to Green Pastures

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