My girlfriend was heading to the cottage recently located on a very quiet and beautiful lake just past Perth. I had been there on a previous trip so I knew her destination well. I wasn’t jealous, but I was looking to the distant future when I could be “off and away” again.
My “off and away” time I knew would not come for weeks due to a few activities and family responsibilities that included two weddings, a bridal shower, dance camp, youth camp, two kids moving out, and whatever else happened to fall on my path.
My To-Do List
When my girlfriend heard my list, and our plans to go away this fall, she simply said that it was my time to “earn my rest”.
It is a phrase I have heard in the context of working out. On-days are workout days. Off-days are rest days. You workout through the week and “earn your rest”, then on one or two days in between you don’t exercise. Your body needs the rest as much as the exercise.
A Couple of Days Off
With all the activity in my life during the month of August, there was an old song by Huey Lewis and the News going through my head as a running theme: “All I want is a couple of days off “ were set to the music of my life.
“I can’t wait for the weekend.”
“I just need a little time for myself
’cause I’m only human, I’m no machine.”
Those were the words in my head, but also the words I kept hearing from my friends, my family, my neighbours, and every beer commercial out there: “We have earned our keep. We have earned our rest. It’s time to escape and head for the weekend.”
We earn our keep. We earn our rest. We earn our wages, and we earn the right to speak into someone’s life.
To earn means to do something or have qualities that make you deserve something.
In the context of rest, this means that you work hard all day, all week, all year, and you earn the right to take a break. You earn your rest.
When I started thinking about that phrase, it would not let me go. You may not understand this, but for me, words are powerful, and this phrase “earn your rest” was calling me to pay attention. So finally, after a few hours, I started to give it some serious thought.
In the physical and tangible part of my life, I do work hard. However, each Sunday, my family and I take our rest. If I don’t, I am grumpy all week. Sunday afternoon naps are a simple part of my rest regime. I work, and I rest. I need both.
But when I started to think about this in terms of my spiritual rest, I was reminded of something deeply wonderful and incredible. “You need to earn your rest” is no longer true for those who follow Christ.
Rest is not something I earn.
Rest is not something I work for.
Rest is not an end destination, but a daily journey of peace.
Rest is a gift I find in the finished work of Jesus Christ who died on the Cross, and rose again, and now lives today in heaven.
Rest is knowing I am loved and accepted, as I am, every moment I breathe.
In the midst of parenting five kids of all ages, doing school at home, and helping my husband run our business, I once believed the idea that you can only find rest when you are by yourself, on a beach, in the sunshine, with a good book. (Okay, so that is my “once” version of rest.)
It simply isn’t true.
Our Father in Heaven invites us every day through the provision of Jesus Christ His Son, into the rest and peace of a close and intimate relationship with Himself. Hebrews 4 is all about the invitation to rest, and the provision of rest. There is a Sabbath-rest made available to all of us who believe. He commends us to “make every effort” to enter that rest. (See Hebrews 4:9-11)
How do we do it?
- Believing and trusting in God the Father, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit
- Having faith that we are made right with God through Jesus Christ
- Obeying God because of our love-relationship with Him
- Ceasing our striving, and knowing He is God (See Psalm 46)
- Saying “no” to the distractions around us, and saying “yes” to time spent with God
“Earn your rest” is a myth. Remember it has already been earned for you by Christ Himself. He came so that we wouldn’t have to work or strive to find peace with God.
He bought our rest and peace through the Cross.
He paid for it with His life.
He wants us to take what is already paid for and stand in His rest and peace.
I don’t need the beach to find rest. I don’t need a book. I need the truth of His Presence and Love in my daily life. I may be in the midst of activities and responsibilities, but today even as I work, I can find rest and peace in my life. I don’t want to forget it: He is my source and He provides my rest.
Read next week’s blog that relates finding rest in Christ with financial freedom.
Rebecca van Noppen is Communications Director at More Than Enough. She is also a teacher, home educator, writer, and woman who loves to pray. A lover of Jesus, she works alongside her husband Financial Coach Dave van Noppen to help others find hope and freedom in Christ on their financial journeys.