REST FOR THE WEARY

GUEST POST — CATHERINE WORDEN
Office Manager

I decided this week that I’m done praying for strength – at least I’m done praying for strength the way I used to pray. So many times I have said to a friend going through a rough season or situation, I am praying for strength for you. And it seems like the good and right thing to pray. You want your friend to have the strength they need to stand and to push through whatever is in front of them. But what I’m finding is that when we pray for strength (at least in my own experience) is that we pray for strength to get through something, and then the next thing comes along and we pray for more strength to get through that, and to get through the next thing and the next thing. I don’t think that’s at all what God intended for us.

“Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

Jesus didn’t say, if you are tired and you are carrying heavy stuff come see me and I will make you stronger so you can carry more stuff. He didn’t say He would give us more strength so we could continue to push through this thing just to get to the next hard thing. He said He would give us rest.

Do you know what I’ve found when I’m in that place of feeling worn down and even on the verge of being burnt out? It’s usually when I’ve put too much on my plate and I haven’t taken the time to rest. More than that, when I am really feeling overwhelmed, it’s usually when I’m relying on my own strength instead of God’s.

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power.” – Ephesians 6:10
His mighty power. I can be strong in the Lord because of HIS strength, not mine. Carrying a lot doesn’t make me strong. Sometimes it just makes me tired.

Something else I have found as I have looked a little closer at how I pray for strength, is that sometimes I’m not slowing down to rest because there are things that come to the surface when I’m quiet. It may be a hurt that I haven’t processed through, or something the Holy Spirit has pointed out to me that I need to change in my life. Sometimes it’s a relationship that I need to grieve because it suddenly ended. And it feels silly to grieve and to hurt with such depth because the person didn’t actually die, they just aren’t a part of my life anymore. We tend to think grief only happens around a gravesite, not in the every day relationships as adults.
We equate strength with standing tall, pushing through, and smiling, even when we are exhausted and really just need to feel the emotions we are feeling and let the tears fall. But what if strength also meant learning how to lean, learning how to rest, and not being afraid to feel the deep emotion and let the emotion fall however it may. What if we stopped praying for strength and instead prayed for rest?

What if we stopped just praying for strength all the time, and instead began praying and asking God for rest. I’m talking about the kind of rest that comes with learning how to say no to that one more thing you’ve been asked to do. Rest that comes with letting the tears fall when they need to instead of holding them back. Rest that comes with leaning into God for His strength and not our own.

“Come to me all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” – Matthew 11:28

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