Matthew 11:28-29, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (The Message).
In this series on Burnout I’ve written three posts on rest being a defense against burnout (Defeat Burnout Through Rest And Prayer, 10 Ways To Cast Your Care On, And Rest In God - A Defense Against Burnout, and Rest To Be More Productive).
The theme running through all of those posts was that true rest always involves surrendering to God.
God doesn’t tell us to rest for His own good — He tells us to rest for our own good. God worked six days and rested the seventh. He was — and is — the mastermind behind the entire world, yet He took time to give Himself a break. To cease from working, to cease from creating, cease from doing. Ask the Lord to lift the burden of anxiety off your shoulders.
Cast your cares on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never let the righteous be shaken. — Psalm 55:22
When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. — Psalm 34:17 ESV
We are commanded to rest;
Deuteronomy 5:12-15 (NKJV)12 'Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,14 but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your ox, nor your donkey, nor any of your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you.15 And remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God brought you out from there by a mighty hand and by an outstretched arm; therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
The Commandment about the Sabbath Day says as much about rest as it does anything else, in fact this Commandment is the one with the most written about it.
From Five Days to Relax in God’s Grace by Rick Warren
How do you learn to “R.E.L.A.X.” in the liberating grace of God?
R—Realize nobody’s perfect.
Psalm 119:96 is a verse directed toward God, and it declares, “Nothing is perfect except your words” (TLB). What society tells you isn’t perfect. What popular opinion tells you isn’t perfect. What you learned growing up isn’t perfect. But God’s Word is perfect. When you get in the Bible and build your life on it, you will have a perfect foundation.
E—Enjoy God’s unconditional love.
The Bible says, “See how very much our heavenly Father loves us, for he allows us to be called his children—think of it—and we really are!” (1 John 3:1 TLB) When you become a follower of Christ, you’re not just a servant of God anymore. You are a child of the King. A servant is accepted on the basis of what he does; a child is accepted on the basis of who he is. A servant starts the day anxious and worried that her work will please her master; a child rests in the secure love of her family. A servant is accepted because of his workmanship; a child is accepted because of his relationship.
L—Let God handle things.
What do you do about the uncontrollable things in life? “Cast all your anxiety on [God] because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7 NIV). When you’re fishing and you cast a line, there comes a point where you have to take your finger off the button and let it go. Just like the essence of casting is letting go, to overcome perfectionism you have to let go and let God do his work.
A—Act in faith, not fear.
Remember how you got into God’s family in the first place. Ephesians 2:8 says, “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith.” There’s no other way to get into heaven except by grace. You’ll never be good enough, and you can’t buy your way in. It’s a free gift from God.
X—Exchange your perfectionism for God’s peace.
Perfectionism destroys peace. Jesus says in Matthew 11:28-29, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest . . . Learn the unforced rhythms of grace” (The Message). (Emphasis mine)
What a deal!
You’re going to fail a lot in life. But you don’t have to worry about it if you’ve received God’s grace. In fact, there’s only one failure you ever need to worry about: “Be careful that no one fails to receive God’s grace” (Hebrews 12:15 NCV). Receive it right now, and then relax!
This blog is for you! If you have any questions or topics you would like me to address please use the comments section or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donald Jacobs is an ordained minister with the spiritual gift of teaching. He is the Associate Pastor of a non-denominational church in Los Angeles, CA.