2018. What a year…
When the last week of the year rolls around, like many people, I become reflective. My family has had its share of ups and downs, celebrations and heartaches, favorite parts and not-so-favorite parts. I’m sure you have, too.
And to cap it all off, we’ve just survived the “Holiday Season”. The hustle and bustle of church events, school events, family events, and weather events have finally come to close. Unless you have significant New Year’s Eve plans (we intentionally never do), then this last week of the year is a great time to find something we’ve all been looking for…rest.
We need rest. Mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually – we need a break from time to time. We need to stop the normal ebb and flow of our lives so we can recover and collect our strength. A space to breathe and relax. A moment to stretch out. A place to regroup.
We know we need this, but we don’t often give ourselves permission to take this kind of time. Perhaps it’s because we believe that “true rest” will only be found in a fancy vacation to the beach, the mountains, or any place that isn’t home. However, when we are at home, we look for rest when we escape into a hobby, our phones, the TV, food, or something else – and to some degree, we’re successful. But those things are not nearly as satisfying as we would like.
We want…we crave…a deeper rest. But where to find it?
The rest we are looking for isn’t found in an event, a location, or a schedule. Instead, the fulfillment of our need for rest is found in Jesus. While that might sound like a cop-out, “Sunday school” answer, Jesus actually made the offer:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
If 2018 didn’t have moments that left you feeling weary and burdened, then I suppose you can just keep moving along. However, in our honest reflections on this past year, we do find weeks and seasons that left us feeling ragged.
Jesus’ offer isn’t for relaxation from busyness, instead, He offers rest for your soul. Core-deep, soul-level rest. That is what a relationship with Jesus does for us. First, when we trust Him for eternal life, He gives us rest from the burden of sin. Second, in our continuing relationship with Jesus, we can learn from Him – how life is to be viewed, handled, and recovered from.
If I have a New Year’s Resolution about my relationship with Jesus in 2019, I think it should be that when I feel tired…instead of escaping to my phone, the TV, or something else, that I make the choice to go to Jesus.
I encourage you to do the same. Take Him up on His offer. Jesus says that being a disciple (taking up His yoke) and learning from Him is easy and He won’t overburden us. As complicated as life can be, discipleship simply means walking with Jesus in the real world and having Him teach us moment by moment how to live life His way.