"Try 'box breathing' or 'diaphragmatic breathing'. Your mind, body and soul will thank you."

"Hustle culture is out. Mindfulness and taking time to decompress is in!"

"It's ok to take time off. Productivity does not make you more valuable."

These are just a few examples of what I've seen lately on social media as more and more people emphasize mental health and self-care as a priority. Although a lot of the advice I see is written by psychologists and therapists who don’t follow Jesus, I really think they’re onto something.

There is a deep restlessness within each of us when we choose to live apart from Jesus. Maybe you wouldn’t go as far to say that you live apart from Jesus because you're a Christian, but can you truly say you’re living for and through him?

I can't say that's always true for me. I love my calendar and schedules, but when I see a blank space, I have to consciously resist the temptation to fill that space with an activity. I need to feel "productive".

It’s scary how automatic my response is to search for something to keep myself busy. What’s scarier, though, is when I begin to justify my restlessness:

Wow, my body is tired. I’m in pain. I can’t remember the last time I just sat before the Lord and listened to his voice. But this HAS to get done. I’m doing this to serve the Lord and the people around me.

So I can't just do nothing. I have to push through. That’s what will honor God, right?

Friend, if the God of the universe – your loving almighty Creator, Provider, Savior – took time to rest (Genesis 2:2), don’t you think you can, too?

I understand, it can be difficult to say 'no' and to not do something you've always done. But rest will always be time well-spent.

Jesus invites us to deny ourselves – to come to the end of ourselves– but I don’t believe that means we should overwork ourselves to the point of exhaustion in order to reap the benefits of his promise:

"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."

Jesus offers you rest for your whole being. He wants you to be filled with his Spirit, to know his presence, to live and serve out of his power out of joy, not obligation (2 Corinthians 9:7-8).

The world says, "Rest so you can do more and be better in the long-run".

Jesus says, "Rest in me – entrust your soul to me – so that you can experience more of me and my power".

God can transform your work and any restlessness in your heart and mind. Serving him does not need to feel like an obligation or burden. It can be a joy!

“Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.” (John Lubbock, The Use of Life)

I encourage you to rest in Jesus and invite the Holy Spirit to overhaul your life today.

Father, help me to follow your call to come to you and rest. I don’t want to be weary and burdened. I do not want to serve you out of obligation with a bad attitude or resentment. I want to serve you with joy. In every area of my life, I want to rest in you. I surrender my worries, my abilities and my gifts to you. Forgive me for living for myself. Help me to live by faith in you, not by what I can see and touch tangibly. I rest my soul in your hands today and ask you to lighten my burden. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Throughout this Day: Ask the Holy Spirit to challenge your mindset and attitude toward work and rest. Invite him to show you how you can rest physically, mentally and emotionally with Jesus today.

Tags: Daily Devotional Matthew 11
Photo Credit: Nick Fewings on Unsplash