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Rest for Our Souls

Do you ever feel like it's an awful lot of work to go on vacation? As I'm writing this, I'm supposed to leave for a week's vacation with my family in just a couple days. Vacation to me is supposed to be a restful time, a break from the usual work routine. But it sure is a lot of work ahead of time! Amy and I have been spending most of our free time lately preparing for our trip. Writing lists, shopping (and shopping again because our lists changed), cleaning the house, packing, and making sure all our work is done so we can leave with clear minds. It can make a person think, "After all this work getting ready, it better be a great vacation and I better come home well-rested!"

As a parent of young children, I know it's not a realistic expectation to come home feeling well-rested in the physical sense. I know our children I will probably sleep less because our kids will be off their routine and out of their usual environment, but I sure do hope my soul feels rested! We cannot magically make our souls well-rested. And demanding that feeling at all costs will probably make me a miserable and unhelpful person toward those closest to me. I think that's why it's so important to have the proper perspective on rest. I may think the rest that I need is a break from all my responsibilities. While that can be really nice at times, I can't neglect being a parent and husband. Instead, I should seek to find my rest in the presence of my Lord. Vacation to me is really about positioning myself and my family in a different setting so we can more deeply delight in the gifts of God.

Jesus says in Matthew 11:29, "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."

That's the kind of rest that I seek--for my soul to delight in God himself.

I know for many of us, we are in full gear-up mode for a busy Fall season of school, harvest season, Fall cleanup, church ministries etc. In our work, let us not neglect the absolutely vital practice of rest. In fact, the busier we are, the more imperative it is that we guard time and space in our weekly rhythms to rest in God's presence. Remember, we were first created for relationship with God. Our work and our rest are a rhythm helping us to know that we belong to him, and we partner with him. So as we prepare ourselves for whatever responsibilities come our way, may we never forget the important gift of belonging to God in Christ.

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