| from Julie LaQuey |

Life has been hectic lately. Can you relate? It seems that my husband and I have been working non-stop, without any days off, much less time for summer vacation. We know we’re supposed to rest. We know it is good and necessary for our bodies and minds to have time to relax and repair. Studies have shown tremendous physical and mental benefits that result when we have appropriate times of rest.

But what do we do in those times when rest eludes us? If you are a parent, you already know that one constant in life is that it’s constantly changing. From sleepless nights with a newborn to potty training with toddlers to late night discussions with high schoolers, just when we think we’ve found balance in our schedule and activity level, change comes again.

If you have a child with special needs, it’s possible that you cannot relate to a life of constant change. Your life might instead be filled with the monotony of every day being the same, with no end in sight. If you could see a light at the end of the tunnel, you think you could bear through the weight of the burden you feel. But with no end in sight, it seems instead that the tunnel is so long and the end so far away that you feel overwhelmed by darkness and despair.

Well-meaning people tell us that self-care is the answer. A warm bath, a glass of wine, a weekend away, another cup of coffee… these are often where we turn when searching for renewed strength. Others say that we can be energized from pursuing interests and developing personal skills. These can be positive endeavors and may be necessary. But we may find that, even after trying every possible remedy, we still feel drained.

What we hoped would provide a solution can even exacerbate the problem. The adrenaline rush from that cup of coffee or energy drink eventually wears off, the momentary escape from reality ends, and if we are selfish in our efforts to find rest, we may find the result is even worse than before. That weekend of binge watching a favorite series results in more piles of laundry and dishes and less time to accomplish what still has to be done.

Where else can we turn when all our efforts and attempts to find rest or to renew our energy have failed? As much as we might love our morning coffee, that glass of wine, that weekend at the beach, is there something that can be even more fulfilling and provide a longer-lasting solution? Are there physical or mental issues or perhaps rather spiritual issues that need to be addressed?

Upon searching the Scriptures, I found at least nine solutions or commands that are tied to finding rest for our weary souls.

First, throw off anything that hinders, as commanded in Hebrews 12:1. Get rid of what weighs us down. I’m not convinced that God is telling us here to declutter our homes, helpful as that may be. It’s not physical stuff we need to throw off, but the real culprit included in these verses is “the sin that so easily entangles.” It is our struggle with sin that weighs us down and burdens us. Throw it off!

Second, look around you at others who are watching you and at others who have overcome. The phrase “since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses” reminds me that others are watching my life and are being either encouraged or discouraged by my choices. Also, by looking to missionaries who’ve persevered through significant trials or saints in your church who faithfully serve, you can be encouraged by their endurance and the joy that results.

Third, fix your eyes on Jesus (Hebrews 12:2). Follow his example. He endured the cross in faith knowing that joy would follow. Believe, as Jesus did, that there is a joy waiting for you that is far greater than whatever pain you now feel.

Fourth, embrace God’s discipline. God disciplines those he loves (Hebrews 12:5-11). Instead of leaving us in a state of immaturity, he chastens and rebukes and leads us to grow and learn and become better than before. Did you know that even Jesus learned obedience through suffering? Hebrews 5:8 tells us that he “learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.” Surely then we too can learn from whatever hardship we face today.

Fifth, pursue the prize. It’s okay to desire heavenly rewards. Paul says in 1 Cor. 9:24-27 that we run “to get a crown that will last forever.”

Sixth, know that God is enough. His grace is sufficient, His power is made perfect in our weakness, He is all we need (2 Cor. 12:9). In Matthew 11:28, God tells us, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew uses the analogy here of a yoke. Most of us know what a yoke looks like, and how two animals work side by side when yoked together. The stronger animal leads and may pull too fast so the weaker animal falters. But the analogy here shows us that God, while stronger than anything, is gentle and humble. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

Seventh, focus your efforts on resting your soul more than your body. When we are weary, we often think a physical remedy will be the cure. But how often have we experienced an adrenaline rush from a change in our thoughts that overcomes any weariness we had physically? It is our minds and our souls most often that really need rest. Turn off the news and turn to God. Put away your screens and open your Bible. Rest your soul by coming to God. Recognize that your body and spirit are moving in opposite directions. One is wasting away, getting older and more frail each day, while the other is being renewed and growing stronger day by day.

Eighth, check your perspective of time. These burdens are temporary. They will end someday. Remember eternity and put your trials into the perspective of the eternal weight of glory that awaits those who persevere (2 Cor. 4:16-18).

Ninth, put your hope in the Lord. Wait on Him to provide (Isaiah 40:31). Remember the servant in Luke 17:7-10 who worked in the field then came in to serve his master, not resting until after the master’s needs had first been met. God has a purpose for your life, He has work for you to accomplish, and He has provided all the resources you need. In verse 6 of Luke 17, Jesus tells us, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea, and it will obey you.’” Our friends who serve as missionaries in Guatemala seem to have endless strength to accomplish the work God has set before them. Every time we speak with them, they talk of how God gives them the health and strength to persevere, though their bodies might appear physically weak. They attest to the fact that God gives us everything we need to accomplish the work He has for us. Wait on Him. Hope in Him. Trust Him to provide. Come to Him and let your strength be renewed in Him.

To learn more, listen to The LaQuey Family Podcast, episode 58, at this link: https://anchor.fm/julie66136/episodes/New-blog-coming-out-on-August-20th–Come-back-then-for-nine-steps-to-finding-rest-e159g4e

Julie LaQuey is a follower of Jesus Christ, intent on sharing the hope of heaven and the Truth of God’s Word and His great love to others. She is wife to Tyce, married 26 years, and mother to Caleb (age 23), Abby (age 20), and Luke (age 15). Tyce and Julie have formally educated their children at home since the fall of 2006. Julie is passionate about helping women learn to respect their husbands, value their children, and love God above all.