What’s the point of rest?

Jun 28, 2022 | 0 comments

It’s useless to rise early and go to bed late, and work your worried fingers to the bone. Don’t you know God enjoys giving rest to those he loves?”

Psalm 127:2 Message translation

It took burnout to help me listen to my body, to my heart, to God’s still quiet voice speaking (always speaking)…

We moved overseas with idealism. I imagined myself in Southeast Asia forever…or at least a really long time. I had images of saving people, helping people…at least a few.

I discovered that my idealized image and life’s reality did not always add up. I went from living overseas as a single woman, to a married woman, to a married woman with children. Each change brought new limitations and realities into my life. And yet, I still held the idealized image of what it meant to help others and live for God in my mind. Which, sadly, left me always falling short. Always feeling frustrated. Always comparing myself. Always feeling not enough.

My body spoke to me, but instead of seeing it as something to love and care for, I saw my body as a burden. Health issues became another thing keeping me from serving God. I developed bronchitis and sinus infections that seemed to never fully go away. Even the locals would comment that my cough sounded like breaking eggs. Yuck!

My mind spoke to me—I was anxious, fearful, and always trying to not be anxious or fearful. I knew the verses and would memorize and read them and journal about them. But I was still anxious. Why?

My soul was restless and frustrated—I felt as though I couldn’t figure out how to be useful. It actually felt at times like I was less and less connected to myself and my calling—who am I? The frustration mounted.

The still small voice began to break through into my noisy life. I found myself crying a lot (not normal for me!). And I needed to talk (process) a lot—again, I was used to being the listener, not the one needing to be listened to. Everything that I thought I knew seemed to be unraveling. I remember longing for sabbatical rest, but doubting that my husband would ever consider such an extravagant idea. But then one day he said it out loud, “What if we took a sabbatical?” It was just a simple question, but it lingered in the air. It sounded so good, and I could hardly believe that he was open to this idea. Really? Yes!!

I have written about our sabbatical in other posts on Global Trellis before, but I find myself drawn back again to the reminder that Sabbath rest is for all of us. And it’s something we need to be reminded of again and again. The world saturates us with noise, things to do, ways to stay busy. We worship productivity, even in the Christian “world.” Perhaps we equate the idea of rest with laziness, or something that comes AFTER the work is finished. (Which, by the way, is NEVER finished!)

And yet, rest was a rhythm of life given to the Israelites—every seventh day was a day of rest. Not just when it was convenient. Not just when all the work was done. Nope! It was a day to CEASE the work. Meaning, whatever is left undone will be left undone and waiting until tomorrow. Yes, this is a gift. Yes, this is a luxury. Yes, this is the kingdom of God. Yes, this is what makes you my beloved children. You are Sabbath people, whom I love!

In a world that is constantly moving, going, noisy, restless, we are invited to rest. God gives rest to those he loves—doesn’t that mean you, doesn’t that mean me? Doesn’t that mean ALL OF US?

What do you need to release so that you can rest?
What would you make room for if you were able to let go, cease work and rest?

Even if you love your life on the field, you will not be given a pass on loss and grief. While everyone experiences loss on the field, not many have a manual on how to handle the loss you inevitably will experience. Until now. In this workshop we answer three key questions to handling the loss you encounter. Get the workshop here.

Photo by sq lim on Unsplash

Lori Ferrell

Wife. Mom of boys. Founder of Sanctuary Vero. Spiritual Director.



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