Last week I caught up with the new point leader of an organization I’ve been working with, and we began discussing their marketing reach.
Finding Rest For Your Soul In the Midst of the Demands Of Leadership
I can remember times when I was first church planting where "I will give you rest" almost felt like a cruel joke.
I can remember times when I was first church planting where this verse almost felt like a cruel joke.
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.
-Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)
It felt like: That is not accessible. Whatever is about this yoke that is supposed to be easy and light is definitely not what I’m experiencing right now. It was almost hard to read.
In the years since, I’ve learned to shift and place the care of my soul not as a list of things that is “if I have more time, I can get to”—but instead at the center of what I need in order to breathe and live.
I find this verse is actually the invitation. Jesus is good for His word, this can be relied upon.
And many of you, I’m sure have experienced this rest. But if rest feels false or far away from you today, that’s okay. I believe the invitation still stands. There are ways to care for your soul today and you can see how God will meet you in that.
I love Eugene Peterson’s paraphrase on this in the Message translation:
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life...
Let’s pause there and notice those words.
Jesus is not saying “suck it up and work harder” or "keep pushing".
The invitation is not “Are you tired and worn out? Well then shame on you, you shouldn’t be”. None of those are what He's saying.
He’s meeting you and me exactly where and as we are.
Come to me, He says. Get away with me. These are relational.
I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me, watch how I do it...
That’s another really interesting thought. How did Jesus do things? How can we watch that and learn?
Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.
That’s one of my favorite phrases. I learned even in my body, I can sense the difference when I am feeling things are forced and when things are unforced.
But it’s possible.
Today, I want to remind you that God is not unjust. He will not forget your work and the love you have for His people.
As it says in Hebrews 6:10:
God is not unjust; He will not forget your work and the love you have shown Him as you have helped His people and continue to help them.
Every tear you’ve cried, every time you’ve stayed late for that one last person, every time you woke up in the middle of the night realizing there was a marriage on the brink, or maybe it was your own, and all of these things you hold and you’ve held...
God will not forget your work, even if you felt like you were serving in complete obscurity.
He does not forget it. He receives the love you have shown His people by helping them. He receives it as love you have shown to Him.
Again, this is not as an excuse to go burn yourself out. But this is an acknowledgement, a recognition that the Lord sees, and He knows.
And if rest feels far away from you today?
I am here to say it is possible to experience these unforced rhythms of grace.
This blog post is an excerpt from a video with ABNWT. For more ways to find rest as leaders, watch the whole conversation here: