#005: Fueling Your Soul with His Rest
I am excited to talk to you today! Just to forewarn you, I have my 1-year-old playing in the background, he decided to get up about 1.5 hours earlier than he usually does. But he's currently playing contently in the background, so we'll see what happens. If you hear a little one making noises in the background, that's him :)
Today I want to talk to you about motherhood and weariness and how there's no clocking out in the motherhood. But there is hope, there is rest we can find in Christ.
I know this is something that gets talked about often but a lot of times we forget about it so I want to bring us back to the Word of God and find that rest from Him.
So let's backtrack a little. Before I had kids, I would hear moms say motherhood is the hardest job they'd ever had. At the time I didn't understand it, I was like, "Okay... So... What's so hard about it?!"
And now, after having two kids, I understand it now. I see it.
My boys are 19 months old. The oldest one is 2.5 right now, so I'm really in the midst of the little years. I get why it's hard, I get why it's so draining.
Let me tell you one of the first things I learned about motherhood, which is how I'm always on call.
In my previous day job, every day I would clock in and clock out. There was a definite start time and end time. When 3:30 hit, I'd clock out and peace out.
But in motherhood, there is no such thing as clocking out.
I'm always a mom. I'm always working, and that is incredibly draining.
When I first became a mom, I idolized my baby's sleep because I wanted a break from taking care of a baby.
My first born was not a very good sleeper. He would wake up every 2-3 hours, this would go on for months. He was also not a very good napper, a lot of times he would take a 20-minute nap and called it good.
I kept trying different sleep training methods but none of them worked.
They say babies usually sleep through most of the night by 3-4 months. Well. Not my baby.
He didn't do that till he was much older. He actually didn't sleep through the night until he was one.
So I was sleep-deprived. I was desperate for a chance to just clock out. I wanted to take a break so I idolized making him sleep for as long as possible. (Well, I tried making him sleep for as long as possible. It usually didn't work... haha)
In the middle of the night when he would wake up again, I would pray that he would go back to sleep. Now, don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong about praying for your child to get sleep.
My problem was my heart motivation.
I wanted him to sleep so I could sleep.
My prayer was self-motivated.
And, also, if my husband did anything that woke the child, I would get really bitter towards my husband.
By God's grace, He opened my eyes to see what I was doing.
God revealed to me that I was looking for rest in the wrong place.
My baby sleeping, while that will give me a little break, it shouldn't be my ultimate rest.
In fact, there was a plenty of nights when my son went back to sleep but I ended up staring at the ceiling. I couldn't go back to sleep.
Even though my son went back to sleep, I wasn't getting the rest that I was hoping for, that I was longing for.
I think what God was showing me was that my rest wasn't supposed to be dependant upon my son. It was supposed to be the God of rest.
Do you see yourself in my story? Do you see yourself longing for rest in the wrong places?
When I finally let go of my hope of rest in my son, that was when my nights would go a lot better.
I was still sleep-deprived, but God filled me with His rest.
A rest that was more satisfying than a long nap. A rest that carried me through the long year of segmented sleep.
I'm sharing my story with you because you can probably relate if you have little ones at home.
You're weary, you're drained. You just want to clock out - I am right there with you.
But let me encourage you to dwell in the presence of the God of rest.
Instead of trying to get more sleep and more me-time, I want you to go to God.
Let Him fuel your soul with His rest.
His rest is going to be way more satisfying than a spa night.
Now, just to put a disclaimer out there: please don't hear me say that it's bad to want sleep, or it's bad to want some time to yourself. That is not at all what I'm saying. I'm all for self-care, I'm all for getting time to yourself.
The thing is, I want you to check your heart to see where you're ultimately finding rest from.
Is it true rest that will fuel your soul? Or is it temporary rest that feeds your body for a little while but leaves your soul longing for more.
How to be Filled with His Rest
So what does it mean to be filled with His rest?
There are 2 things I would do. One is to dwell in His Word and pray.
One of my favorite passages to come back to time and time again when I'm weary is Psalm 23:2
I love this verse.
Right before this verse, it talks about how the Lord is my shepherd and I shall not want.
I want you to picture a shepherd. What does a shepherd do? A shepherd takes care of his herd, his sheep. He makes sure that they don't get lost from the crowd, that they are fed, that they are nourished.
This verse that says how he makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters - that shows me that he is my shepherd, he seeks out green pastures before I would need it so that he can lead me to this green pasture.
And it's not just a patch of land.
It's green pastures so it's nice and comfy, it's not a desert. It's nice and comfy for you to just rest on and lay on.
And it's green which means that there's grass.
So he seeks out a patch of land with rest and nourishment that he can use to feed me. That is such a great picture of a shepherd going before me, providing for me what I need before I even realize my need, and he gives me rest and gives me food and he makes me lie down in it.
I love this picture.
The second part of this verse says: he leads me beside still waters.
This is another picture of how he provides for me, how he gives me the rest and the peace that I need.
It's still water that he leads me to.
Again, he seeks out where that water is going to be, he then gives me water because I need water to survive. And it's not water that will sweep me away, it's still water that I can bathe in and drink from. I don't have to fear for my own life that I will get swept away. It's nice and still and it's peaceful. I love it.
My question for you is: will you trust in Him that He can lead you to this green pasture that you can just lie down and rest and be fed?
Will you trust in Him that He will lead you to this still water that you can just drink from?
My second verse that I like to dwell in when I'm tired, weary and burdened is Matthew 11:28-30.
I love this picture of my Heavenly Father providing me the rest that I need.
I wanna focus on the word "yoke"; it's a word that I used to gloss over because I didn't really understand it.
But if we really dig into the meaning of the word, and what Jesus meant when He said it, I think we can really see how we can find rest in Christ.
So this was back in the time when Pharisees were imposing strict laws regarding the law, THE law.
So there was a lot of religious restrictions and rules that people had to stick by.
But here Jesus is saying, you who keep working, you who are weary and heavy-ladened from trying to keep up with all these Pharisees' laws, "Come to me and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me. For I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
The word "yoke" in the Old Testament refers to... kind of like a choker for oxen to attach the plow to, so the oxen can pull it in the field.
Or, it's a metaphor for slaves, for severe bondage.
Jesus is saying that all these strict rules and laws that the Pharisees had imposed, these almost create a severe bondage that people were in.
But if we learn from Christ, if we take His law, which is God's law, which is full of grace, then we know His yoke is easy and the burden will be lightened.
Isn't that a great picture for us moms?
Especially in this age, I feel like there are so many unspoken rules for us moms. The culture says we have to be really conscious about what we do as moms: we have to give our kids organic stuff, or they have to be breastfed, or they cannot be on the iPad for a long time.
There is so much pressure put on moms to be the "perfect mom"; we have to abide to all these standards in order to be accepted by the culture, to be seen as a good mom, to be approved by the culture.
But, seriously, God does not require you to give your child organic snacks, or everything homemade.
God wants you to be a mom who loves your kids with His love. He wants you to display the Gospel with how you love your family, with how you take care of the family. He wants you to be the ambassador of Christ.
He's not looking for you to be this culturally-accepted mom; He wants you to be the ambassador of Christ, to embody the grace and truth that He has so abundantly given to you.
Will you respond to His call to take His yoke?
Because His yoke is a lot easier than the yoke you're carrying right now.
His burden is so much lighter than the burden of getting approval from the world.
You are accepted in God's eyes. You are His heir given the great task of motherhood - the great calling of motherhood.
Will you lay down your burden and follow Him to the green pastures that He has prepared for you? That He has sought out for you in advance?
Will you trust in Him and follow Him to this still water that He wants you to find nourishment from?
I'm praying for you today, friend, that you will go to Him and lay down your burden, lay down your weariness and experience the kind of rest that He wants you to have, the kind of rest that He can provide for you because He is your Heavenly Father.
Podcast music: Sunny Holidays & Summertime by Nicolai Heidlas