God put rest in us because rest is necessary for vitality and flourishing. ~ Rebekah Lyons
Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to Me. Get away with Me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with Me and work with Me — watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with Me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly. — Matthew 11:28-30 MSG
Welcome to week two of the Rhythms of Renewal Online Bible Study. This is the week we talk about and study rest. I. am. so. ready. How about you?
Why is rest so hard?
Part of it is cultural, don’t you think? We’re taught from an early age to Go, Do, Work hard, Produce, Achieve, Be all you can be! So Sabbath is such a contradiction it often gets filed in the “suggestion” category instead of remembered as one of God’s chief loving commands for our health and well-being.
But, you and I know what happens when we veer outside the guardrails of the Lord’s Word, right? And, it ain’t pretty!
Truthfully, I’ve been looking forward to this study eagerly because I’m out of balance. Like I don’t have good footing because I tend to go-go-go instead of keeping my eyes on the Lord to watch and remember how to “take a real rest.”
This is not a one-time thing, either. Recently, I had been going and going and going for far too long, even through seriously hard circumstances. Bearing burdens that were too heavy at a pace I couldn’t maintain. Until I was without a choice. I hit a wall. The Lord laid me flat on my back and I was forced to do the one thing I did not want to do: rest.
- Take naps.
- Eat actual meals.
- Recover strength.
- Remember (and in a lot of ways re-learn) who Jesus is and why I need Him so desperately.
- Let others take care of me beautifully and with such kindness instead of my preferred mode of serving others. (For an enneagram 2, that’s hard!)
- Ask the Lord to speak to me, correct my heart, redirect me in the ways that I’ve veered even unknowingly.
God is jealous for our hearts. He wants not just part of us… but all of us. ~ Rebekah
Let’s look at Matthew 11:28-30 again. This is the good stuff!
Getting away with Jesus = recovering your life.
As much as I didn’t want to be laid out in bed, it was a gift. I needed that time to gain a new perspective spiritually. To lean in and cling tighter.
Part of that rest initiated going on a social media break for several months now. And, I honestly love it!
Rest restores our souls. Rest ultimately brings the most life. ~ Rebekah
I rise before dawn and cry for help; I have put my hope in Your Word. — Psalm 119:147
Have you ever caught yourself taking a huge breath in and realized that in whatever was going on in that moment, you had forgotten to breathe?
Without breath we can’t live. And, truly, without rest we cannot live abundantly. Joyfully. Peacefully. Hopefully.
God ordained and blessed rest…. Rest precedes blessing. ~ Rebekah
Rest is hard because it means giving up control, setting aside our agendas, focusing on God instead of our plans and our phones, shutting out the noise that keeps us from getting real with Jesus, and submitting to His authority and leadership.
But, rest is where the peace is. It’s where the relationship gold is with God.
So, let’s stop… rest… and breathe deep!
This week in your study:
- Watch the video for session two on our study home page. Take notes in your study guide on pages 33-37 and then please come join the conversation with our OBS community afterward!
- Go through the study questions with your group or on your own on pages 38-41.
- Read Part 1 of Rhythms of Renewal.
- Grab your Bible and enjoy your personal study this week on pages 43-51.
- Join the conversations about the study and get to know fellow participants in the private Facebook group!
Scriptures this Week
Prayer for the Week
Jesus, we love You. We welcome You. Help us to slow down and rest in Your presence even if it’s our nature to go-go-go. We want to know the real You, to experience the sweetest relationship with You, and to walk at Your pace. Help us to learn to love rest, to treasure Sabbath, and to look forward to mornings with You. We love You, Lord. Amen.
P.S. – Several of you have been asking about the rhythms for this week. Don’t stress! The last thing we want to do is add more to your to-do lists. Some of us are implementing just one rhythm and others are trying more. It’s up to you! You’re invited to join the conversation after the video or in our private Facebook group and share with us about which rhythms you’re putting into place. We’re excited to hear from you!