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Your right to rest

I am convinced that women today have not been taught, nor do they understand, the biblical principles of rest.

They have somehow bought into the false belief that, for the Christian woman, rest is selfish and unscriptural.

Nothing could be further from the truth!
- DENISE GEORGE, A Woman’s Right to Rest

Right away she lays it out plainly:
women are tired because they’re not resting enough.

But, but, but . . . we women say . . . we have too much to do; we don’t get enough help; people are depending on us, etc.

George says rest anyway.
Jesus did.

And by “rest” she doesn’t just mean prop your feet up and take a nap (although that is one kind of rest—do it when you can!), but she lists fourteen distinct types of biblical rest that women (and men) can incorporate into their daily lives.

14 types of rest

  • Physical rest
  • Mental & emotional rest
  • Trusting soul rest
  • Resting in prayer
  • Heart rest
  • The rest forgiveness gives
  • The rest of contentment
  • The rest of commitment
  • Resting in caretaking
  • Resting in beauty, harmony, and peace
  • The rest of selected memories
  • Resting in friendship
  • Resting in times of crisis
  • The rest of heavenly assurance

She says not only are we given permission to rest, but it is our right, by our Creator’s design.

And I agree.

Rest is an obvious fruit of grace. If there’s anything we should understand about grace, it’s that it brings a cessation of work. Not just in a physical way (our bodies are created to be be still for 1/3 of our lives), but also in spiritual, mental, emotional, and relational ways.

Spiritual rest or soul-rest is knowing a loving Heavenly Father is in control of every aspect of a woman’s life and that she can completely trust him.

Soul rest also means that she can know with certainty that God loves her and promises to bring good results from the bad things she might experience on a daily basis.

I admit there were times I thought the book makes it sound too easy: just trust in God and voilĂ , you’ll find rest. Well, yes, but it’s more of a process for me; I still struggle and hurt and ache over painful things that can rob me of rest. I have to fight to not stay in those places when I find myself there (and hopefully I’m learning to linger there less and less).

How to rest

I suppose the author knew those like me need the “how” as well as the “why” about rest, so at the end of each chapter, she offers a series of practical suggestions. They aren’t groundbreaking ideas, but sometimes we need to have repeated, all in one place, what we already know but may feel too tired to come up with ourselves.

For example, under “The Rest of Contentment,” she suggests:

* Make a list of the possessions you own that you could easily live without. Then write down all those essential things you own and thank God for them.

* Go to a quiet place and contemplate Paul’s words in Phil. 4:12. Ponder “the secret” Paul has learned.

* Ponder the word “envy.” Do you envy a friend or neighbor? How is this envy displacing Christ’s rest in your heart? Pray that God will release you from this envy and restore his peace.

The practical suggestions are then followed by “Personal Quiet Time to Rest, Study, Reflect, and Pray,” which includes scriptures to contemplate, questions to reflect upon, prayer suggestions, and room to write down decisions made as a result of reading the chapter.

If you’re doing the book as a group study, that section is followed by yet another at each chapter’s end, “Group Bible Study” which is a shorter version of scriptures to read and questions to discuss.

I thank God for granting me a season of rest as I transition out of my role as a homeschooling mom, so I didn’t have a strong sense of urgency to go deeper with several chapters in this book.

But if you’re at a place of unrest in your life—for whatever reason and of whatever type—this book is sure to address it and help you reestablish equilibrium again through the grace of God.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, 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.
Matthew 11:28-30

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Day 30 of . . .




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