Come to Me, all you 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." Matthew 11:28-29 (KJJV)
Isn't it ironic that many of the things we think will bring us rest and relieve our cares only seem to bring us further into bondage? I hear from women who believed that a career or a high paying job would bring them freedom. Instead they find themselves enslaved to a hectic and unfulfilling life style. The mad morning rush of running their children to daycare before work, feeling immense guilt at leaving their sick children with a caregiver, feeling they don't have time to be a decent wife, mother, or employee is not how they thought life would be.
Exercise can be another bondage maker. Generally taking care of our bodies is one thing the Bible tells us to do. However, I am aiming more at the worldly philosophy of pencil thinness, starvation, and exercise in order to be happy with who you are. The extreme control of watching every calorie, walking the miles, and riding the bike feels so in control until you realize that what you once controlled is now controlling you.
Another kind of unrest comes from things we add to our faith in vain attempts to look spiritual and to gain God's favor. Separation from the world (no television, no music) even Bible reading and prayer can be done from a prideful heart that thrives on works righteousness.
We create these burdens and they bring us nothing but agitation, frustration, trouble, and fear. We become concerned our expectations will not be met. We become like the world. These problems are created because we have wrong motives and the wrong focus. We will find the rest we crave by taking the yoke of Jesus. In Him we find the rest that comes from salvation. We also find rest from our anxieties.
Paul instructs us to be anxious for nothing.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6-7) NASB
We could rephrase that to say Paul instructs us to have lives of rest, not unrest. Rest isn't found in our job or in the gym. It isn't found in counting calories, works righteousness, or in any other thing that is apart from Christ. In Him is where we find our peace and our rest.
Confession of sin brings peace and rest to a conflicted heart.
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) NASB
There is nothing so cleansing as pouring out to the Lord the burdens created by sin. I often wonder what the reason is that we resist confession? Is it fear of rejection by our loving heavenly Father? If so, be assured, He loved us when we were unregenerate and lost! Surely as we are in Christ He will not reject us now!
A heart of thanksgiving brings rest and peace to a frustrated and angry heart.
Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body; and be thankful. (Colossians 3:15) NASB
Anger and frustration don't breed thankfulness, they breed discontent, jealousy, greed, and other forms of idolatry. When things aren't going our way we are not at rest. We also tend to forget how blest we truly are. Reminding yourself to be thankful in all circumstances - even the really hard ones - will bring rest to your weary soul.