I am an emotional eater. I eat when I’m stressed, when I’m bored, or when I feel lonely. My emotional eating has caused me to become overweight and caused me to be unhealthy. A few months ago, after almost a year of trying to lose weight and getting nowhere, my doctor recommended I see a nutritionist. After meeting with her a few times, we pinpointed some areas that I struggled with; one of those being I eat according to my emotions, not according to my hunger. I was a big ball of stress, walking around looking for a donut to make me feel better.
Stress causes so many things to go wrong in our bodies. The Bible warns us about worry and stress (referred to as fretting) because God knows the horrible affects it can have on our physical bodies. It causes heart disease, high blood pressure, overeating and so much more. But, being the hyperactive, ADHD person that I have always been, learning to handle stress in ways other than eating have been hard. I have prayed and searched God’s word for His help on reducing my stress and increasing my rest, and this is what I have learned.
“Return O soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Psalm 116:7 ESV
Rest is not something we do. It’s not just one day a week that we set aside to pray, meditate and veg out on the couch to Netflix. It is not the one day we take off from work. There is a Sabbath rest, a day we need to take but the kind of rest this soul needs is more than one day a week. I need a rest that encompasses every area of my life. I need a rest that trusts God and is at peace- no matter the trials, troubles or stress that bombards my day. I need a godly rest.
We are to be a people of rest. A people who rest in the Lord their God. A people who return to Him because He has dealt bountifully with us. But what does this rest look like? How do we obtain such a rest? I don’t know about you but the thought of being free from worry and stress makes this troubled soul very excited! But, is this rest possible?
Rest is a state of mind. It is a knowing that you know, that you know, that God is in complete control. It is understanding and believing that no matter what happens- good or bad- God is who He says He is. It is fully trusting in His sovereign hands upon your life. We cannot find the rest we seek until we believe that God is in complete control. We cannot enter this rest that He has prepared for us until we are fully convinced that He allows everything; every moment, every situation; every breath of our lives to exist. We cannot cease from worry and stress until we have total confidence in Him.
Rest means we fully, without wavering, believe what He says to be true and we trust in His promises to bring us through every single one of them. We cannot enter His rest if we do not believe in His promises.
“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
Jesus describes rest in these passages as a ceasing from our works. But there is more to it than that. There is a deeper understanding about resting in Him that we need to grasp a hold of. This rest that Jesus speaks of is not only resting from works, but it is a rest from the results.
What is the number one cause of worry in your life? It is not knowing the outcome. It is not knowing the results of situations, circumstances and decisions you must face. It’s the not knowing what is going to happen next that causes us to worry and have stress.
But the rest that Jesus offers to us here is a rest from the results. Answer these questions for yourself- Has God ever let you down? Has He ever forsaken you? Has He ever disappointed you? Has He ever left you feeling alone and rejected? Has He ever hurt you? Your answers are going to be the same as mine- No, He has not and He never will. We worry and stress when we don’t know what the outcome might be. We immediately run to the worst possible scenario in our head and freak out; forgetting that God is still God and He has the results already worked out.
We work; we do what we believe God has called us to do, and we rest in knowing that the results are up to Him. Rest is a calm and patient expectation that God has given us a work to do, a purpose, a path, and a plan for our lives. We can have peace and rest in completing the work because we don’t have to produce the results. God has promised us that if we obey Him and keep His commandments all the promises from A to Z will be ours in Him for all eternity. We can now rest in doing and leave the results and the outcome up to Him.
Rest is a quiet confidence in the ability and sovereignty of our God to accomplish all He has promised in us and to us. Rest not in who we are or in what we have accomplished, but rest is trusting in the finished work of Jesus Christ. True rest, the promised rest we have been given, is a mind, heart, and soul surrendered to Him. Let us enter that rest. Amen.