What I’m Learning about God’s Rest

I’ve been sharing all year my journey of discovering how to honor the Sabbath and enter into God’s rest. Not that those are both the same thing, but they are related.

True rest, God’s rest, is not the absence of work. Regarding the Sabbath, Jesus told the Pharisees, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I too am working” (John 5:17).

So it’s not a legalistic thing. I used to hate talking about the Sabbath because I thought it was. I thought if I wasn’t bored all day that I wasn’t honoring the Sabbath. Not true.

God’s rest is not the absence of work. God’s rest is doing the right work, the stuff God has for you. Jesus did only what he saw the Father doing (John 5:19).

And it’s not just doing the right work. You can do the right work and still choose to be stressed out over it. God’s rest is also trusting him for its success. That takes the pressure off! That doesn’t mean we do a sloppy job, we still pursue excellence and do the best we can. But we’re not stressing over the success because it doesn’t depend on us. That is so totally freeing!

There’s a huge difference between pursuing excellence and pursuing perfectionism. I know from experience there’s no rest in pursuing perfectionism. And I bet you do, too.

This is fast becoming one of my favorite verses:

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. – Jesus (Matthew 11:28-30, The Message)

The unforced rhythms of grace. I love that!

So here’s what God’s been teaching me about entering into his rest and learning the unforced rhythms of grace in my life.

I’m keeping the Sabbath by not using it to do any recurring tasks. Like our weekly blog. Like paying bills. I can do one-off tasks, things that need doing around the house or on the website. But I’ve been intentionally avoiding recurring tasks.

And it’s been wonderful! I’ve been feeling refreshed instead of exhausted. After finishing any one-off tasks I’ve had to do Sunday, I’ve had time to do things that feed my soul. Like reading for a couple hours in the evening with Janet. We both read different things, but being together and just reading is tremendously refreshing. And I feel God smile.

This is just personally what God’s been teaching me. I’m not recommending it for anybody else. And I know I’ve more to learn.

What are you learning? What is God teaching you about entering into the unforced rhythms of grace? We’d love to hear from you, and what you’re learning will bless the rest of our community. So please leave a comment and share on social media if you think this would bless someone else.

6 replies
  1. Charlene Mozee Harris
    Charlene Mozee Harris says:

    My favorite verse too and those piercing words “the unforced rhythms of Grace” says all I need to know. I have learned to be more honest in dealing with family. I don’t feel the pressure of responsibility but the peace that love brings as I carry out needed task or decide I can say no without guilt.

    • Dave Wernli
      Dave Wernli says:

      Great comment, Charlene! Learning to live in the unforced rhythms of grace truly bring us the peace that love brings and lets us say “no” without guilt. “Yes” is the most expensive word in the English language.

  2. Tari
    Tari says:

    Entering into God’s rest is teaching me to live in the present moment. Which is huge for me! When I’m not in His rest, my thoughts can wander to the past or worry about the future. And then i totally miss what He’s doing in the present moment! I hate it when that happens! Psalm 131:2 “Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul”…
    I love His rest because my soul loves the quiet. Thank you for writing! This was so good.

    • Dave Wernli
      Dave Wernli says:

      Good words, Tari! Thank you for the comment and the kind words. CS Lewis said God wants us to live in the present because that’s where time intersects eternity.


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