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The Pathway to Rest

Posted by Rebekah Middlebrooks on

I had finally made it to Portland. My friend, Kristin, and I rolled into town the evening of February 18, 2020, only a day later than planned due to an interstate closure in Wyoming. Kristin was able to take off work to accompany me on our trek across the country that started in Kentucky. We got to do some sightseeing for a few days before she went home, so it was a wonderful way for me to ease into my new city.

THEN reality started sinking in. I could feel the panic begin to knot in my stomach as I started thinking, "Now what?" The inevitable frustrations- some foreseen, some unforeseen- started to surface, threatening to cloud my initial excitement of being here. I had been seeking the Lord about next steps and believed He was leading me to set aside the month of March to acclimate to new surroundings and network for support raising purposes. I knew I had enough in savings to live on for at least March and maybe April. However, I had been in a season (stretching over several years, actually!) of insane busyness, hustling to build a thriving business. Oftentimes, I would ask the Lord to show me how to rest, because I was tired of always being tired. I don't mean tired as in "I need more sleep" tired. I mean that my soul felt tired. The demands of the business combined with my desire to be financially independent and my struggle to establish and maintain healthy boundaries made it seemingly impossible for me to rest.

So, here I was in this new city, preparing to take an entire month off work and feeling extremely unsettled about it. How could I relax, knowing that there was no income coming in? Won't my ministry partners think I'm lazy if I'm not producing fruit? I've always been a workaholic. Who am I now? As I was unpacking one day and wrestling with these questions, the Spirit gently whispered, "I'm trying to give you the rest that you asked for."

I've always wrestled with the promise of rest that Jesus made in Matthew 11:28-30. Soul rest. Isn't that something we all long for? How do we get it? I came to Jesus years ago, but I've rarely experienced this rest that Jesus promises. The key is in the second part of what the Spirit whispered to me that day, "I'm trying to give you the rest that you asked for, but you need to trust Me."

That's when He reminded me of Psalm 131. What a beautiful picture of trust the psalmist paints! A baby who can't feed itself is at an age where he/she needs to experience visceral safety to develop properly- mentally, emotionally, and physically. It's also possible for us to experience this feeling of visceral safety that allows for rest in a spiritual sense through our relationship with our Heavenly Father.

But…how does our soul experience rest in the midst of…

  • Transition?
  • Tragedy and loss?
  • Financial concerns?
  • A cancer diagnosis?
  • A difficult marriage or divorce?
  • Raising young or difficult children?
  • A global pandemic?
  • Loneliness?

We trust. We ask the Holy Spirit to enable us to anchor ourselves in the truth that the LORD is sovereign and good in all that He ordains, allows, and withholds (Psalm 84:11; 86:5; 145:9). I know this is difficult for many of you who are presently walking through very hard things. I don't claim to have all the answers, but I know beyond a doubt that He is loving and patient enough to handle your questions. During different seasons of life, I often find myself asking God, "Will you show me how You are present with me in this?" 

"For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength'." Isaiah 30:15a

As you (we!) continue to learn how to trust Him enough to lean back into His everlasting arms, may you be blessed in experiencing Him as the loving Father who provides rest to His children.


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John Muirhead Apr 15, 2023 6:17pm

Rebekah, thankyou for sharing your story and reminding me God is near and ready to guide me to a restful place with him.
Nancy and I are glad you are here!