Rest for Our Souls
Learning to live within our limits.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.” – Hebrews 4:9-11
Elisabeth Hasselbeck is no stranger to demanding jobs in the media industry. From her initial start as a contestant on CBS’ Survivor to her decade of work in the hot seat of ABC’s morning television show, The View, she knows what it takes to give 100% to her work. But in 2013, when Hasselbeck was abruptly fired from ABC, she found herself in an unfamiliar position — eager to find a worthy landing spot.
A professing Christian, Hasselbeck describes in her memoir Point of View, how she quickly pushed to secure a job with Fox News’ morning show, FOX & Friends, but quietly wondered to herself… “Did God provide me with this opportunity…or did I just go and get it and ask him to bless it?”
In the months that followed, Hasselbeck would find herself struggling to rest — getting as little as three hours of sleep at night and burning herself out to the point of discontent and extreme exhaustion. “I was chasing being capable and not resting fully in being called,” she describes.
Working in the world of politics can have a similar impact if one is not careful. The daily demands and expectations can push individuals to strive far beyond what they are capable of in order to “survive.” The results can be devastating, from health issues to adopted vices to relational strife.
God’s word teaches us that the Sabbath was made for man (Mark 2:27). As Christians, we need times of rest to worship God and find peace in his sustaining power in our lives. In Matthew 11 Christ says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
It’s not God’s will that we merely grin and bear the daily grind of our vocational experiences to the point of extreme exhaustion and mental chaos. Instead, we must learn to lean into our relationship with him, carve out boundaries in our workloads, and at times, learn to say no regardless of the career consequences.
Sometimes that might mean saying no to a really great job opportunity that will bring about immeasurable stress and demands. Other times, it might be taking the simple step of silencing phone alerts during Sunday morning services. Or God might be calling you to take a lunch break away from your desk to spend time studying his word.
Each day, we have the choice to either earn our worth through our work or to put our rest in God’s will to provide for us — regardless of what those around us might think. If our positioning and work places are within God’s will for us, putting him first will only help to further his mission in our lives and in the lives of those we work alongside.
In the book of Matthew we read, “Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barnes, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” If God cares for the birds and the flowers in the field, how much more does he care for us, those who have been made in his image?
Today, and every day, we can rest in the knowledge that our security isn’t in the work we do, and how others perceive us, but rather in Christ and the work of his death and resurrection on the cross. Take a moment to pray about where God is calling you to make more time for him in your life.
Dominique McKay is a Women's Ministry Associate in Washington, D.C.