However much a workaholic you are, I can pretty much guarantee at some point you will sleep. At some point your body will need to sit down. It is built into our physicality that we need to rest and we will be resolute about making that happen in some form. Rest is written into the diary of our year, into the needs of our body, but somehow it doesn’t always solve our need for soul rest. We are weary of life, we get burned out, tired is the malaise of our lives. We are wearing our busyness like a merit badge. As if the busier we are, the more important we are or the more value and purpose we must have. In our being busy we compete for worthiness.
The practice of rest can become a sort of religion, we DO it. It’s scheduled into our weekends, our time off work. But true soul rest can not be DONE. Even in our stops, our vacations, we fit in more doing. In our recreation time, we find more things to learn to do. In our holidays we seek out more places to visit and learn about. In and of themselves these practices are not bad, and can even be rest for our bodies and minds, but real rest for our souls is not found in making, doing, going.
Real soul rest is in the knowing, in our being that we can do nothing, no good works, no spiritual practice, no extra reading of the Bible, no longer or more eloquent prayers, no more sinning less to save our soul. We can not be more good, be more giving, be more important in other’s opinions of us, be more successful, take more time off work. God gives rest for our souls when we realize we can rest in his everlasting arms, he requires no impressing, he loves you. We are enough because he made us, and for that reason only. He loves you truly unconditionally.
Have you known someone who radiates, oozes this calm presence of God’s spirit? An unforced aura of well-being, a lack of need to impress. A lack of need to be important in other people’s eyes? Someone who seems to see into and care about you and your inmost being, no matter who you are? They have no presence of hurry or hustle, they seem rested, and lacking in fear. When we are people who walk in this rest, who walk in this realisation of grace, we leak his spirit. We have a confidence and a presence that is spiritual. And it is deeply attractive to weary souls.
In the creation story we read God rested, we know we need to rest and we know that when we rest in his presence it is restorative for our soul. Our soul needs this rest. It needs rest from the pressure of life. Rest from the feeling of needing to be something, to achieve something.
If we make rest more than just a regular practice in our life for our body, when we make it a practice to think on good things, and to surrender our striving to God, it becomes restorative for our soul. It becomes soulful rest.
In your rest, make space for the things that inspire you, make you inhale slowly and deeply, and be mindful of all that is true and good, and your soul will exhale true and good things. When we leave our burdens at the foot of the cross, we know the true weight of dwelling in rest.
Real rest for our souls comes from God’s presence dwelling in us. Being aware of his presence and knowing who we are and who he made us to be. Knowing that our striving for significance is futile because we already have all the significance we need from who God says we are.
Rest for the soul is the blessing of the kingdom in the present. Rest for the soul is being un-hurried by the need to produce, rest for the soul is in the knowledge that our identity and purpose are created by and sustained by God. Soul-rest that is a surrender to and dependence upon God.
The amazing thing about kingdom rest is that we can live from a place of rest at all times. While we need to practice rest for our bodies and minds, we can live from this place of soul rest, we can draw all the rest our soul needs from God’s presence at all times.
Bible verses on Rest
The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
Psalm 23: 1-3
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 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.
My people will live in peaceful dwelling places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
Psalm 91 v1
Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him.
Exodus 33:14, Exodus 34:21, Psalm 62:5, Psalm 16:9-10, Psalm 116:7
Materials and Equipment
plain white cushion cover
iron or tumble dryer
palette or plate
- Place a plastic carrier inside your cushion cover to prevent paint colour bleeding onto the back of the cover.
- Mix your fabric medium with water. Have another water pot for washing your brushes.
- Mix a few shades of lavender colour. Wet your brush with the fabric medium mix and then use to wet your watercolour paints.
- Paint the lavender sprigs by painting green stems. You may wish to lightly mark in pencil first. Paint the petals using different tones of lilac and purple.
- Paint some green leaves on the bottom of the stems.
- If you wish to paint the words also on the cushion, copy the brush script. Write it in pencil first. You can thicken up the down stems of the letters, the words and letters don’t need to be painted in one stroke, even if they give the impression they were.
- When the cover is dry, heat set the paint in the dryer or with a hairdryer.
- Fill your cover with a pad and place in a chair where you can regularly sit and spend time with God. I pray that you will be able to rest in his presence.
This is a creative devotional project from “Re: create, restore your creative soul. A creative devotional guide.”
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