The constant grind of school, practice, lifting, meetings, late night homework and sleep—on repeat—gets exhausting.
Especially in the middle of the season, when the rigor of routine has us on autopilot and we’re simply going through the motions.
Sometimes, when we wake up in the morning, it doesn’t even seem like we got much sleep. We’re worn down before the day even begins! This isn’t the life God intends for us. He desires deep, lasting soul rest for His children. But what does this rest look like? What if we can’t keep up with what’s expected by our coaches, and even our own standards? It’s almost become a badge of honor to be busy, but in reality, busy just brings burnout. How do we find true rest from the chaos of our days and pace of our culture?
We need to look to the true Source of rest.
Is Jesus OK with us resting? Absolutely. Jesus invites us to rest, and He desires us to come to Him, depleted as we may be, and receive the grace and rest He offers. He says come to Him, all who are weary, and He will give us rest. (Matthew 11:28)
What does this look like? Let’s look at what Jesus did. He stayed in step with the Father as He lived out His mission on earth. Yes, Jesus accomplished a lot, but He did it out of the overflow of genuine connection and obedience to God.
He set aside time to be with God.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he got up, went out, and made his way to a deserted place; and there he was praying.” -Mark 1:35
Jesus slipped away from the crowds and demands of His day, taking time early in the morning or late at night to still His heart to hear and respond to His Father. He behaved like this was His lifeline, to connect with God, hear His voice and discern direction. We, too, need to pause before God, talk to Him, listen and read His Word. We are transformed when we take in Scripture.
What can we do to spend time with God?
Get up early, or carve out time at lunch or before bed, to pray and read the Bible.
Take a Sabbath, a day of being, not doing.
Invite the Holy Spirit to open your heart to what God might want to say.
He modeled physical rest.
“On that day, when evening had come, he told them, ‘Let’s cross over to the other side of the sea.’ So they left the crowd and took him along since he was in the boat. And other boats were with him. A great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking over the boat, so that the boat was already being swamped. He was in the stern, sleeping on the cushion. So they woke him up and said to him, “Teacher! Don’t you care that we’re going to die?” -Mark 4:35-38
Jesus fell asleep in a boat as a storm pressed in. His body was tired, and He knew it was good to physically restore. Even when others frantically wanted His help, Jesus was willing to take a nap. He knew when His body needed rest, and He was unapologetic about taking it. Jesus needed rest and replenishment for His physical body. He took the time to recharge, even in the middle of a raging storm. Especially in the middle of the storm.
What can we do to rest?
Take a quick nap or lay down for 15-30 minutes.
Take a little walk outside or sit in nature; being in God’s natural world allows us to experience the fresh air that can calm us and even allow better sleep at night.
Take a break from your phone; screen time can stimulate us, but we need to power down.
Rest in the presence of others.
“The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’ For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.” -Mark 6:30-31
Jesus saw human limitations when multitudes flocked for healing and to hear Him. The disciples became depleted during those times, so Jesus would pull away from the crowds, hop in a boat with His friends, and find a quieter place to be with those who were close to Him.
How can being with others benefit our rest?
Authentic fellowship encourages and strengthens.
It creates space to verbally process any worries, thoughts or insights that have packed in your mind.
You see and hear godly perspectives you may not have come up with on your own.
Jesus gives us His peace that’s more replenishing than any effort we can try and obtain on our own. In fact, we don’t even need to do anything; we just come to Him and receive. From this place of peace, we can face whatever comes at us throughout the day because we know what God has placed in us.
“’Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Don’t let your heart be troubled or fearful.’” -John 14:27
He freely gives us the gift of peace, where we find true rest from the pace of the athletic world. From our place of fullness, we have a deeper patience for the teammate who may test our resolve, and we can make our way through the mundane routine of our mid-season practices.
In stillness is our strength, and Jesus’ example is our true rest.
Read the rest of the article to learn how to find true rest.