The Elusive Quest



Nearly everyone I talk with these days mentions something about being tired, not sleeping well, or not getting enough rest. It doesn’t seem to be limited to those in college, those with newborns, those in the midst of menopause, or those in retirement years. I rarely open a magazine without some mention of an aspect of this issue or a proposed solution.


Last night was a good night because I think I slept fairly well. How do I know? My fitness tracker told me. It also told me that I was awake twice and how many hours and minutes were light sleep versus sound sleep. (Yes, I use one of those…for multiple reasons.)


If I start looking at options and solutions for times when I cannot sleep well or get rest, I see a lot of excellent recommendations. They are all largely good and work with varying degrees of success (if not consistently), but tracking and making a list of all the tips and ideas becomes stressful in and of itself. I can get so committed to the list that I take over instead of trusting God.


 It seems that each of us is on this elusive quest for rest.


One of the evidences is how much we look forward to the weekends or the next vacation. We try to hang on until then. I’ve been there too!


I can recall one vacation in particular when we were headed for one of our favorite places in Alberta, Canada. The first night we were there I slept for eleven hours because I was so exhausted. I think the second night was not nearly as long, but more than eight hours.


It can be far too easy to arrive at a weekend or vacation and need to sleep or rest in order to be able to enjoy the time away from the routine working demands of most weeks. We also discover that too often sleep doesn’t really refresh us when we get it.


I think I have too often missed it.


I have been looking for things outside of me to provide the deep rest that I need inside of me.


Whatever stage or season we are in, each of us has our list of things that “must” be done, those that “need to be done”, those that “ought to be done” and finally those we “hope to get around to”.


Sadly, we bring a great deal of that into our spiritual lives and church community as well.


We miss it! We can get so involved in “God projects” that we fail to notice God right in front of us or experience Him in ways that point us to true rest.


Somehow in all areas of our lives we have started to assume that busier is better, especially if we are busy for Him. We have gotten the idea that the busier we are for Him, the more devoted we are (or at least appear to be). We seem to equate loving Him with doing more and more for Him. It matters not how much we have done in the past, we feel like we need to do more and we often get that subtle or not so subtle message when we arrive at church as well.


Our elusive quest for rest takes us into the twin quest for balance in our life.


What changes over time in our lives?


Childhood seems to provide the best sleep and rest of any season of life even if it is resisted at certain points.


I can certainly think of a lot of things that are different about childhood versus adulthood that affects the quality and quantity of sleep and rest, but if I examine this closely I see that many times (perhaps much of the time) in adulthood I take over instead of trusting God.


I know that sounds bad. I am not suggesting I don’t trust Him in the broad scheme of things, but do I come into each day and crawl into bed each night trusting as a child does that I will be taken care of, leaving everything in His hands, turning off the thoughts running over in my mind?


I think we have a much harder time with that despite Jesus’ words that we are to come to Him as a child. That certainly involves faith, but trust is a major part of it.


It’s interesting that over and over again Christ invites us to rest, lay aside our weariness, and simply rest. He also says that we “find” rest.


Where are we looking?


I have been reading a book about rest that has challenged my thinking and perception about rest, where I find it, and how I live in it.


The author writes these words challenging me to adjust my perspective:


“Rest is not an inner state that can be produced by thinking a certain way or placing ourselves in the right conditions. It is obtained only by entering into a relationship. When we find Christ, we find rest.”        From The Radical Pursuit of Rest by John Koessler      




29 thoughts on “The Elusive Quest

  1. I think there are different types of exhaustion – physical, emotional, mental, spiritual. All wear me out, but some are worse than others. Example: Emotional exhaustion drains me in every way, even if I’m not physically overtired. That said, all types of exhaustion need to find rest in Jesus. He’s the only one who can replenish and renew us in every way. Enjoyed your post today. 🙂 Visiting from The Loft Link-up.

    1. You are so right, Laura! I have 2 more posts in this series that talks a bit more about this. Thanks so much for visiting! Have a blessed day!

  2. Rest does not come easy for me, with working full time, long hours this tax season, homeschooling, writing, blogging, designing. I find that when I sit down to watch a show or read a book, it doesn’t take me long to doze off, a key sign of exhaustion.

    1. I hear you loud and clear! That is quadruple duty at least. The closest I came to that was the season when I was teaching a junior high special education class full-time, going to graduate school at night part-time, and trying to not totally neglect my hubby and keep up with two teenagers and a ministry at our church. I think I was crazy!! I know I was exhausted!!! I have two more parts on the subject of rest that will be posted on Monday and Wednesday this coming week. Blessings on you, my friend!!

  3. Many nights I have to burn the midnight candle to study! But when I get the chance, I rest well..
    Thank you for this thoughtful post Pam.
    God Bless

    1. Oh, I hear you on that one! There was a season when I was teaching full-time, going to graduate school in the evening and trying to manage two teenagers and a husband. I have parts 2 and 3 coming on Monday and Wednesday. Hang in there, my friend!

  4. Pam, wonderful post. I am pretty good at guarding my rest. I go to bed at the same time consistently, and get up at the same time. Even Jesus rested, so we must be diligent about carving our rest time as well. Thank you for reminding us of the importance of rest at The Loft.

    1. Thanks, Leah! I have two more parts to this that goes a bit deeper that will posted on Monday and Wednesday if you are curious. Thanks so much for your encouragement!

  5. Last night I found myself reading at 3:30 am and then about an hour later counting ‘Mississippi’s’ in my head. It worked eventually and I did get more rest. But why don’t I call Jesus in when I can’t sleep? Maybe because I feel like I have not done enough for Him that particular day? So opposite of what He wants for us! You helped open my eyes to restless sleeps as of late. Thank you!

    1. I can have restless nights as well, but I am learning from this recent read about how to approach the ticking clock at night. My next two posts on Monday and Wednesday will be a continuation of this one. Blessings on your weekend.

  6. Yes the “badge of busyness” is something that people love to wear proudly Pam! As a serial planner, I am learning the necessity to find balance in my life. When things get a little unbalanced; I stop and take a deep breath. Another thing that has really helped me immensely over the pat few weeks is the memorization of the fruits of the spirit and the verses that follow. Resting in Christ is not always easy but necessary to glorify Him in all that we do. So nice to visit your beautiful site via G&T today. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and may God bless you and yours!

    1. Thanks so much for visiting. I think this is an area where we are all always “in process” and needing to learn. This is actually the first of three parts. The others will post Monday and Wednesday. I’d love to have you come back and check them out😊.

  7. You hit the nail on the head with this. “Elusive quest for rest” is a perfect summation. And so true that we ignore the one place where we are guaranteed to find perfect rest and peace. Thank you for pointing us in the right direction.

    1. Thanks, Mary! Delighted to have you visit. Koestler’s book really got me reflecting on all this. I am following up with posts related to this on Monday and Wednesday this coming week. Would love to have you pop back!

  8. Hi, Pam! What a great timely post! The Lord has been teaching me much about ‘rest’ in Him. I’ll be checking out your referenced book, as well! I hope you have a blessed, restful weekend in our Savior, knowing it is about ‘being’ in His presence and not striving to “do for Him”. Grace & Peace, friend! Patti Selvey

    1. Thanks, Patti! May the Lord bless your weekend as well. (P.S. I have a follow-up post on Monday and Wednesday next week if you want to check those out as well.)

  9. I agree. We have a struggle for rest in our families, in our country. During high school my children developed habits/patterns that that were short on sleep. So we are learning better ways now. We need to pay attention to the rhythm of day and night. I appreciate the quote: “true rest comes from a relationship with Christ”. Jesus offers us rest.

    1. Thanks, Carol. You’re right!! I have two more posts related to this material on Monday and Wednesday if you want to check those out as they go deeper into the subject and material. Blessings on your week.

  10. I really appreciated that book as well, and am coming to realize that we wear our “busy” like a badge of honor. Thank you for urging us to lean into the rest that is a gift from God, part of the New Covenant, and the only way to stop the ceaseless striving!

    1. You definitely got me intrigued by this book and it keeps stirring in me enough that I have two more posts related to my reflections from it. It’s the book that keeps on giving I think! Have a great and blessed weekend, my friend!

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