Finding the Soul-Rest Jesus Offers

Finding the Soul-Rest Jesus Offers

July 17, 2017

“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.” Matthew 11:28-29 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

Rest can feel elusive. That which should make us feel rested often doesn’t. Consider waking up after a restless night and your first thought being how early you can go back to bed.

Propping your feet on the coffee table after a long day of work and turning on “Fixer Upper” could make you feel rested. But it doesn’t. Because now you wish you had an urban, country, industrial-styled farmhouse. Dissatisfaction taps on your heart and the restlessness begins again.

Vacations really should be a time of rest. But after working overtime to get ready, then the rush of the vacation, and working overtime to make up for being gone, restful is not how most of us would define vacations.

I’ve struggled with the biblical definition of rest for years. I was never sure what God really meant when He asked us to rest from work on the Sabbath. I love to work; did that really apply to me?

Yes, it does. But God always wanted more for us than to stop working. If the only definition of rest we know is the absence of work, then we have missed the fullness of God’s gift. God wanted physical rest to lead to spiritual rest.

In our key verse, Jesus invites us to a deeper rest … a soul-rest:

“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” (Matthew 11:28-29).

I love that Jesus identified our common condition of weariness without specifying how we got that way. This way, the promise of rest applies to all of us.

But Jesus wasn’t talking about physical rest; He was inviting us to a rest that is all-consuming. A rest we feel in our minds, bodies and spirits — this is soul-rest. And the only place we will find this rest is Jesus.

Soul-rest is deeper than any other kind of rest I’ve experienced. It’s not circumstantial, nor does it need to be renewed. Soul-rest, rather, has its roots in something unshakable. It is rooted in faith and confidence that we’re deeply and unconditionally loved, held safe in the arms of our heavenly Father.

Soul-rest comes when we trust God fully, which is quite different from merely saying we trust God. Words will not give us the rest our souls long for. Trust will.

When we declare Jesus to be the Lord of our lives, meaning He’s not just someone we read about in the Bible, something changes in us. And when we think and live like He is worthy of our complete faith and trust, then we start to experience the soul-rest He offers.

My journey to trust Jesus has taken my entire life. I’ve always loved Him … believed He was who He said He was. But trust?

I don’t give my trust easily. People have betrayed me. I’ve betrayed myself. So, my trust always has a “yes, but …” attached to it when I give it to a person.

But God is utterly trustworthy. Each time I deliberately choose to trust God, fear loosens its grip on me. Anxiety recedes. Stress melts away. Worry doesn’t consume me. I am a different person than I was 10 years ago because of this soul-rest that comes from trusting Jesus.

Today, Jesus invites all of us who feel worried and burdened, from whatever has made us feel overwhelmed, exhausted and guilty, to come to Him.

And oh, how my soul stirs at this invitation from Jesus. This is the rest my soul longs for; it’s what I was made for. To know with certainty I am loved, cared for and protected. Not just on earth but for eternity.

Knowing this gives my soul an anchor, and quiets the striving, relentless part of me that seeks security and significance.

This is the message that will give each of us the abundant life Jesus offered. Not abundant with work, but overflowing with love and filled with the true soul-rest we long for.

Lord, thank You for providing a rest for my soul that’s not attached to a person or experience. You created me for this rest, and I accept it now. Help me fully trust You with my heart. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Psalm 23:1-3a, “The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; he leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.” (NRSV)

In her new book, Doing Busy Better: Enjoying God’s Gifts of Work and Rest, Glynnis Whitwer shows you how to prioritize your goals and time, how to be present in the moment and how to find the freedom of true soul-rest.

Join Glynnis on her blog today for three more areas of your life you can entrust to God and experience true soul-rest.

What is making you weary and burdened today? Have you trusted yourself or a person more than God in this area?

Spend some time in prayer presenting this burden to the Lord, asking Him to help you trust Him more.

© 2017 by Glynnis Whitwer. All rights reserved.

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  1. Thank you…!

  2. Juanita Sheko says:

    Amen, thank you soooo much!!!!

  3. Juanita Sheko says:

    Thank you JESUS!!!!!!

  4. Debra L. Finley says:

    Thank u

  5. Wow…just wow! My prayer this morning was “God, I need your rest. I need more sleep, but You will give me true rest, right?” Then I open this devotion. Thank you for this great word, it is a confirmation to my heart. The trials I’m walking through right now are many but I know God is in control and He had a plan through it all. I want to learn to fully trust Him! God is on my side, I AM loved, cared for and protected!

  6. Ukinebo says:

    ‘I trust God’ is so easy to say…but very difficult to do. When I think of my poor finances, the first thing I think about is the amount in my bank account or the next pay check I am expecting (whenever that will be)…rarely do I think God as the ‘source’ of my finances. Or when a loved one is sick….we pray for healing….do I really believe and trust God is going to do the healing…or my trust is on the doctor? When God is the first name that pops into my spirit and head in any and every situation….only then can I enjoy the rest He so invites us to have in Matt 11:28-29. Thank you Glynnis.

  7. Thank you sister for this thought. It really helps me a lot 🙂

    I invited Christ into my life 10 years back.

    I have gone through many ups and downs.

    Inspite of the situation, I could experience soul rest only in HIM!!

  8. As always I come to the Proverbs 31 ministry and find exactly what I need. Last week was pretty rough. Found out that my husband a minister and my right arm for 33 years was told he might have cancer. I need peace and to trust God with the results tomorrow. So many times we have been on the other side encouraging others to trust God now it’s my turn. I need his rest Thank you again for your timely words .Just when I needed them.

  9. I needed this reminder today. Thank you for explaining spiritual rest and it’s relationship to fully trusting God to us.

  10. Dyanne Mccall says:

    I used to get your daily devotions via email and I am not getting them anymore. I can’t seem to find where to subscribe again on your website.

    Can you help me with this? Thanks!

    Dyanne McCall

  11. Judy Riegert says:

    A friend shared this on fb. I read it and it so hit home. Thank you so much I so needed this!

  12. This devotion touched my heart! It was exactly what I needed to hear. I would love to have a copy of your new book!

  13. Mary Djordjevich says:

    I always have struggles with worry and trust. The Lord has spoken to me through this ministry many times. I constantly meditate on scriptures relating to trust. I remind myself the Lord has brought me this far and he will lead me home. Life holds challenges and strife that continues through out our earthly days. I pray Place myself always in his hands.

  14. Thank you for sharing God’s words with us. To me, this message was heaven sent, written to help me loosen the grip of fear. I was moved by your words that trust can give my soul an anchor, quieting my relentless striving self. Thank you

  15. Thank-you for this word. God bless.

  16. I am a different person than I was 10 years ago because of this soul-rest that comes from trusting Jesus!

  17. Trust…it’s always been hard for me. God’s word never once says ” figure it out” but over and over it says ” trust him”. I need to learn to leave it all in the hands that were wounded for me. I need peace,the inner calm of one who walks daily with Him.

    • I love this – God never says “Figure it out” – wow. I tell myself to figure it out almost all the time! It’s a hard, long, scary step from figuring it out (aka CONTROL) to trust. I find I need to take that step every day, if not many times a day.

  18. Hannah J. says:

    This is exactly what the Lord has been whispering to me in my quiet times with Him! Well said! I am living testimony that soul-rest indeed comes from truly trusting Him. How can you trust someone you do not really know? So I’ve been pressing in to know my God, my Savior and the result is being completely in awe of His power and love. And truly finding soul-rest (love this phrase!) because all my fears are washed away in His perfect love. Thank you for this! Amen and Amen! Our busy, weary hearts all need this!

  19. Thank you! Perfect message for my morning. My college freshman is moving out today. I’m excited for her, but there’s an anxiousness/worry that I’m struggling with also. I needed to be reminded of how to get true rest.

    • Oh my gosh!!!!! I have been there and it is a scary place! I grew so much in the Lord during this time just a couple of years ago because I HAD to learn to trust! I’d like to say it was easy, but God brought people into both of our lives during that time to encourage and direct us! Many prayers!

  20. Anytime that I catch myself feeling weary and burdened, it almost always boils down to trust. Do I really trust that God will do what He says? Do I really trust that He knows best? Do I really trust Him enough to let Him take the thing (whatever it is) and just take care of it because I just can’t? This is where studying His word comes in to play. Knowing His character. Leaning into Him when times are tough so that in hindsight we see His faithfulness and so our trust continues to be fostered. He’s so patient and gentle in this area of trust but the longer I follow Him, the more responsibility I have to stop questioning…which can make me weary and burdened…and trust more quickly. Thank you for this reminder today.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I desperately needed to see this. As a mom to a ten and a half month baby girl I am exhausted. I am fortunate enough to have a job I do from home. In spite of this I still need childcare as I am unable to care for my daughter and juggle my work priorities. When I try to juggle it all I land face first in a pile of insanity! My husband and I continue to pray for doors to be opened to allow me opportunity to cut down to part time hours. Every time we have come close, the door has been shut. I am so incredibly weary from trying to keep everything moving. We are also in the “sandwich generation” with ailing aging parents who have medical needs. I know I am not the first 38 year old mom to try juggling it all. I keep being told all the cliche phrases about God not giving us more than we can handle and this is just a season but in the midst, none of these comments are helpful. I so often struggle with feeling as though the Lord has forgotten me. Our daughter is a blessing and a miracle as we struggled years to have her. I continue to pray that this “thorn” of inability to procure part time work is removed soon so I can be the wife, daughter, mother and yes even employee that God has me to be. I want to be able to function beyond just being in “auto-pilot” and survival mode.

    Praying for this type of soul rest to be found in my life soon!

    • Jennifer- I can tell you are overwhelmed, but yet trying to keep all the plates spinning. That is indeed stressful. I will take a moment and pray right now that God will provide a way for you to cut back your work to part time efforts. Keep the faith, keep trusting…I know it is SO busy with a baby and all that comes with it; and just remind yourself of the miracle of her every time you look in her sweet face! (I’m pretty sure you do that already.)

  22. Perfect timing! I was in desperate need of this reminder!

  23. Sometimes it’s hard to find that soul-rest when it seems that God is silent on the things that trouble me most….those things that I pray for over and over again, with no change. I continue to tell Him that I trust Him daily, but I may need to go deeper to trust Him more fully.

  24. Beautiful, Glynnis! Thx!!!
    Perfect rest IS in Jesus alone. Yes, it does take years to recognize this truth!!! 🙂 Patience for us all!

  25. Jayne Smith says:

    My,my,my…isn’t it always what God just plops in front of the seeking. Your blog today is an echo of my heart and relationship with Christ. TRUST each time little ole me tries to control my corner of the world it comes down to a matter of trust. When God says I AM then I must trust that HE IS!
    Thank you for a wonderful start to my day and week with uplifting words and a challenge!

  26. Glynnis, I feel such a quiet connection with you about the Sabbath you speak of. I am a Sabbath keeper, though we may worship on differant days, I still feel that connection. I am hoping I can get your book on audio. Thank you for this beautiful devotional that is so clearly of your heart. Be Blessed today.

    Glynnis I feel such a quiet connection with you about the Sabbath rest you speak of. I am a Sabbath keeper, though we may worship on differant days, I still feel that connection. I indeed understand the absolute need for a Sabbath rest, I still struggle with my mind to take that Sabbath rest. To take that one day and devote it to the Lords’ rest that He made for me is essential and a gift. I am hoping I can get your book on audio. Be Blessed today.

  27. Melissa Taylor says:

    EXCELLENT!!!! I SO needed to hear this!!!! I am so weary and burdened with worries, that I know I need to turn over to Christ!! I try only to take them back again:). Well, right now I am confessing my sins and asking Jesus to take my worries:). I know I will revert back, so I am printing this one to keep by my side:).
    Thank you so much Proverbs 31 for the support emotional and spiritual that you give us.

  28. Shantell says:

    I’ve prayed for years and years to be free from dysfunction. In this one area of my life there is a braided fortified barrier of disbelief that keeps me from you.
    You’ve brought me face to face with it once again this time you’ve shown me that there is darkness in me that must be faced and broken down for healing.
    This is a huge step for me, you’ve always said that you would never leave nor forsake me. Please break this strong hold within me then continue to keep my eyes open so I never fall prey to it or any other form of darkness ever again.
    Let my mind believe, trust and honor you in all areas of my life. Please irraticate all evil strongholds then show me how to build heavenly strongholds.
    In Jesus name I pray.

  29. Such a good study today I am not the same person I was nineteen years ago but I am going through the same situation, O how I have grown in my faith in Christ I am stronger and able as I trust my Lord 100%. What a wonderful God we have. Amen

  30. Jennifer ONEIL says:

    Glynnis – The LORD couldn’t have made this more timely. I have been struggling mightily with this “soul-rest” and TRUSTING the LORD to meet all of my needs according to his riches in Glory.
    I separated from a 26 year marriage March 10, 2017, and have ONLY wanted, prayed, strived for reconcilliation–I was @ my former home yesterday hashing out items my husband wants resolved. I KNOW I say “the battle is the LORDS” but it is difficult to REST/TRUST in that. All my arguing/striving has amounted to heartache. This message really spoke to me as the LORD saying: “JENNIFER, rest, truly give this ALL to me and I will take care of the outcome–trust in the outcome I the LORD will direct.” Living with “open hands” to the LORD. Hands that are open trusting him to TAKE and GIVE.
    I would ask for Prayer for myself and my husband Patrick, his salvation, and our five children. Pray that I would continue to say “Not my will, LORD but thine be done” and be at REST with that prayer!

    • Jennifer you are on my heart so I wanted to let you know that I will be prayin for you and your family. I love that in the midst of this fire, you still want salvation for your husband. I don’t know if you have seen the movie “Fireproof” but I hihly recomend it. If you have seen it, consider watchin it again. Maybe your husband would watch it with you. I will keep your situation in my prayers. God Bless.

      • Jennifer says:

        Wow Cyndi!

        Thank you so much for reaching out to me. Fireproof is a great movie and 2 girlfriends and I were actually going through the Bible Study leading up to my making the decision to leave–hoping that would be a “wake-up” call to my husband.

        I, from the bottom of my heart, thank you for the prayers! This whole situation is totally in GOD’s hands and I want to be lead to make wise decisions. I know nothing could really change between Pat and I until he is “a new creature in Christ”. I pray Eziekiel 36:26 over him and have been for quite some time.

        A new heart also will I give you and a new spirit will I put within you and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh and I will give you a new heart of flesh.


        • Jennifer first let me apologize for the crazy missing letter G thing. I am legally blind and I use the JAWS program to read the computer screen to me and it has this weird defect with the letter G sometimes. Something with the Xbox feature that I didn’t even want, lol. Anyway, I wanted to tell you that you are witnessing during this trial to other women in that; first you are praying for Pat no matter what the issues might be, second that this is the refiners fire and you are allowing God to use this for His honor and glory, third you are being an example to your family with your trust in the Lord for how He will work this out. However He decides to do that, just remember you are only responsible for how you respond and act to your husband, not the way he responds and acts towards you. Ask God for the strength that He has obviously been giving you already, each and every day. Not to sound stalkerish or anything but I would love to stay in contact with you so I can pray for your family more if you are ok with that? If not,I totally understand. I know I don’t need to stay in touch to pray but your story just touched me. I handle womens Ministry at my church so I have a passion for marriage and the needs of women. Let me know and we could exchange Emails or something. Blessings

  31. Jacque M. says:

    I’ve been reading Doing Busy Better as part of my daily devotions. I too am learning to not cram my schedule full and miss out on the soul rest that Ms. Glynnis refers to. My new goal will be to take these same concepts of rest and apply them once the school year starts back up and I add teaching my middle schoolers to my schedule.

  32. Wow! I have never reflected on rest this way!

    What a gift to move forward today knowing that my rest is a spiritual trust in my God rather than a physical feeling, and to be able to share that with others. What a joy!!

    Thank you!

  33. But God is utterly trustworthy. Each time I deliberately choose to trust God, fear loosens its grip on me. Anxiety recedes. Stress melts away. Worry doesn’t consume me.

    Tears in my eyes as I write this, God just showed me, through this passage that all I have to do is trust in Him.
    Thank you so much for these daily inspirational. My heart is full and I know my God has me.

  34. Mary Palm says:

    Thank you, Glynnis for today’s lesson, “Come to Jesus, all you who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you REST.” I learned so much from your teaching and now I will share an experience with you that I had about “REST”.
    One time in particular when I was so extremely burdened about a family situation, God let me feel His arms and Presence surround me in such a powerful way, I actually fell asleep! When I woke up, the burden was lifted and I was totally refreshed like I had never felt before. It was an “indescribable” thick Presence of God’s “PEACE n REST” upon me. Only our God can do that. God wants all of us to experience Him, especially in time of great need! Again thanks for your teaching; God bless you!

  35. Aloha, Can you recommend a ” proverbs31″ type Devo for men?
    This ministry has blessed me and my marriage for YEARS! God has used this ministry to encourage, reveal truth and offer peace to me for many up and down days. I often think of our men that could use a daily devo too. Any suggestions?

  36. Jen Hale says:

    This devotional was exactly what I needed today. I’ve been struggling for the past 16 months with various things that all boil down to trusting the Lord–trusting Him completely, no matter what. Somehow, I seem to have lost that trust and control and anxiety have consumed my life. I’m desperate to trust Him completely again, and this devotional spoke to my heart in such a powerful way. Thank you so much for using your gifts for the Lord. He definitely spoke through you today to at least one person!

  37. Natalie says:

    This is really on point for me. A couple of months ago, I decided that I will take Sundays off, that I will not do any type of work on Sunday. I haven’t been successful every Sunday but I’ve seen a difference in the way I even approach work even during the week. I try to leave work at 5 pm and not bring my laptop home on weekends. We need boundaries, so that work does not become a burden that we have to carry everyday of the week. I realized that even for matters that seem urgent at work, nothing really bad happens when you wait for Monday morning to handle them. Thank you!

  38. Carolyn says:

    Thank you sis, for expounding on the Word today…I thank the Lord for allowing me to have a spirit of soul rest just when it’s needed, being reassured that God is ever present even during times of soul rest…
    Once again thank you!…and may God bless you richly in your ministry!

  39. Thank you Jesus!!!

  40. I need soul rest, I’m so weary, stressed, overwhelmed, and needing rest and answers. my unsaved husband has recently become very emotionally abusive to me. I have been praying for his salvation and praying that I can hold on until he is saved and praying he will change with the help of the Holy Spirit. he has been Sick and unable to work, were falling behind on our credit card payments and other bills. I’m so stressed and today he told me good wife would find a way to support her family, and not fall behind on the bills and make his credibscore lower. I’m doing my best right now , I work two jobs and am taking care of my husband and a three year old. My car broke down. I am trying to have faith and really trust God, but somedays it’s so hard. Then I wonder if my husband will ever be saved and if I should stay with an emotionally abusive man. I’m running on empty Lord I need you.

  41. Janice Alston says:

    Thanks so much, for this message was much needed. Last night I didn’t feel good so I was crying and my youngest daughter and granddaughter came over my place. My older daughter called and ask where is my Faith? She prayed over me, I didn’t loose my Faith, just was feeling really down, so I prayered God please help me feel better, help me keep the Faith and Believe, wasn’t but a little later I told them to go home I am going to get some rest. I can remember them leaving and I locked the door, and went to bed, and ask God to let me feel better. Sure enough I fell asleep. Slept all night long. Got so much needed rest. God is so awesome!!!

  42. Laura Tingelstad says:

    Beautifully written for our current times. I love the term “soul-rest” and you speak of a vital part of our life with God. I always feel more energized after I spend time in the word or quietly sitting and listening (which took a lot of work in the beginning :)) to Him. I am so grateful you have used your gift of writing to share this wonderful message. And Matthew 11:28-29 is one of my FAVORITES. I re-read often to remind myself I am not alone, I need to find the quiet and I am not expected to be a wonder person, just a person of wonder. We are a blessed people.

  43. Jennifer Witham says:

    Im so anxious this evening because I stood up and commented my opposing beliefs today regarding faith after another co-worker said they strongly believed in reincarnation. My heart was broken for this person but deeper I knew God was stirring me as another person was there confused about faith. I only said I believed something very different. I’m anxious because we have a very strict “Diversity and Inclusion Policy” and it allows for zero tolerance meaning if you step out of line, no matter how small you are fired and the policy is much more friendly to anything other than Christian beliefs. Please pray for me this evening and in the months to come. Thanks so much.

  44. Gail Lestorti says:

    Thank you so much. I have so much going on in my life & i feel like God is calling me to be still and know that I am God. I have been praying about this and feel this was the answer. Thank you for the encouragement

  45. This message is so timely for me because I’ve just returned from a vacation in the Caribbean with my family. The visit with stunning landscapes, clear blue waters and white soft sand was indeed beautiful but now that we’re back I’m exhausted. Your message reminds me that rest, like joy, is not found in places nor experiences but rather in the presence of Christ himself. Forgive me, Abba, for not spending quality time with you while I was away. You alone can provide rest, peace, joy and contentment. Thank you for Your constant non- fickle provision!

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