• Catherine Gates

Finding Rest in the Chaos of Work

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” ―Matthew 11:29-30

The demands of work can be relentless. Crazy deadlines, unforeseen complications, unexpected resignations, even good news like winning a new contract, all contribute to added work that can pull us in more directions than we can handle. Rest seems elusive at best and impossible at worst, particularly when it is hard to shut it all off even after the computer has been put to sleep and the lights are out.

Believers in Christ have access to rest in the chaos as a result of the amazing gift of grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Sadly, too many of us are not using this gift. Like the rest of the world, we are impacted by overwhelm, stress, worry and burnout because we strive and work as if it all depends on us. I know I have. I decided early in life that I was going to have to work harder than everyone else if I was going to survive. The idea of being able to enjoy my work seemed like a pipe dream. Can you relate?

As long as I believe it all depends on me, I am going to leave God out of the equation and sacrifice the peace, strength, wisdom and much-needed rest that is available to me. At the same time, I significantly limit my opportunities to share my faith with others when I’m as stressed-out as the next person.

Jesus told us we can find rest in him. The rest he offers is not limited to Sunday or whenever you take a Sabbath. His rest is accessible even as our fingers are flying across the keyboard to answer yet another email.

God has shown me over and over again that even when I think I’ve got this, I desperately need Him and the rest He alone can provide.

Recently, my husband needed a hip replacement. That meant added caregiving and housework for me. At the same time, I suddenly had travel scheduled in April, May and June after not traveling at all since March 2020. I went out of town for a conference for three days in May only to turn around two days later to drive my husband to the hospital which was three hours away. Two weeks after my husband’s surgery, we did the three-hour drive down and back for his post-op appointment. That same week, I flew to New York for four-days for a family event.

Through it all, I still had work that needed to get done and deadlines to meet. And I saw God at work to provide support, resources, energy, and even insights that I could not have generated in my own ability. He was working when I couldn’t give 100 percent! I was able to find rest in the Lord in the midst of work, travel and family demands.

Tapping into God’s rest in the chaos and demands at work is as simple as shifting your perspective to focus on the Lord.

  • Abide: Replace “it all depends on me” and with “as I abide in Christ and his Word abides in me, my life will bear much fruit. Apart from Christ I can do nothing.” (John 15:5)

  • Pray: Replace worry with praying specific requests, trusting God will provide. (Philippians 4:6-7)

  • Ask: Replace being the problem solver with asking God, “what do you want me to do in this situation?” Then wait on His answer. (James 1:5-8)

  • Praise: Replace pleasing people by doing what you think others expect with pleasing God by delighting in Him. (Psalm 37:4)

We don’t have to work under our own strength and be completely drained at the end of the day. God wants us to partner with Him so He can direct us and do the heavy lifting. You and I need to choose to rest in Him so we can experience the abundant life Jesus died and rose again to make available to us (John 10:10). Invite the Lord to join you in your work so you can unleash His plans and experience His rest.

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