Spiritual Exhaustion and Rest

By Anna Morrow

In March my family visited my brother in Santa Monica, right outside of LA. As he drove us around, we marveled at the green leaves and beautiful houses. One day he pointed out a narrow set of stairs. I saw about twenty steps that led straight up to even more steps hidden by the trees and flowers. People were huffing and panting at the bottom. “The stairs never end,” he said. “That’s where people in Santa Monica run all day. They never stop.”

Unfortunately, I could relate so much to these people, although my brother’s description was probably an exaggeration. For the past few years in my faith, I felt like I’ve been running up and down these steps. I have been confused about why I still felt this way even after doing ministry, being part of a church, and reading my Bible everyday.

A verse that has helped me through the beginning years of my faith is Matthew 11:28. Jesus says, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.” The faith that I once thought would bring me rest became a lot of work, going nowhere, like running those steps. Furthermore, I felt like the Lord was withholding his rest from me. This January, though, I signed up for Living for the King. Overall, the Lord revealed a lot to me through the course. But most importantly, it helped me realize that I was not weary or burdened in the way Jesus meant it.

Maybe I was not weak at all, but instead really prideful and insecure, heavy-laden from a try-hard faith. Through Living for the King, God reminded me the true meaning of weary and burdened is not working hard to gain favor, but a broken and contrite spirit crying, “Abba, Father!” and allowing him to carry me up and down these steps. And the rest that he speaks of, is actually not down time, but the true peace of knowing that I am fully justified in Christ and adopted by Him with an inheritance imperishable and unfading. This was just the first four weeks of the course, but everything else just flowed from this Gospel truth. Jesus picked me up off those steps, started running and basically gave me a bottle of living water that never emptied. Thankfully, “the only fitness he requires is to feel our need for Him.”