3 Signs You Need Spiritual Rest
Rest for your soul is one of the most important spiritual disciplines to help you connect deeper with God, reduce stress and anxiety, and live a more joyful and abundant life. We often understand the need for physical rest, and we make attempts each day to rest our bodies. We know we need mental rest and take time to rest our minds, but did you know your spirit needs rest too? So today, I want to share with you 3 signs you may need to rest your soul and how to do just that. Enjoy!
In today's video, you’ll learn:
- 🛌 Why spiritual rest is so important to believers
- 🥱 3 signs you are in desperate need of spiritual rest
- 🙏🏾 How to practically get the spiritual rest your soul craves even when life is busy
But first, let’s talk about what spiritual rest actually is because the thought of spiritual rest was once very confusing to me. We’re called to pray without ceasing and to seek the Lord always. Spiritual rest just sounded like an excuse to disconnect from God. However, I’ve learned that spiritual rest is actually the opposite.
WHAT IS SPIRITUAL REST?
Spiritual rest is taking a break from the work of trying to connect with God in our own efforts. It doesn’t mean that we stop connecting with God. It just means we give space to enjoy God, His presence, and His love without doing anything for it. It’s basking in His presence and letting that be enough. It’s dwelling on what God has done for you that you could not have done yourself. It’s abiding in His goodness, knowing we didn’t do anything to deserve it, yet it’s ours.
WHY SPIRITUAL REST IS IMPORTANT
In Matthew 11, Jesus says something that reveals one of our deepest spiritual needs. He says that He provides rest for our souls. (Matthew 11:28-30) Now, why is this important? It’s important because it is with our spirit that we connect to and experience God. When our spirits are worn out and tired, it makes connecting to God that much more difficult. There is no escaping the need for spiritual rest.
So today, I want to share with you 3 signs you may need to rest your soul and how to do just that.
#1 Spiritually Dry
So let me ask you, have you ever felt like you were in a spiritually dry season, and you slowly sense yourself losing interest in spending time with God when this usually excites you. After a paritcularly difficult season, of health and other challenges I was so glad when my kids were off for summer break. I had more time to pace myself and just breathe because I was exhaused. But, each time I tried to study my Bible during this season, it became increasing more difficult. It was in that season the Lord showed me that I didn’t only need physical and mental rest, but spiritual rest as well and He lead me to do something that completely surpried me. He led me to stop studying by Bible. I know right. First I thought this is the enemy trying to trick me and I need to press through but my interest continued to decrease and I let the Lord lead to do more unstructured ways to connect with Him like prayer walks, listening to praise and worship and just being still in His presence without saying anything. It was just what I needed to fill my soul, and when it did, I got right back to Bible study with a refresred and renewd passion.
When you feel spiritually dry like this it may cause you to feel like something is wrong with you or that you’ve even done something wrong but in reality, this may be a sign you need spiritual rest. Instead of pushing through, you might just need a break to stop trying so hard and just be with God. When your prayer sounds more like overthinking and your time in God’s Word is not bringing transformation, it may be time to implement spiritual rest to regroup.
I’m not saying you need to stop praying and reading your Bible. Do not do that. I’m saying you may need a moment to focus on and remember the good God that you are praying to and hearing from when you read the Word. God’s Word should renew your mind and transform your heart, but it becomes even more difficult for that to happen when your soul is already tired.
In farming, time is given the soil to rest where nothing is planted for a period of time. This helps the soil replenish and ensures the next harvest can be even greater. In the same way, sometimes, the first step we need to take when it comes to growing spiritually is to pause, breathe, and rest our souls so the soil of our hearts can be better prepared to receive God’s truth and experience His love.
#2. Checklist Religion
In addition to a lack of interest in spending time with God, we can also go to the other extreme. We can be creatures of habit, and that’s great when those habits draw us closer to God; until they don’t. Do anything long enough, and you may find that you’re doing it just to do it because that's just what you always do. This leads to the second sign you may need to get some soul rest. It’s when your time with God is more about checking off an item on your to-do list than the joy of abiding in His presence.
It’s easy then to forget the “why” behind what you’re doing, even if it’s prayer, devotional time, Bible study, or going to church. It’s then we may need to step back to remind ourselves of the purpose of what we’re doing to spark that sincere passion again. Trust me; when life is busy, it’s easy to forget.
When we lose focus, however, it’s easy to think God just wants our works and places a pressure and burden on us that we were never meant to carry. Remember, Jesus wants to give our souls rest. In Matthew 11:28-29 he says:
“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)
Connecting with God is not meant to be a burden but a blessing. His purpose is to give you rest by making your load lighter because Jesus is carrying it for you. If you think you need to carry it all on your own, no wonder you’re tired. Give it to Jesus so your soul can truly rest
The purpose of spiritual rest is to point our souls back to God. It’s an important discipline like any other spiritual discipline to recalibrate our souls to focus on God. When spending time with God becomes more about checking a box just to get it done, or you feel like you’re just going with the motions, it’s time to step back and remind your soul of why you look to God in the first place: not just because you feel like you should, but because He is good and worthy.
#3. Difficulty Hearing God
God’s goodness was a reminder the prophet Elijah would desperately need when he found himself spiritually depleted after confronting the prophets of the false God Baal in 1 Kings 19. It was then God led Elijah to Mount Horeb and spoke to him in what the Bible calls a “still small voice” or “gentle whisper.” Often, it takes getting still to rest our souls so we can really hear from God. So when we are having difficulty hearing from Him, that may be a good sign we need spiritual rest.
You may have once clearly heard from God and could easily sense the moving of the Holy Spirit, but this becomes increasingly more difficult when your soul is burdened.
So if you’re having difficulty hearing from God, you may be in a season where you need to slow down so your soul can have the chance to tune in more clearly to discern how God is speaking to you and moving in your life.
HOW TO PRACTICE SPIRITUAL REST
Now, raise your hand if you’ve ever experienced any of these signs that you need spiritual rest.
So, I’m sure you’re wondering, how can I practically practice the discipline of spiritual rest?
- First, start with removing distractions that take your attention, but don’t fill your soul. Anxious eating, scrolling on the internet, and retail therapy on Amazon is not the answer. Spiritual rest reqires a spiritul solution that only comes from God. Remember, this is not an excuse to disconnect from God, but to evaluate how we’re connect to Him in the first place.
- Second, get comfortable in what I call quiet prayers where you sit before God and don’t say anything. Just listen. If this is difficult, set a timer for a few minutes and increase the time as you become more comfortable with this practice.
Then, try something new when it comes to how you connect with God. After that summer that God led me to practice spiritual rest, I do it almost every summer now. I take a break from longer Bible reading and studying to take prayer walks or journal my prayers to God. I’m still connecting with God; it’s just in a different way that gives my soul a chance to rest in Him.
None of us are perfect, and even our souls get tired sometimes. Remember, feeling spiritually exhausted is nothing to feel shameful about. Instead, pause, remember how good God has been, give Him your burdens, and let Jesus be enough.
In fact, did you know God expects us to get tired? I talk more about it in this video, where I share 5 promises of God to hold on to when your soul is weary.
And for more encouragement, download my free Bible Study called “Worry-Free” to learn the 3 lies feeding your worry and the truth to set you free at belovedwomen.org. Thanks for watching and until next time, be beautiful, be blessed, and beloved.