Finding Rest For Your Soul

At the beginning of 2021, I listened to The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer and have thought back to it often since then. Comer offers some simple, actionable insights on the problems with our relentless 24/7/365 culture, and how to find rest for our souls in the midst of it.

No matter where you’re at in your career or life stage, I would be willing to wager that you’re feeling hurried. It’s almost impossible to avoid! This week it certainly feels like there’s too much to do and not enough time. I feel the hurry.

My husband has been job searching the last few weeks, and praise God he has a new job he’s excited to start next month. During that search, he was still trying to keep up with all the responsibilities of his current position, talk to recruiters, schedule interviews, update his resume, research companies, etc. and he definitely felt the hurry.

I see you nodding along and thinking, are we stuck with this hurry forever? Not necessarily. Jesus lays out this beautiful invitation in Matthew 11:28-30, “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.For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Are you feeling burdened? Are you weary? Jesus offers rest for our souls. Jesus set an example for us with his own slow pace and priorities that disrupted the status quo. But, Matthew explains, we must take His yoke upon us, which demands the question: how do we get that easy yoke?

“Here’s my paraphrase of the secret of the easy yoke”, Comer says. “If you want to experience the life of Jesus, you have to adopt the lifestyle of Jesus” (82).

Comer continues, “Jesus put on display an unhurried life, where space for God and love for people were the top priorities, and because he said yes to the Father and His kingdom, he constantly said no to countless other invitations. Then He turned around and said, ‘Follow me.’ This means the central question of our apprenticeship to Jesus is pretty straightforward: How would Jesus live if he were me?” (93)

“The solution to an overbusy life is not more time. It’s to slow down and simplify our lives around what really matters,” Comer asserts (62). At Crossroads, our very first step in You Are Created for Good Works is to look upward toward God. It’s hard to look upward without crashing when life is going along at 90 miles an hour. We must slow down to hear God clearly.

In The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, Comer offers four practices for unhurrying your life:

  • Silence and solitude – Over and over again in the Gospels, we see Jesus withdrawing to a quiet, solitary place. And the busier and more demanding his ministry became, the more often he sought a quiet place to pray. If Jesus needed this time alone, who are we to think that we are any different, stronger, better? We need solitude and silence to create “an environment for attention and connection to God” (135).
  • Sabbath – This Hebrew word literally means “to stop.” The concept goes back to Genesis 1, where God created for six days, and on the seventh He rested. “The Sabbath is how we fill our souls back up with life,” Comer says (157). Exodus 20:8-10 tells us that the Sabbath is a command from God, and its purpose is for rest and worshipping God. We are to remember it and keep it holy. It is also “time to enjoy what I already have, with God” (169) which helps us counteract the relentless messages of more, more, more that surround us.
  • Simplicity – Again working to counter the lie that more is better, Comer advocates for living with “a high degree of intentionality around what matters most, which for those of us who apprentice under Jesus, is Jesus Himself and His kingdom” (201). Examining everything from finances and buying habits to clothes and commitments, Comer suggests that simplicity is the path to contentment.
  • Slowing – “Cultivating patience by deliberately choosing to place ourselves in positions where we simply have to wait.” (221) Comer goes on to suggest 20 different ways to put yourself in the proverbial slow lane, from setting limits on technology to getting in the longest lane at the grocery store, single-tasking, cooking at home, and journaling. Rebelling against the frantic speed of modern life is good for your soul.

If these practices spark your interest and you want to learn more, I would point you toward two books—most importantly is the Bible where you can observe for yourself the life and rhythms of Jesus, and then there’s The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, where Comer expands on every one of these ideas that I’ve summarized above. There’s also an accompanying workbook for free on his blog with several helpful exercises. My prayer for you is that you kick the epidemic of hurry to the curb and find some much-needed rest for your souls this week.

All quotations from Comer, John Mark. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry. The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Laura Miller works for Crossroads Career as a writer and editor, and lives in the Kansas City area with her accountant husband. Laura hosts and produces The Library Laura Podcast, which is a weekly dose of book recommendations, library love, and literary enthusiasm. She also runs the Crossroads Career Podcast, with new episodes every two weeks to encourage you in your career journey. Previously, she worked in the insurance and retail industries.

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