The self-help books hardly fit on the shelf anymore. The collection of podcasts endless. Magazines are full of them. And coaches galore who want to help you. With what? The search for peace. A popular theme in these busy times. So who is the ultimate rest coach? The answer may surprise you: Jesus! What Jesus? What does Jesus have to say about rest? Well – quite a lot actually.
Jesus about rest
Jesus lives full of gas. He always has people around him. Often people with sky-high expectations. Always going against the grain. That must have been exhausting. Yet Jesus perseveres. What does Jesus say about rest? What is his “secret”?
Pressing the pause button
Anyone who thinks Jesus was always “on” is wrong. Jesus regularly hit the pause button. If you read the stories about Jesus in the Bible, you can actually discover good tips for de-stressing.
Tips for de-stressing
1. Take “alone” time
Jesus isolates himself from time to time. He makes sure he is alone. No people for a while. No expectations. Even before he begins his mission, he first secludes himself in the desert for 30 days. Focus on God. You read several times that Jesus seeks a solitary place to pray and rest.
# Jesus seeks a moment of silence early in the morning. Read here.
# The people don’t leave Jesus alone for a moment. They all want to hear his words and see miracles. He deliberately sails to a quiet place to unwind. Unfortunately, he is not always granted that rest. Read here.
# Just before he is captured, Jesus secludes himself from the group. He wants to pray. His friends he asks to guard him because he is in danger. However, they fall asleep. Read here
2. Gather good friends around you
Jesus provides a good group of friends around him. He always has people around him with whom he can talk, who help and protect him. And who cooperate in the same mission.
# Jesus asks people to go on a journey with him. Read here
3. Ask for help
Jesus is far from doing everything himself. When he needs help, he simply asks. Whether it’s to arrange food, a place to sleep or transportation. He outsources it to his friends.
Jesus asks his friends to arrange for a donkey.
Jesus asks his friends to make a festive meal and arrange a banquet hall where they can eat together.
4. Don’t make a pit of your heart
Jesus is very clear in what he thinks. He calls people to their own responsibility and speaks out when he is upset about something. In English there is the beautiful expression, “He speaks his mind.
Many parents want their children to meet Jesus too. His friends don’t like it and send the children away. But Jesus says very clearly what he wants. Leave those children with me.
“How hypocritical you are! Jesus sometimes says it right to their faces. Like here when they keep insisting that it’s important to keep the law.
Again, he calls the religious leaders hypocrites. They ask for a magic sign to make sure he is telling the truth. Jesus doesn’t buy it. https://www.bible.com/bible/1276/MAT.16.1-4.BB
5. Don’t let others drive you crazy
People, especially religious leaders, often try to make fun of Jesus. To ask him difficult questions or put him on the spot. But Jesus does not go along with this. He often sees through the other person’s intention and does not let himself be led astray.
Religious leaders often ask Jesus difficult questions such as about divorce. They hope he will speak out against the law and thus be found out as a bad prophet.
With a trick question about paying taxes, the leaders hope to lure Jesus out of the tent. If he says that paying taxes is not necessary, they can take him to court. But alas…Jesus doesn’t fall for it.
>>> Another important tip in this is: don’t focus on the other person. Don’t judge the other person so harshly. Getting angry at another person takes tons of energy. You can get all carried away with the injustice of another person that you lose sight of yourself.
6. Don’t get caught up in following rules
Before you read this wrong, Jesus is not one who urges you to just break all the rules. But Jesus is one who is not limited by rules. He looks beyond the written letter. He looks at the welfare of mankind. Rules for rules’s sake…he doesn’t do that. Rules must have meaning.
The Sabbath is a holy day of rest for the Jews. No one is allowed to work, everyone rests. This sometimes to the extreme. When Jesus walks through a wheat field with his friends on the Sabbath, his friends are taking grain from the wheat to eat. Religious leaders immediately speak to them about it. They are not allowed to do that! Jesus is sharp and says, “The holy day of rest was made for men. Not the other way around: people were not made for the holy day of rest.”
7. Don’t always say YES right away
Jesus regularly says: no. Many people call on him. Whether to come to them or to do miracles. Jesus consciously chooses whether or not to go somewhere. He doesn’t respond to every request immediately. Or only at a moment of his own choosing.
A friend of Jesus is sick. His friends keep asking when he would come, but he doesn’t run straight to his friend. He waits. Too long. Lazarus dies. But Jesus has a different plan. He wants to do a much bigger miracle. He brings Lazarus back from the dead.
When people discover that Jesus can do miracles, they line up. Everyone who is sick wants to be healed. But Jesus doesn’t heal everyone who crosses his path. For example, when he comes to the spring of Bethesda. A special water source that people believed had healing powers. The place is full of sick people. Yet Jesus heals only one person and not everyone.
8. Don’t focus on your circumstances but look beyond
Jesus always keeps the big picture in mind. He looks beyond that one moment. Beyond that one comment or that one person. He doesn’t live in fear because he looks ahead.
The ultimate example is the storm on the lake. It is storming and the boat he and friends are on is almost wrecked. His friends cry out. And Jesus? He is asleep. Speaking of Jesus and rest… This is very peaceful indeed. But now don’t think that he is abandoning his friends. No, on the contrary, he wants to teach them that a storm passes. This is only a moment. And that it is precisely in the storm that He is very close. Therefore we need not be afraid.
9. Live out your passion
Jesus’ mission was, of course, incredibly large and frankly, not comparable to the dreams and goals we may have. Yet there is a key to this as well. Jesus was 100% convinced of his message and his purpose in life. This is what he was willing to give up everything for. His mission was not to become as successful as possible. Not to make as much money as possible, but to bring people close to God. This was his passion. To bring forgiveness to people.
At the end of his life, he begs God not to die. Yet he holds fast to his mission and trusts God to do justice.
10. Take time with God regularly
The last tip is actually the most important one of all. In fact, this tip should be number 1. This tip is at number 10 because it encompasses everything. All the tips and all the examples came from Jesus taking time with God. The choices Jesus made, the stories he shared, the friends he chose, the miracles he performed-they all find their source in God. Everything Jesus knows about rest and teaches us comes from God.
Jesus is not a ‘zen’ master
These tips to de-stress are not meant to put Jesus down as some kind of “zen” master. Jesus’ message was certainly not to focus on rest and happiness in your life. Or that a life with Jesus will keep you free from stress and adversity. The key is in the connection with God. That’s where Jesus finds peace and the strength to go to extremes. To keep going despite the opposition. Despite the storm. The more you read the Bible, the more you will discover what Jesus and rest have to do with each other.
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