I’m exhausted! I’ve only gotten 5 hours of sleep over the past two days because I had a test to study for, a paper to write, and I worked last night. I’m not sure when I’ll ever catch up on rest.
There just doesn’t seem to be any hope in sight with my family. The situation with my parents has gotten worse. I’m just ready for some rest in all of this.
I know I’m to blame—I made the choice and now I’m paying for it. I just can’t get any rest from worrying about what the next steps are.
I’ve heard these statements in conversations I’ve had with young adults. For them, rest is a concept that seems so far away. Rest is a desire, but it doesn’t seem possible.
The young adults around you are probably some of the busiest and soul-weary individuals you come into contact with on a daily basis. The demands of school, work, family situations, and relationships—coupled with choices that they have made (both good and bad)—have given them a sense of weariness that seems insurmountable. Our culture demands that we be connected constantly, be striving for the goals that we think we must achieve, and find time to give to groups and organizations that champion worthy causes. And the thought of rest keeps getting pushed aside.
Rest seems like a really good idea, but it simply does not seem possible.
Jesus makes a beautiful promise to all of us in Matthew 11:28 where he says “Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (CSB).In the midst of the chaos going on around us, Jesus offers us something so much better. This promise is for all of us, whether we’re in the beginning stages of a college career or the days before retirement. There will always be areas of our lives that will bring physical, emotional or spiritual weariness to our souls. But Jesus offers us rest that comes only through Him.
Here are three ways we can encourage young adults to seek the rest that comes through Jesus:
1. Find the moments in a day or a weekend that can be dedicated to rest.
There will ALWAYS be one more thing to do. There will ALWAYS be something else to worry about in the middle of a stressful situation. What Jesus is saying in Matthew 11:28 is TRUST ME! In the middle of daily chaos, He desires for us to take a deep breath and trust Him—to REST in Him. Will it change the situation or will the problem go away? Probably not. However, in the middle of resting in Him, we’re able to look at the situation through His eyes and find peace in trusting Him even when we don’t have answers.
2. Find people that are further along the journey to do life with.
There are a lot of weary travelers that are going the journey all alone. No one is speaking encouragement or hope into their lives and pointing them toward the rest that is available through trusting Jesus. Encourage young adults to find community with other believers. We need others to speak truth and help us to believe in Jesus’ rest that He has prepared for us. Life was never meant to be traveled alone. Aloneness breeds weariness.
3. Keep the Word of God close at all times.
John 15:7 says for us to abide in Him—to remain in His Word. Abiding in God’s Word allows His Word to take root and bear fruit. It’s quick to come to our minds and hearts because God’s Word has found a home in our lives. In the middle of being weary, the Word of God can bring hope and refreshment.
The enemy wants to destroy us with constant busyness and weariness. However, Jesus is telling all of us to resist the lies. Jesus has already done what none of us could ever accomplish—and is offering us a REST that is pure and deeply satisfying.
Mark Whitt is a collegiate minister with the Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tenn. Connect with Mark via Twitter.