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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Rest (01/17/13)

TITLE: The Journey to Complete Rest
By Laria Jones


The Journey to Complete Rest

When I think about rest, my mind goes back to a cruise that I recently went on; waking up early in the morning, opening the curtain off of the balcony, welcoming the natural light of the rising sun and lying down on my incredibly comfortable bed while enjoying the view of the waters as we sailed across the seas to a tropical paradise.

Rest is described in various ways to different people, however, in my life I have found that rest is achieved by managing the stresses of life though the proper caring of my body, soul, and spirit.

These scripture passages come to mind:

- Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV), “5Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, 6 in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.”
- 1 Peter 5:7 (NIV), “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”
- Hebrews 13:5 (NIV), “…God has said ‘never will I leave you, never will I forsake you.’”

Stress is a common factor in life that if left unchecked and unmanaged can negatively affect our body, soul, and spirit. In today’s society we live in a culture where we often adopt the tendencies of wearing ourselves thin, trying to be supermen and superwomen, taking on every project and program that comes our way, while attempting to be everything to everyone in our pursuit of happiness. However, at the end of the day, we may find ourselves exhausted as we consider the areas in our lives that were sacrificed in our pursuits such as spending time with family and friends, reading to our children, exercising and home cooked meals instead of fast food. We may also find ourselves dealing with difficult living conditions, financial stresses, and a vast list of uncertainties.

Stress is not only an issue of the mind, living in continual worry, but it also has physical ramifications. ehealthMD states that stress can cause chronic fatigue, digestive upsets, and headaches, it can also cause high blood pressure, heart attack and weaken our immune system making us more susceptible to catching colds and other diseases. Stress can also cause depression and make us feel so overwhelmed that we begin to lose the desire to pray, to read God’s word, to live and be strengthen in the power of who God is in our lives. My church used to sing a song when I was younger, “because He (Jesus) lives, I can face tomorrow, because He lives all fear is gone, because I know who holds the future and life is worth the living just because He lives.”

There is rest from stress for our body, soul, and spirit as we trust God with all of our heart and follow Him as He directs our paths. God will give us the wisdom, knowledge, and understanding to discern how we ought to live no matter where we find ourselves and how to effectively manage our responsibilities and resources so that we can move forward in life and focus more on the things that the matter the most, like love of God, love of our families, and love of our neighbors.

We can cast our anxieties on the Lord because He truly loves and cares about us and He wants us to give Him our lives with this great assurance, Hebrews 13:5 in which God himself has said, “Never will I leave you, and never will I forsake you.” This is where I see life’s value and hope, this is where I find rest for my body, soul, and spirit and when I find that rest I find the restoration of love, joy, and strength, essentials in continuing life’s journey.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Bonnie Bowden 01/24/13
Great message. I hope I am able to go on a cruise some day.
Phee Paradise 01/26/13
Good message and well crafted essay. The images in your example brought me right into the relaxation you felt and contrasted well with the stress you described later.
C D Swanson 01/26/13
Great job with the topic and with your writing style. Nicely done.

God bless~
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 01/27/13
I keep losing my comments. This is the third attempt to leave my feedback. Your article is so good that it is worth it. :-)

I really enjoyed this devotion. You did an excellent job of drawing me in. I totally could relate to the MC. Stress can definitely do a number on one's body.

The only red ink I might have is to suggest that you cut down on some of the sentence length. For such a short story, some of the run ons you had can be a tad overwhelming for the reader. An example is your opening paragraph. This is to show you a way to tighten it up some: While I attempted to rest, my mind drifted back to a recent cruise. We'd wake up early and rush to open the curtains, allowing ourselves to bask in the sunrise and the gorgeous view of the beach.

That may not have been a perfect example but I hope it shows what I mean. I really enjoyed your selection of Bible verses. This past week many have used the verse all who are weary and heavy laden come to me and I will give you rest. Your verses gave a fresh and interesting approach to the topic.

One of my favorite hymns is Because He lives. It was a song in our wedding and then the following year at my mom's funeral and the title is on mom's headstone. (Be careful about quoting songs that are copyrighted. Though many hymns are in the public domain, this one is still copyright protected. I believe you can use something like 10% of the piece without permission, so I think you are okay, but I wanted you to be aware for the future. Also cite the authors or composers In this case it is written by Bill and Gloria Gaither.

Again, I want to stress what a lovely job you did. I was intrigued by your voice and thought you did a delightful job. I think everyone can relate to how devastating stress can be for our minds, bodies and souls. This is a powerful piece and you will touch more hearts than you will ever imagine. This is an excellent, well-written devotion and you left me with a sense of piece.