Learning to Rest in God

3 Practical Ways You Can Learn to Rest in God

Do you feel guilty for resting or put rest off until you’ve reached a certain goal? It seems humans resisting rest is a tale as old as time, which makes God’s instruction on it really worth paying attention to. Since this resistance is part of our human nature, it’s likely a weak area for you, too.

The beautiful thing about learning to rest in God is that accessing this gift doesn’t depend on problems being eliminated or us working hard enough to deserve rest. Like with everything you’re called to do, God also provides you a way to achieve it. Let’s look together at a few ways to ready ourselves for the spiritual discipline of rest.

What is Spiritual Rest?

Spiritual rest offers peace and contentment in the thick of storms and life’s pressures because we remember where our hope and our help come from. Like so many of God’s gracious gifts, this one doesn’t depend on our enoughness.

I believe spiritual rest is incredibly instinctive to us as we walk with God, but we tend to forget how to follow through when we get overly busy. In busy seasons, we forget to pause and assess what responsibilities really belong on our shoulders and what weight is meant for God to bear on our behalf.

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.”  ~ Matthew 11:28-30

Spiritual rest doesn’t come when our problems are all solved and every to-do item is checked off the list. That’s good because those achievements will never take place earthside. Instead, spiritual rest comes in the midst of our anxiety, worry, and fear when we remember our Mighty Warrior who saves. Despite all we face, we can find spiritual rest when we stop spinning in our own strength and invite God to refresh us with spiritual rest and renewal.

The Lord your God is with you,
    the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
    in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
    but will rejoice over you with singing.” ~Zephaniah 3:17

Though learning to rest in God may take some reconnection with our spiritual instincts to trust in God, surrender our worries to God, and receive spiritual rest from God, the discipline is definitely worth cultivating!

Learning To Rest in God

Learning to Rest in God – What Makes it Possible?

My Help Comes From God

I lift up my eyes to the mountains—

    where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

    the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—

    he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel

    will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you—

    the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,

    nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm—

    he will watch over your life;

 the Lord will watch over your coming and going

    both now and forevermore.

~ Psalm 91

Learning to rest in God is built on the foundation of knowing my help comes from God. There is nothing that exhausts or cuts off this supply of help, so when we are tired of fighting solely in our own strength and finally come to the end of ourselves, God’s supply continues in abundance. The key is learning to bypass the exhaustion and bring everything to God first, not with expectations that the problems will vanish, but that God will lend us holy, divine power to persevere in joy and hope, despite the pain.

My Hope is in God

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. 

~ Psalm 62:5-6

Looking solely at our abilities or supplementing our limits with what other people, places and things can provide, we always reach an end to the supply. But when we acknowledge it is our God who created the heavens, earth, and everything within, our spirits lift. Then, we remember, that same God who is not in the distance like the mountains, not unattainably high or buried impossibly deep. Our God is here! As a shelter, defender, and rescuer. The shade in our right hand, our rock, and our salvation helps us live unshaken. Learning to rest in God comes when we remember our help and hope come from God. 


Learning to Rest in God in 3 practical ways

Cast Your Cares on God

Peter tells us to cast all our anxieties on God because he cares for us. Casting means to intentionally and forcibly throw something away from the body. It makes sense that Peter the fisherman would use this visual for how we should rid ourselves of worry, casting them upon God. But like any good angler knows, throwing the net is just the first step. It also has to be pulled back in to realize the full benefit. When we cast our worries upon God and empty our net, we make room for pulling in joy, peace, and wisdom to continue on in our tiresome circumstances fully rested. 

Casting also refers to assigning parts and roles, as with an actor. When we assign our worries to Christ’s care, we are then assigned help, rest, & hope for making it through. Don’t forget this giving and receiving. Anytime we change our habits we have to provide ourselves an option for what to do instead! The next time you feel worry creeping in, intentionally make the switch!

Sit quietly at the feet of Jesus, surrender yourself, and assign your worry to a God who fights your battles. You only need to be still (Exodus 14:14).

Release Attachment to Outcome

Releasing attachment to outcome doesn’t mean you stop caring about what happens or quit boldly praying for specific things. What it does mean is that you no longer live in fear of “what if?” or lose faith when things don’t go your way. Praying this way, trusts that God is fully in control and places ultimate trust in God’s continued help, hope, and spiritual rest, regardless of the outcome.

Spiritual Affirmations for Letting Go

These spiritual affirmations are some of what I use personally. Some are inspired by Louise Hay, some by scripture and some out of my own heart’s cry. I hope they free you to praise God just for being God, regardless of outcome or circumstance.

God of all is unlimited and abundant.

I focus my attention on what I desire, take the necessary steps and rest in the uncertainty by letting go of any attachment to outcome.

In God there are no limits for time, space or opportunity.

I am ready and willing to trust Jehovah Jireh, the source of all abundance.

I proclaim my intentions to God and step into the field of all possibilities.

God is not stalling. God is ordering my steps toward and outcome that is immeasurable more than I could ask or imagine.

I detach myself from forced outcomes and limited expectations. I attach myself to God.

I am content and hopeful in the now.

I find rest in God.

Meditation for Rest

This is a beautiful strengthener as you search for rest, hope, and help. We’ll take note of the natural pause between breaths and see how our mind, body, and spirit already know how to confidently surrender worry to God and receive spiritual rest. Learning to rest in God just may take some remembering, which is exactly the purpose of this meditation. 

What’s one area of your life that you could cast upon or assign to God so that you may be more aware of the hope offered to you and receive help and rest? If you took those steps do you think God would ask you to leave that area of life alone for a while or give you the strength to return after hope and rest are established?

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  1. Learning to rest in God—it is something I know, but I do find it so hard to do sometimes. I am really good at trying to put everything on myself instead of just releasing the outcome to Him, as you explained. This post was a good reminder for me to cast my cares upon Him.

    1. Thank you so much for writing this. Learning how to rest in God definitely is an every day practice. I love Matthew 11:28-30, thank you for including that verse!

  2. I love this! I’m a Christian who finds it hard to rest – I’m a doer and fixer but God has made me rest and I’m appreciating the need for rest too. This is a great approach and I love how scripture based it is!

  3. Rachel, your posts are always right on time and very deep and meaningful to me. And this post on learning to rest in God is no different.

    I love this … “Spiritual rest offers peace and contentment in the thick of storms and life’s pressures because we remember where our hope and our help come from. Like so many of God’s gracious gifts, this one doesn’t depend on our enoughness.”

    I have experienced feeling like I’m not doing enough or feeling like I don’t deserve the rest. I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling to just ‘be’ in Jesus. Thank you for this beautiful reminder. ❤

  4. Thank you for this beautiful word. I have a hard time resting because of my hypervigilance. I am barely learning how to meditate. I really loved your illustration of casting your cares and emptying your nets. Blessings, Joni

  5. What a timely post for me. I love the point you made about releasing the outcome to God. I’ve been reading in 1 Corinthians about different gifts, ministries, and effects. God is in control of using them all. I also how you intertwined the concept of surrender. I think that is ultimately where our spiritual rest begins.

  6. Beautiful post that teaches practical ways we can learn to rest in God. My favorite is cast you cares on God. That’s a wonderful way to rest and trust in Him .

  7. Thank you for so many of the wonderful tips on how to rest spiritually with God. It is so important to take time each day to just fully rest and embrace His presence in our lives!

  8. Thank you for sharing. I find that it is difficult of letting go our attachments to outcomees. We live by certain expectations. However, as Christians, we fail to understand that it is God’s expectations and not our own that we ought to consider living by.

    1. Yes! It is an unnatural state for us to work towards a specific goal and release all expectations. Unnatural and maybe a bit crazy if the work & release is in our strength alone! But when our desires for our future are aligned with God’s, there’s a trust factor. We stretch our gaze into that “immeasurably more“ territory of outcome. Knowing our efforts are supporting God’s will and our desires are being supported by God, we are free to live contented in our work. Because in God there are no limits for time, space or opportunity, we can rest with hope for the future. Though it takes quite a bit of prayer and spiritual discipline to seek God first “even if (fill in the blank),” when I’m living in that space, I can view the now and not yet with such broader perspective and anticipation for what God will do. Thanks so much for your take on this! Be blessed!

  9. I loved your analogy of emptying the net of our burdens onto Jesus to make room for joy, peace and wisdom. This visual is so helpful. And this was a wonderful reminder that I don’t need to finish a to-do list before finding rest in God.

  10. I love these tips on learning to rest in God! Life gets so busy and sometimes draining, but God is our help and our hope. I love that He desires us to give all our cares over to Him. Thank you!

    1. God is so gracious to meet us where we are, which includes trying to do everything in our own strength and creating more worry for ourselves. That desire that we give all our worries over to God is such a generous offering to us. Even knowing this, well before we’re able to actualize on the discipline, brings spiritual rest!

  11. Thank you for this wonderful post about resting in God. I am in that place at the moment. It has taken me a long time to rest in God and leave my problems in His hands. But the peace that I receive when I completely rest in Him and trust Him to get me to where He wants me to go, is so wonderful!

    1. I can relate. I think it takes us a long time because like with any discipline, it takes practice before it becomes a habit. Going to God first is one such habit where it takes intention and effort, but we’re not in it alone. God meets the gaps and reminds us to cast our worries and find rest.

  12. When I get worried, what works best for me is to give it right away to The Lord. I may have to continue to bring my worries to The Lord, but then I know all my thoughts are not just spinning, they are in the hands of The Lord.

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