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What Makes My Soul Healthy?

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My dad was not just a golfer: he was a golf evangelist. His goal in life was to get as many people golfing as possible. He had more passion and love for the sport than anyone I’ve met. If he found out you were in the least bit interested in golf, he wouldn’t just invite you to play with him. He’d pay for your game, buy you a couple boxes of balls and a shirt, and sooner or later buy you a set of clubs.

He was an expert at overcoming excuses people made when he tried to convert them into golfers. My favorite was when people would say, “I would golf, but I just don’t have time for it. It’s a five-hour game! It takes too long.”

And my dad would say, “Well, that’s the point.”

“What do you mean?”

“You’re too busy not to golf. If you can’t spare half a day to wander the hills, breathe fresh air, enjoy breathtaking views, and rejuvenate yourself in the smells and sounds of nature, then your schedule has a problem. If you don’t have time for golf, that just proves how much you need golf.”

The older I get, the more I appreciate Dad’s point. Our souls need regular rest. They need breaks. They need moments when they can disconnect from the craziness of life and just enjoy the moments they are in. The book of Psalms says this: “It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep” (Psalm 127:2 ESV).

Hard work is a part of life, of course. I’m not against work, exertion, or even exhaustion. There are seasons and moments when we will put in long, hard hours, and our rest might suffer.

But that can’t be our lifestyle 24/7, week after week. We need a habit of rest. We need a philosophy and an outlook on life that says, “I don’t have all the answers, and that’s okay. God does. He can do more while I sleep than I can when I’m awake. So I’m just going to do my best, and I’m going to rest in the fact that God is in control and on my side.”

Ultimately, of course, God wants us to have rest in our souls, not just our bodies. But the two are very connected. It’s harder to be at rest on the inside when you are not resting well on the outside. And it’s easier to handle external pressures and problems when your soul is healthy and relaxed.

Rest is not the absence of problems. It’s the presence of Jesus. He is our only source of true rest. He told his followers, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29 NLT).

Respond

What do you do to unwind and rest, and how often do you do this?

How does too much stress affect you emotionally? Physically? Spiritually?

What does it mean to you that Jesus is the source of true rest?

“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.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭11:28-29‬


Devotional by Judah Smith
 

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