Rest by Elizabeth Villwock


I will never forget the day, tears filling my eyes, that I turned off the lights to my shop one last time and locked the door. In a blink of an eye, I went from creating a place that was a cornerstone in my community to being unemployed.

With two young kids at home, I was assured by many that this was a good thing as I would have more time to focus on them. In my heart I knew that it was a path I should walk so I would have time to take better care of myself.

Friends and mentors assured me this was a good decision. But on the inside, I was filled with dread, as all I could see was a shell of a human I barely recognized. I had allowed my pursuit of success to consume me.

Looking back, I can see how God needed to pull me away from the thing I valued most to help me see that it was all temporary. I had turned a blind eye to the promptings deep in my spirit to slow down. I had ignored the urges from loved ones to stop and rest. In the midst of all of the yearning to achieve and create, I had lost myself and ultimately lost sight of my Creator.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

One of the lies I’ve had to confront in this season is that rest isn’t failure. For so long, I had been bound by the idea that if I stopped, even for a moment, I would be failing. I had told myself that I only had value if I was producing and achieving. Rest, to me, was lazy.

As I try to intentionally find rest and connect with God, I am learning that rest – true spiritual rest – is worship. Taking time to breathe, sleep, commune with God and others – it is a form of praise to him.

God’s heart is not for us to keep Sabbath and find rest simply because it is a rule to follow. When we rest, we are able to see clearly who God has created us to be. We are accepted and radically loved.

I want to live in truth. I want to know that I am loved so completely even in my mess. I want to experience transformative love.

The pain of my loss still stings. Enough time has not passed for me to call out the lessons learned without feeling pain but I know my story is not complete yet. I know that as I intentionally make space for rest, the healing will come. As my story continues to unfold, I know God has his guiding hand on my life leading me to places and experiences I couldn’t even dream of.