2 Essential Steps Guaranteed to Deliver Internal Rest

A woman approached me after a talk I’d given. She was embarrassed to tell me her story. She’d always wanted a daughter. Instead, she had four sons. She loved her boys. But, if God loved her, why had He allowed her to want a girl and then given her only boys? Since she really loved her sons, why couldn’t she let go of her disappointment? Her questions tormented her.

By: Cliff

Can you relate to this woman? It’s normal for doubts and fears to drop in. But how do we get persistent ones to leave? How do we find rest for our souls while our questions lay unanswered?

Here’s the paradox of rest. Rest takes effort. We must fight for it.

Listen to Hebrews 4:10-11 (NIV), “10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works, just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest” (Emphasis added).

Stop working, and make every effort—a true paradox. Let’s break it down.

There are two kinds of work: work driven from our fallen human natures and work prompted by the Holy Spirit. The following two steps lead us into God’s rest.

1st Step: Stop our works.

Here are some examples of the works we must end:

  • Worrying
  • Striving to change people
  • Working to please people
  • Scheming to solve our problems
  • Striving to insulate ourselves from pain
  • Trying to prove we’re right and the other person is wrong
  • Trying to control the future
  • Living in regret
  • Carrying guilt and shame
  • Needing to understand why
  • Feeling responsible

These works rob our rest and negate faith in God. These are the works of unbelief.

2nd Step: Start the works of God.

In John 6:28-29 (NASB) some people came to Jesus: “28 They said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered and said to them, ‘This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.’ ”

The work of rest is faith in Jesus. We make every effort to trust Him. Let me show you how this might look.

When a disturbing thought assails you: 1. Stop your works. Stop listening to the negative thoughts. 2. Start trusting Christ. Focus on Him and His promises. Below are some examples of actions to (1) stop and (2) start:

  • 1. I could never handle it if….
    2. Nothing is too difficult for the Lord (Jeremiah 32:17). Christ has promised to never leave me (Hebrews 13:5).
  • 1. I must figure out how to keep that from happening.
    2. Jesus invites me to cast all my cares on Him (1 Peter 5:7). Lord, please turn this into something more wonderful than I can imagine (Ephesians 3:20).
  • 1. I want to control my circumstances and other people to protect myself.
    2. I chose to take shelter under Your wings and trust You to shield, strengthen, and sustain me (Psalm 91).
  • 1. I’ve tried to quit smoking, quit overeating, stop being impatient, but I can’t.
    2. I invite Your Holy Spirit to do what I can’t (Galatians 5:16, 22-23). I will rest in You.

In short, stop worrying, whining, and fretting over circumstances. Start praying, praising, and trusting Christ.

This takes effort. But we don’t fight this battle alone. Our High Priest stands ready to help. What work must you stop in order to experience God’s rest? What promise must you start believing?

Question: I’d love to hear a verse or thought that quiets your unrest. I’ll get us started in the comments with one of my favorites. Click here to comment.


Linking with: #LivefreeThursday,



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  1. Debbie Wilson

    “Because the Lord is my Shepherd, I have everything I need!” from Psalm 23:1 (The Living Bible) has brought me peace many times. My Lord supplies whatever I need, be it wisdom, help, resources, or strength.

    • Stephanie sudano

      Psalm 51:10 “Create in me a clean heart oh God and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” This is one that helps when I get stuck in negative thoughts about someone. Thx debbie for a great blog today!

      • Debbie Wilson

        That is a great one, Stephanie. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. Ann

    Debbie this is absolutely beautiful and one I will keep to refer to again! I love how you clearly explained the difference between works of the flesh and the work of entering the rest of God. One of my go-to scriptures is Ps. 138:8 and I especially like the New Living Translation: The Lord will work out his plans for my life—
    for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever.
    Don’t abandon me, for you made me.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thank you, Ann. That is a great Scripture to recall when we face fears and worry!

  3. Kathy

    Hi Debbie,
    This is perfect for me today! Today’s promise from 365 Promises devotion is also very comforting to me today and relates well to your post.

    Psalm 121:3 “I will not let you fall, for I am watching over you day and night”

    Thank you for sharing this~

    • Debbie Wilson

      Kathy, I love that. I want to remember it every day!

  4. Pat

    I remember a thought I use a lot….”God said it. I believe it. That settles it.”
    also I found an old thought this week…..”Doubt your doubts BUT believe your beliefs”.

    • Debbie Wilson

      Two good ones, Pat! Thanks for sharing them.

  5. Caroline Gavin

    Powerful truths…so beautifully expressed!
    Truly we are blessed when in Jesus we rest!

    The Scripture verses you shared are perfect for times of trial. Romans 8:28 always calms my heart. “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Praise Jesus for the treasure of this truth!

    God bless you and your heart for Him, dear Debbie!

    • Debbie Wilson

      Caroline, Romans 8:28 is one of my favorites! So wonderful to hear from you. Also want to add my Bible study, “Give Yourself a Break, Discover the Secrets to God’s Rest” came out today on Amazon! Thanking God for His faithfulness and the encouragement of so many. Thanks again.

  6. henni corbin

    Debbie, once again your blog spoke to me right where my heart needed a lift. I have worked myself into the shape of a pretzel in striving to undo what I don’t like and in striving to get an answer to my “whys?”

    Not so many years ago I lived in Pinehurst, N.C., on a golf course with a large pond on it. I was truly living out part of the 23rd Psalm…”He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside still waters.” My soul was literally restored in the six months that I had all that green grass and water to look at every day. I hope He will lead me back into a situation where my heart, mind, body and soul can enter into His rest…”I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” Blessings, Debbie!

  7. Debbie Wilson

    Henni, I love Psalms 23. Verse 3 says “He restores my soul.” Maybe that would be a good thought to hold on to. He is not limited by the seasons or our circumstances. But keep dreaming of the green grass and let me know when you get it! Also, my study Give Yourself a Break came out yesterday on Amazon. It provides lots of help in experiencing God’s soul rest. Blessings to you.

  8. Vickie Petz Henderson

    Never thought about how much effort it takes to rest! Beautiful post. Glad to be your neighbor at Suzie’s

    • Debbie Wilson

      Thanks, Vickie. It takes effort for me! 🙂

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