“You know what they say, ‘Quiet people have the loudest minds.’”
I’ve heard this phrase a few times as justification for why my mouth is closed. I can’t deny the truth of it. Truly, I sometimes wish I could turn my brain off for a while, to not think and then overthink every question, concept, or conversation. My mind races; it doesn’t rest.
Even when we’re physically not moving, our minds are at work. The pace and spaces of our minds’ workings differ from person to person. For some of us, the challenge is to stop moving so much in other ways. We’re all intricately layered and created so differently, and what we tend to rest in and run from varies as much as we do.
In the Enneagram personality system, I fit the Type 5—perceptive, insightful, and curious. Fives live in our heads, thrive on developing ideas, and store up knowledge just to have it. I can be “detached, yet high-strung and intense.” My trouble is resting my mind and releasing it from what I do not or cannot know.
For someone else—a Type 1 personality, for example—the need may be rest from a life of rigid perfectionism. And a Type 3, literally called “The Performer,” needs help slowing down, relaxing, and resting from their life of constant striving to achieve. You might say they’re not the resting type.
But while we’re all different, we all have the same admonition from God to rest and to seek that rest in Him. It doesn’t matter if we’re the type to naturally embrace rest or not. The charge is still the same.
I’ve often thought that if I keep my mind tied up studying the history of the world and complex theological concepts, I can keep it from drifting too deeply into whatever is really bothering me. I can know what I want to know and keep myself from stumbling on another type of knowledge that might make me uncomfortable.
We think we can outrun our fears and responsibilities if we keep our lives moving at a rapid pace. Perhaps if we fill up our schedule with appointments, we won’t feel the emptiness that remains like a crater in our souls. If we have enough projects and parties, we think conviction of sin won’t be able to find and knock at the door of our hearts and we won’t notice our separation from God.
Whether our struggle is a mind that wants to know it all or the twisted ambition to do it all, we need to give it a rest.
Why do we rest? In stark contrast to the excessive traditions and rules imposed by the Pharisees. In Matthew 11:28-29 Jesus said to the people of Israel,
“Come to me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take up my yoke and learn from me, because I am lowly and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
In those words and throughout the entirety of God’s word, we see that Jesus is a gentle, compassionate Savior who is able to restore, strengthen, forgive, and compassionately pour love out on His children who find themselves under challenging, heavy burdens.
The same God who rested after completing the work of creation is our source of rest—rest from our striving, laboring, running.
We rest in our salvation, resting from working to earn God’s love and instead freely receiving justification by the righteousness of Christ. We rest in our sanctification journey, striving not in the fruitless pursuits of our flesh but embracing our Lord who is daily growing us and transforming us into His likeness. We rest in the future hope of eternity with Him. And we rest in the work of His Spirit, abiding in Him as our only way to a fruitful, godly life.
The children of God are the resting type. And no matter where we fall in the deep, broad realm of personality, we need the rest that God offers to us.
As a Type Five, I won’t ever know everything. A Type One won’t ever reach their standard of earthly perfection. A Type Three won’t find it possible to achieve it all. And on and on across every character in humankind. But here is this God who is all knowing, entirely perfect, and all-powerful.
Here is our God who is not confused by the complexity of human nature; He created it. Here is His hand offering rest from tendencies, types, and burdens. Take hold. Take heart.