Kate Berkey is a writer and serves refugees and immigrants on the north side of Chicago. She and her co-author Kristy Mikel are releasing their book A Place Called Braverly: Daring to live courageously, dream boldly, and influence bravery. In it, they embark on a journey toward bravery from a place of rest in the Father’s love, which is where our lives truly begin! If you want to learn more about their new book, you can find it wherever books are sold or at aplacecalledbraverly.com.
A few years ago, I found myself in a season of absolute exhaustion—striving, working, and desperately trying to prove myself to others and maybe to myself as well. Actually, as much as I’d like to pretend this happened years ago, it happens nearly every year. Almost like clockwork, the seasons change, life changes, and I find myself on that never-ending treadmill, sprinting to a finish line that always moves.
It’s exhausting, and honestly, there’s not enough self-care in the world to pull me out of it.
It’s not a self-care problem. It’s a heart issue. I wonder how many of our problems we’re trying to fix with self-care when we’re actually searching for rest in all the wrong places.
At a time when I was struggling with my never-ending battle, I cried out to the Father, desperate for Him to break through the voices screaming in my heart and mind telling me to be better, to work harder, to prove myself. That day, His still, small voice spoke to my weary soul, whispering, “The opposite of proving is resting in my extravagant love.”
His words hit me hard, like when you trip down a staircase and hit every step. In that season, I was involved in so many good things–working in full-time ministry, serving at my church, loving my family, pouring into my community, and doing a dozen other good things. But as so often happens, those good things weren’t the right things, and as much as I didn’t want to admit it, I was doing many of these things to prove that I could, that I was strong enough, that I was good enough. So when the Father told me that the opposite of proving was resting in His extravagant love, I desperately wanted to believe it was true.
I think most of us are searching for true rest. We’re so tired, so worn out.
We live for the weekend and vacation while also reminding people how busy we are. You and I search for rest in all the wrong places. So instead of living from a place of dependence on the Father, we lean on our own strength. Instead of living from a place of rest in who He is, in what He can do, we work and strive, and spend our days trying to be better, faster, stronger, tougher. All the while, the Father invites us to step off the treadmill and rest in Him.
A few months after the Lord whispered His kind words to my weary soul, He took me to Ephesians 3:16-17 which says, “And I pray that he would unveil within you the unlimited riches of his glory and favor until supernatural strength floods your innermost being with his divine might and explosive power. Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.” (TPT)
Whether we realize it, I think most of us are searching for a place of rest, because we’re tired of running down those unending roads called striving, working, earning, or proving. On our best days, we might think to look for it in the Father’s love.
But if we’re honest, it's hard to know how to rest in Him, and it feels better or safer to rely on ourselves.
Yet, in Him there is a rest He longs for us to live from. This space really exists, and here He invites us to disqualify ourselves from our race to prove and find rest in the Father’s abundant love.
You and I work so hard to build lives of meaning and fulfillment. We want lives marked by courage and freedom and joy. We crave authenticity and love and a million other beautiful things. But, friend, I believe that until we live from the resting place of the Father’s love, all our striving to build fulfilled and meaningful lives will actually give us a fraction of the full life Jesus promises.
Until the resting place of His love is the root of our lives, all our running—even if it looks good and holy—will be little more than attempts to prove ourselves to a Father with whom we have nothing to prove.
So here's my challenge:
Stop running down the roads with no end. Disqualify yourself from the race to strive and earn, and let the Father run toward you. Let Him wrap you in His love and learn to breathe in and out in His rest. Only here will we find meaning, fulfillment, bravery, joy, and peace. Only here will we find true rest.