This is what the Lord says:
Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good
way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.
But you said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ . . .

(Jeremiah 6:16, NIV)

During the busy holiday season, I crave rest more than any other time of the year. And despite what I know God’s Word says about how to get rest, I have often taken matters into my own hands. I’ve tried to force rest, and I’ve even tried to buy it.

For instance, I will carve out an hour or so for a nap. I make sure the ringers on the phone and cell phone are turned off, and I lie down for a blissful, uninterrupted nap, only to be awakened by the barking dog next door or the doorbell. Or, I will try to schedule a massage or a weekend getaway, only to realize that the stress of aligning all the details outweighs the benefit of any temporary rest that I might receive. Even though these are well-intentioned attempts to rest, they still might not produce true rest.

However, there was one December—December 2002—when I experienced true rest. Throughout that year, I had struggled with the feeling that my job was not a good fit for me. Amidst the tears in the parking garage one night that December, I felt like God was telling me to take a leap of faith—to quit my job and trust Him.

“Are you sure about that, Lord?” I questioned. “I want out, but I haven’t been able to get another job. You know that I don’t have enough in my savings account to cover my rent, car payment, and school loan repayment. Christmastime is notorious for being a difficult time to find a new job in my field.” But deep down, I knew that resigning was the right decision, even though it did not look at all like the safe route that I had planned.

And so, on December 9, 2002, I gave my two-weeks’ notice and resigned without another job lined up. December 23, 2002 was my last day. I had no idea when my next paycheck would come or from where.

Despite my uncertainty, His peace and rest filled me. I thoroughly enjoyed that Christmas. I felt His peace continue to fill me throughout January as I watched Him provide for my bills to be paid. And thankfully, He helped me through taking that leap of faith by leading me to another job by February.

I wish I could fully describe how my countenance changed during that time. Friends commented on how relaxed I looked and how much happier I seemed. And they all knew that it wasn’t something that I had purchased; the peace I felt came from making a tough decision. A decision of obedience. A decision to walk in the path that God had shown me. Even when it didn’t feel safe or look right. Because it was the road to rest.

Father, when I want to find rest on my own, apart from You, draw me in and point me back to the path where the good way is. This Christmas, help me to experience the true rest and peace that You designed my soul to crave.

Are there times when you have struggled with choosing obedience? What decisions have you made in obedience that produced rest or peace?