Peace

I feel like our generation has been plagued by guilt. Guilt for not being productive enough, not being studious enough, not being interesting enough, not being friendly enough, not being ENOUGH. Every day I wake up and feel stress for each second “wasted,” then I feel guilty for letting time slip away as I do the things I really enjoy. Even if I am doing things I like, there is a clock ticking in the back of my head telling me that the precious seconds I am using to bring joy or peace or comfort or simply rest are ones I will never get back, that  I am being selfish for not using each one to its fullest.

I don’t think that I am the only person who feels this way either. Our teachers, our counselors, even our friends stress to us how important it is to rest. But when? Which moments are worth giving up for the pursuit of something that can ultimately only come from the Lord? We live in a world that is so busy and so obsessed with an idea of success that we have to consciously carve out time for this supposed “rest.” And then we feel guilty about it! Do you know where that guilt comes from? Because it sure isn’t Jesus. He actually tells us, “Come to me all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). If He is offering rest from our weariness, our brokenness, our totally burnt-outness, then when did we decide we deserved to feel overwhelming guilt and shame and anxiety for taking these much needed, God-given breaks?

That guilt is a lie from the enemy that has been perpetuated by a culture centered on being hard-working. There is a delicate balance between laziness and restfulness and the enemy would love nothing more than to convince you that you fall onto the side of the lethargic, the unmotivated, the unproductive. If he can convince you that you are taking advantage of peace you don’t deserve, then you will do all the work for him. You will fill each free second with busyness and work and events and as those precious moments get booked up, your time to enjoy the peace and rest Jesus is freely offering will slip away. You might be able to squeeze in a 10 minute devotional, check it off your list, and move on to the next scheduled activity, but you won’t truly connect with Him. You won’t be able to tap into all of the good gifts He is freely offering and desperately hoping you will take.

Take a moment to ask yourself when the last time you felt guilt was, then dig deeper to find the root. This morning, I didn’t set an alarm because I had no plans for the day. I had finished all my schoolwork for the week and decided to sleep in. So why did I wake up and feel immediate guilt for letting myself rest? For giving my body what it needed today? For not being “productive” enough or “efficient” enough or whatever other thing I don’t feel enough of? This feeling of inadequacy sure didn’t come from Jesus, who was happy to see my body resting and my morning spent quietly sitting with Him. No, that’s a lie of the enemy that seeks to trap every person our age into feeling a guilt that DOES NOT BELONG TO US! And do you know why? Because Jesus has taken it away. He has taken that guilt, that shame, that utter not-enoughness, and He nailed it to the cross. Then, even better than that, He redeemed it into something even more beautiful. He took our guilt and gave us peace, rest, mercy, grace and a hundred other things we could never deserve or work or be productive enough to earn on our own.

So now what? Now, we reach out and grab a hold of peace. We take a handful of His grace. Hold on firmly to the knowledge that our guilt does not come from a place of love and wanting to give good gifts, it comes from an enemy whose only mission is to seek, kill, and destroy. Today, it is my prayer for both you and me, that we would hold on to  peace and get rid of guilt, because Jesus has called us to live a life abundantly in Him.  Those shackles of guilt have no hold on us anymore. This Easter season, it is my desperate hope that you will find rest in the only true source, Jesus Christ.

Author  |  Evan Correa
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