Recently, I spent some time on vacation. I had been planning and looking forward to the getaway for months.

Finally, I arrived. I checked into my hotel, grabbed my backpack full of books and headed to the pool. This is what I had been waiting for.

Only, it wasn’t the way I had envisioned it. I had been anxiously expecting a few days without having to ponder issues, decisions, strategy, and planning. And yet, as I sat there, miles away from home, reading my book in the sun, my mind wouldn’t stop thinking about work.

I always have a pen with me when I read. And it didn’t take long before I was finding every free space in the book I was reading to write notes -not about the book, but about work! I couldn’t escape.

Then it hit me, I don’t vacation well. Don’t get me wrong -I love the idea of vacation, but I fail terribly in the implementation of vacation.

And it’s not just scheduled vacations away from home that I struggle with. I struggle daily just to find healthy margin at home in which I can rest. Maybe you can relate to the frustration of wanting to rest, but suffering from an overactive brain that won’t stop thinking about work.

Rest sounds so good, and yet so hard to attain.

Spiritually speaking, this battle is fundamental to our understanding of salvation. Christ calls us to find our rest in him (Matthew 11:25-30) and to cease our striving (Psalm 46:10). We know that our salvation is dependent upon Christ’s work, and not ours. Yet, we find ourselves striving again and again to earn our standing before God.

In other words, we love the idea of “grace through faith and not by works,” but we fail terribly in the implementation of a grace through faith lifestyle.

Don’t get me wrong, there is a spiritual striving that we must be actively engaged in (Phil. 2:12), but it is a striving that takes place because of God working in you -not you working to earn a right standing with God.

Even in the midst of our greatest spiritual battles, we must -in the deepest sense- be at rest in Christ. Otherwise, like Augustine said, “Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.”

When we truly find our heart’s rest in Christ alone, our lives will enjoy the abundant life of grace. We might even enjoy vacation a little more too!