Are You Unable to REST? Here’s a Potential Reason

Are You Unable to REST? Here’s a Potential Reason

Many people struggle with restlessness at a deep level. Everyone has days or seasons of feeling disconnected from themselves and God, but many people feel that way a lot—beyond what is “normal.” They are constantly trying to prove themselves, or they strive to reach a standard of some kind. It’s like they can’t relax and just be who they are.

Their heart believes things like “I’m an intrusion,” “I shouldn’t be here,” or “I need to go above and beyond so I can show people I’m worth their time.”

But the Holy Spirit is saying to restless hearts, “Restlessness is not what I have for you. Striving and trying to prove yourself are not what I have for you. You get to REST with Me. You don’t need to be anything other than the beautiful person I made you to be.”

In order for us to hear God more clearly and find the rest He has for us, our heart needs to be healed.

But what do we need to be healed from? Sometimes there is no obvious reason for the restlessness.

“Why can’t I rest in You? Why am I driven by this urge to perform?” 

“Why do I feel like I’ll die if I make a single mistake?”

“Why do I constantly feel like I don’t belong?”

If you are struggling to rest, and the Holy Spirit hasn’t revealed an event that caused this restlessness, it could be the event or situation occurred before your mind can remember. But your spirit remembers. 

The Spirit vs. the Mind 

The Bible contains several references to the spirit understanding what the mind does not. 

One of the “biggest” scriptural examples is John the Baptist before he was born. The moment Mary greeted her cousin, the tiny, unborn child in Elizabeth’s womb jumped around and rejoiced.

Why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:43–44 NKJV)

How could an unborn child recognize the mother of another unborn child? Obviously, his mind didn’t know what was going on—but his spirit did. This was a spiritual reaction, not a mental one.   

James 2:26 says, “The body without the spirit is dead.” So we know that the moment the living body comes into existence, the spirit is present. According to Scripture, that spirit is capable of experiencing and expressing many things. Here are just a few: 

  • Belonging (Rom. 8:16–17)
  • Distress (Acts 17:16)
  • Prayer (1 Cor. 14:14)
  • Trouble (John 13:21)
  • Worship (John 4:23)

The concept of the human spirit knowing things the human mind does not isn’t a new concept but a very old one. We can see it at work in Proverbs 23:7, which says that as a man thinks in his heart, so he is. What the spirit experiences the heart manifests. The heart is wounded when the spirit isn’t nurtured the way it should be.

When we’re doing prayer counseling, one of our greatest challenges is to get people out of their mind and into their heart. Western society downplays the heart, and even much of the Church teaches that the mind is more important. Yet the heart is what manifests in our life.

When people approach heart healing only intellectually, they don’t get very far because the moment something comes up that does not mentally compute for them, they throw it away. “This isn’t true—it makes no sense.” 

When it comes to heart healing, we can’t rely solely on the mind: our own understanding and human perceptions. We have to step beyond the mind and start communicating with our heart, because that is where we were wounded.

Being unable to rest can be a sign of a heart wound that needs healing. What does your heart believe that makes rest—resting in God, resting in who He made you to be—difficult?

A Child’s Spirit

Here is an unfortunately common example of how heart wounds can happen even before birth.

Because a child’s spirit is fully aware from the moment of conception, they know whether or not their parents want them. Their mind doesn’t comprehend anything, but their heart could be wounded because of what their spirit senses. Even in the womb, they can start feeling like they are a great burden. The parents may not say, “You aren’t wanted,” but they say other things that the little child’s spirit picks up on.

“I don’t know how we’re going to afford this child. We’re not in a good place financially.”

“Why didn’t you use protection?”

“This wasn’t supposed to happen!”

Or one of the parents could take on a martyr complex. “Now I have to provide for another person. I have to take care of them. It’s not fair!”

The child’s spirit in the womb is sensing all of this. Again, the baby isn’t “conscious” the way an adult is. The mind isn’t aware of what’s going on, but the child’s spirit is very aware. If the child’s spirit concludes, “I’m not wanted,” this impacts their little heart and plays a huge role in how they think and feel growing up.

A child who believes they aren’t wanted could struggle with striving, performance orientation, anger, trying to prove themselves, difficulty bonding, an irrational desire to please other people, believing they are a burden to those around them, etc. 

Any child—now adult—who believes these things won’t be able to fully rest in God or in who they are. Their heart needs to be healed.

A Prayer for Healing 

If you struggle to rest in God and be comfortable in your own skin, here is a simple prayer. This is a good prayer to pray even if you don’t think you struggle with early childhood wounds. Pray this for yourself and over your children:

I say to you, heart, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ that your life is not a mistake. God made you in His love. He called you into being at the right time and place. He prepared a way for you and gave His life for you. You are a privilege, not a burden; a joy and delight, not a disappointment. You are not an intrusion—you belong. You are a treasure just because you are, not merely for what you can do. You are one of Father God’s own children, and He delights in you, and I delight in you. 

Ask the Lord to reveal any lies you have believed. Then choose to come out of agreement with those lies. You could pray something like this: “Lord, I repent for believing this way, and I come out of agreement with the lie.”

If you recognize the lie started with a person, forgive them. Maybe your parents didn’t want another child, they wanted a child of a different sex, etc. Or maybe when you were young, your parent implied or told you outright that you would never amount to anything. 

Ask God to take to the cross every destructive attitude, expectation, personality structure, habit, or pattern that doesn’t look like Him.

God is pouring all His love on you, and He is inviting you to grow into the fullness of your own life—restfully, as He planned for you from the beginning. May the love of Jesus fill your heart like a healing balm. May the Lord give you a sovereign gift of rest, trust, and peace, and may He cause your entire being to be integrated with wholeness and harmony as you are reconciled to who you really are.

If this topic moves your heart, check out Growing Pains by John and Paula Sandford. If you’re trying to live for God but struggling with emotions you don’t understand, this book is geared to help you tackle unresolved issues left over from negative experiences in your early years. Click here to learn more.

Back to blog

1 comment

Great blog – love this ministry; Glory to God in the highest

Carol Dikes

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.