Image of a wooden fence in a barn yard...symbolic of the choices we make about busyness and rest

by Lisa Jordan

My grandparents owned a dairy farm. When my siblings and I were younger, we’d play in the barn with our large extended family. My cousin, who was a year older and my closest friend at the time, used to convince me to follow her across the barn beams suspended above the hayloft.

We’d practice our gymnastics routines, even though neither of us had any training. As we stood above our adoring audience of barn cats, we’d extend our arms and put one foot in front of the other to make our way across the rough-cut beams. Despite our stupidity, God’s angels shrouded us in safety.

An image of a long red barn on a grassy knoll


Balance was the key to moving forward without tumbling to the hay-scattered wooden floor about thirty feet below.

The same goes for our daily living. 

The Necessity of Clearing Your Plate

The week I’d received “the call” in January 2011, a friend shared a quote that made me rethink my daily responsibilities, and it prompted me to make some changes in my life. I could hear God whispering He had something more in store for me, but my plate was so full already.

Hay bales in a mown field

After releasing some additional responsibilities and clearing space on my plate, my agent called two days later with a contract offer for my debut novel.

The Struggle of Finding Balance

Finding balance in our everyday lives can be a constant struggle, especially when we have many responsibilities such as family, work, church, and trying to have some sort of social calendar while striving to achieve our dreams.

When I continue juggling work with meeting writing deadlines, caring for my family, being active in my church, and making time for friends, two things keep me somewhat focused—learning to say no and taking time for myself.

Horses and colts grazing in a pastoral field

Letting go and getting rest is a constant struggle, especially during those busy seasons in our lives. 

I’m a reforming people pleaser—I still have my moments. I’ve said yes to a lot of things because, well, I wanted to make others happy even though those choices created inner turmoil. I thought I was supposed to use my abilities for others. That’s good, right? Not so much if I was headed toward burnout.

An abandoned barn symbolic of how we feel when we push ourselves too hard

What Can You Accomplish By Saying No?

Saying no can be a challenge, especially if you’re afraid of letting someone down or feel guilted into shouldering a new responsibility. But the thing is you need to let go to ensure you’re getting the rest you need. 

Saying no reduces your stress by releasing time-consuming responsibilities you may not enjoy. By saying no, you’re allowing someone else to be blessed by taking over that role. You don’t have to say no to everything, but say no to things that steal time away from pursuing your goals.

A red cow in an open area with other cows in the background

Before planes take off, flight attendants instruct passengers on safety features in the event of a crash. They instruct them to don the oxygen masks before helping others. The first time I heard that, I thought it was selfish until I realized we can’t care for those around us if we aren’t caring for ourselves.

This means getting enough sleep, eating right and perhaps even exercise. Yes, I heard those groans. I’ve mumbled them on many occasions.

Also, no matter how full your calendar may be, you need to schedule in downtime to relax and refresh your spirit and creativity. If you’re on the go from the time your feet hit the floor in the morning until you fall into bed at night, then you’re going to be too worn to care for yourself, let alone anyone else.

A peaceful scene of horses grazing in a meadow with mountains in the background

Letting go and getting rest may seem difficult at first, but once you put it into practice, you’ll be on your way to finding that balance to keep from falling off the beam.

What about you? What is your greatest struggle in letting go and getting rest? What can you do to help free up time in your schedule to refresh your spirit?

Bio: Heart, home, and faith have always been important to Lisa Jordan, so writing stories with those elements come naturally. Represented by Cynthia Ruchti of Books & Such Literary Management, Lisa is an award-winning author for Love Inspired, writing contemporary Christian romances that promise hope and happily ever after. Her latest book, A Love Redeemed, released in September 2020. She is the operations manager for Novel Academy, powered by My Book Therapy. Happily married to her own real-life hero for over thirty years, Lisa and her husband have two grown sons. When she isn’t writing, Lisa enjoys family time, kayaking, good books, and being creative with words, fibers, and photos. Visit her at lisajordanbooks.com

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