Can I be honest and admit I have so many thoughts about rest to share that they won’t all fit in one blog post? Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll be sharing more thoughts (and some secrets) for creating a lifestyle of rest.
Have you ever pictured rest as a pathway to freedom? I’m going to guess that, for most of us, rest has not ranked high on our list of priorities, well maybe, ever. Some of us even privately view “R-E-S-T” as a four-letter word, not to be spoken or thought upon . . . much. “Rest” received a bad rap in Christendom and in our society. Those who rest are considered lazy, or they’re not achieving all that they can. Those who rest must lead boring lives or aren’t living up to their potential. Are there secrets for creating a lifestyle of rest?
As we head into Thanksgiving and Christmas and into 2021, let’s consider rest. We’re moving into a time of the year where a holy quiet invites us into deeper fellowship with the Lord . . .
. . . into pondering the birth of Jesus,
. . . into meditating on deeper truths.
Instead of rest and stillness, though, we’re spiraled into busy-ness, We spin, trying to do all the normal daily things and piling on all the holiday activities and obligations.
S T O P.
Somehow, we must slow the pulsing demands we—and others—place upon us.
What Does it Mean to Rest?
What do you envision when you think of rest? Curling up in a soft blanket with a favorite warm beverage and a good book? A hot soak in a bath? Sleeping in until 10:00 in the morning?
Put simply, rest (according to Jeanne) is identifying the areas in your life where you’re depleted and doing activities that refresh you in those areas. I’ll talk more about this later.
Rest = Refreshment for our bodies, souls, spirits . . . for every part of who we are.
I know. That little equation appears simplistic. Actually creating a lifestyle of rest takes hard work.
There are two general categories for rest:
Active-doing those things that refresh the various aspects of who we are (we will talk more about this later)
God created us to need rest. So, why do we ignore this need and disobey our Father?
In the Ten Commandments, He said, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.” This wasn’t an “If you feel like it, take a break” suggestion. It was a commandment. And this is mentioned throughout the Old Testament.
4 Actions for Laying a Foundation for Rest
1. Before we can cultivate a pattern of rest in our lives, we must first explore why we stay busy. Can I be honest and say I’m a people-pleasing, yes-girl? But I’m working on this.
Here are a few things that can drive one to busy-ness:
- We find our value or worth in being busy. Someone asks and we say yes.
- We like to feel needed/indispensable
- We base our identity on what we do
- We’re trying to fill a hole inside us
- We’ve said yes to too many things and don’t know how to back out of them
So, I’m asking, what drives you to stay busy?
Secret: We must check what motivates our busy-ness and figure out what needs we’re trying to fill.
We all face busy seasons, but when busy becomes a lifestyle, we flame out.We all face busy seasons, but when busy becomes a lifestyle, we flame out. #Rest #Busyness #TellHisStory Click To Tweet
2. Be still and know God more. When we spend time with God in His word and in prayer, we can ask for His perspective on how we spend our time. When we invite God into the process of evaluating our motives and schedules, He will show us the changes we need to make.
3. Secret: We need to give ourselves permission to set things aside to refresh ourselves through active rest (again, more later).
4. We need to set boundaries on our time. When we say yes to something, we must say no to many other things.
When we commit to these actions, we lay a healthy foundation for rest.
Secret: If we intend to create a lifestyle of rest, we must redefine the importance of rest and evaluate the excuses we make for not giving ourselves permission to rest.To create a lifestyle of rest, we must redefine the importance of rest and examine our excuses for not giving ourselves permission to rest. #choosingrest #tellhisstory Click To Tweet
Sometimes God brings us to a place where “we either choose rest, or it chooses us” (and not usually in very nice ways). ~Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith MD, Author of Sacred Rest
Secret: Creating a lifestyle of rest takes work, and it requires a change in our mindsets.
When we invest ourselves into making rest a priority, we’re choosing to place our plans, our agendas, and our worries in God’s hands. Only then will we experience the freedom that rest offers.
What about you? What in your life makes it hard to rest? In what area of your life is God inviting you to rest?
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One of my favorite verses is “be still and know that I am God”! Thank you for this reminder with its practical ideas how to find rest in God. Just looking at your beautiful photos brought rest to me!
Kathy, that’s one of my favorite verses too. Lisa did offer some very practical ideas, didn’t she?
I’ve been chewing on your words for a few days, Jeanne, and I think I’m seeing that one way that God is inviting me to rest is by teaching me to take one day at a time. Worrying about tomorrow keeps me up at night, but turning those what-ifs into prayer calms me down and helps me to get the rest I need. Does that make sense? 🙂 I hope you have a wonderful, rest-filled Thanksgiving, my friend!
Lois, I like that way of practicing rest. It’s a little shocking how much worry can distract us from resting. I think your thoughts are spot-on. I hope you and yours have a wonderful Thanksgiving too!
Rest is sooooo hard and yet exactly what we need. My life verse is “Be Still and Know that I am God.” and it issn’t because I have mastered it. I love your thoughts on rest especially #1 the why. Thank you for your wisdom. Maree
Maree, rest really is hard. That verse is one of my favorites. I pray it most nights before I fall asleep. And lately, during the day I’ve found myself pondering it when I begin to feel overwhelmed. I’m finding a greater need to make rest a priority, especially during this time of year. Thanks so much for stopping by!
You have laid out a great challenge for us all.
Thanks, Lauren. It’s a challenging topic, isn’t it?
Jeanne, I related to the following words;
“Sometimes God brings us to a place where “we either choose rest, or it chooses us” (and not usually in very nice ways). ~Dr Saundra -Smith”
I am now living in the journey of this with chronic health issues one being chronic pain, for too long I pushed myself to help, to minister, working without enough rest. Now rest chooses me!
This is a very necessary series!
My post to share this week is, “Recognizing Grace in hard Times”
Jennifer, sometimes when we ignore rest and it chooses us, the effects are life-impacting, aren’t they? I hope, even in the place of having to choose rest to feel good, that you find refreshment. I’m looking forward to reading your words. 🙂
Psalm 23 holds great wisdom for this time in my life with these chronic health issues Jeanne especially;
“He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul”
I live beside quiet waters, He is definitely restoring my soul through balancing that all important rest with activity… physically, emotionally & spiritually. 😀
Psalm 23 is a beautiful psalm, and it is a sweet descriptor of one who lives in a place of rest. Thank you for sharing this, Jennifer!
I love your thoughts here – rest is so important. Times in the past where I’ve pushed myself too hard have made me see how important it is and I do try to be intentional about resting, though in practice sometimes it is easier than others! I think culture makes it really hard to value rest. I see people I work with who seem to find it impossible to switch off unless everything is done, but I’ve become much better at setting boundaries and realising that it will never all be done so at some point we have to choose to rest!
Lesley, I agree. Culture does make it challenging to value rest. We have to choose to switch off and unplug from our work and our busyness. And I suspect there are lots of reasons people opt never to do this. It’s definitely tough, but I think we can be more productive in our work when we also allow ourselves time to rest and refresh. I grinned at what you said about how “it’ll all never be done” so yes, we have to choose to set boundaries and do those things that refresh us.
Love the pictures of the ocean. They remind me of rest. Realizing that I need rest (a people pleaser and yes girl who is reforming) and my soul and being needs refreshment, helps me be more aware and intentional of resting. I am also learning to listen to my body, which means resting sometimes and dong things that bring me joy. Wanting to read you other thoughts on rest.
Theresa, I’m like you in that I am becoming more intentional in finding the areas where I need rest and then doing those things that refresh. And also like you, when I discover or do those things that refresh me, I know joy too. 🙂
Jeanne, such a life giving post! I do struggle with busyness for all of the wrong reasons and need more times of rest in my life. It wasn’t until recently that I understood the difference between active and passive rest. While a good balance of the two is needful, I found I was severely lacking in active rest; those things that speak life to my soul and renew my energy. Thank you for this post, I look forward to more in the coming days!
Donna, I suspect many of us struggle with busyness and the reasons behind it. Discovering what we lack in areas of rest is a good first step in making changes in our lives, isn’t it?
I’m interested in so many things! So many things are shiny in my world. I can say yes too much, out of wanting to help and trying something new. Recently in a book I am slowly reading, Dream Big, the author (Bob Goff) also challenged how our yes can lead us away from our dreams, our plans, goals, and purpose. Goff, and you both got me thinking!
Lynn, “so many things are shiny in my world.” Yup, I understand that. I love that there are a number of authors reminding us to be careful what we say yes to . . . for so many reasons. Thanks for the reminder that a “yes” can also lead us away from dreams, plans, goals, and purposes too. That’s important to remember.
I always think of Lysa Terkerst’s “the best yes.” Sometimes our best yes is a NO!!! Always great writing, Jeanne!
Agreed, Susan. Sometimes our Best yes is a NO. 🙂 Thanks so much for always being an encourager. 🙂
I celebrate Sabbath for 24 hours each week. No work (ok, I work at a boarding school, so once every 3 weeks I have to do about 10 hours of work on the weekend), no television, no social media, no worrying about stuff, writing, or getting things done. We often eat leftovers. Sometimes we go camping or on a long bicycle ride. I usually manage to go birding or take photos of something beautiful. Walling the concerns of the world out for 24 hours gives me the rest I need to make it through another week.
Anita, I love, love how intentional you are about rest being a part of your lifestyle. This sounds truly glorious. Thank you for sharing this!
There’s no point now in resting,
no motive to relax,
for doing so’s not besting
cancer’s harsh attacks.
Like the shark I have to swim
to breathe, indeed to live,
and though it all sounds pretty grim
I get more than I give,
for beauty’s door is ringed in fire,
and joy lives past the flames,
but this passage is not dire
for in entry one reclaims
the basic sinew of one’s soul
on which soft life had taken toll.
Andrew, this is beautiful. Your perspective always broadens my own. I’m so thankful that this world is not the end for us. We may get beaten up this side of heaven but that’s not the end of our stories. I liked what you said about joy living past the flames.
I’m praying for you and Barb, my friend.
Resting in Him. 🙂 I love the sound of the ocean. Pausing and enjoying His creations gives me peace.
Melissa, I love the sound of the ocean too. It’s so peaceful. I love what you said about pausing and enjoying His creation. That fills me with peace too.
Very insightful. I love your definition of rest. I definitely needed to read this. Thank you for sharing it.
Thanks so much for stopping by, Nia! I’m so blessed this spoke to you. 🙂
Jeanne, I feel like you wrote this post just for me. I am notoriously bad at accepting the fact that I need rest. I loved your definition: “identifying the areas in your life where you’re depleted and doing activities that refresh you.” I used to have a friend who always told me “stress is stress”. What she meant was mental/spiritual stress affects your body much the same way as physical stress. She was right, and so are you. Thank you for sharing this good advice on rest. I look forward to reading more about the topic.
Laurie, it’s so hard to acknowledge that we need rest. I like your friend’s take on stress. She’s spot-on, in my opinion. 🙂 May we both grow in understanding how to choose rest.
Such wise and fresh insight, Jeanne. I love your thoughts here, “Rest = Refreshment for our bodies, souls, spirits . . . for every part of who we are.” We often forget, or don’t think about, how God created us body, soul and spirit. No wonder David describes rest for the soul and restoration of soul in Psalm 23. And oh, how I love what Jesus said to His disciples right after they returned with a ministry report and with needy people and crowds pressing in, “Come wawy by yourselves to a desolate place with me and rest a while.” Mark 6:31.
Karen, as always your insights add much to the conversation. David must have had a bead on this idea that we NEED rest. We can rest so well when we’re in Jesus’ presence, can’t we?
Jeanne, I loved this thought > “We’re moving into a time of the year where a holy quiet invites us into deeper fellowship with the Lord . . . ” Amen! Even as the world around me may get louder, I want to be intentional and move into the holy quiet and wait for Him, for He will surely come as I make room for Him.
I’m with you, Joanne. I want to be more intentional about having deeper fellowship with the Lord during this time of year. May the Lord meet that desire with more of Himself.
I love how you differentiate between passive and active rest. I need to do more of both, especially with all the stress swirling around us! Thanks, Jeanne.
Yes, Lisa! I think the craziness that’s swirling around us was the catalyst for me wanting to better understand rest. I’m working on doing more of both active and passive rest too. 🙂
My problem is I get too busy doing things I think I ought to, or shoud do and then I get passive rest because I literally pass out dur to exhaustion. Active rest is really something I need to work on. When I create a decorative wreath for my front door or a centerpiece or floral creation for someone else, it gets the good hormones of rest cranking. Thanks for the call to balance! Your photographs are absolutely gorgeous!
Bev, I go through seasons where I get too busy too. I’ve been working on finding those activities that help me to rest. I find that creating things gives me rest too. That’s a great example of active rest.
As a younger mom, rest seemed non-existent. Now that I’m older, rest is essential, but there are days and weeks when it feels unavailable. When I schedule essential rest into my calendar, I’m more apt to do it. If I allow my growing to-do list to crowd out that rest, then I find myself getting agitated and grumpy. God commands us to rest because He knows we work hard, so we need to rest well to enjoy the abundant blessings He gives us.
Yes, Lisa! Moms of younger children have very little time for themselves, much less for rest. I like your idea of scheduling rest into our days. That’s about the only way it happens in my life. I’m like you . . . I get agitated and grumpy when I haven’t given myself time for rest. I love your thoughts here.
It takes so much faith to “set things aside” as you have said here, to leave results in God’s strong hands, but I see that this is the true rest He promised.
Yes, Michele! It is hard to set things aside, but I guess when we know the Person we’re focusing on, this makes it a little easier to do so.
Years ago while recovering from an illness, I had no choice but to rest. But that time really instilled in me the value of it. We have to be purposeful, or rest takes a back seat to everything else–so these reminders are so valuable.
Barbara, it’s kind of amazing how God wastes nothing, isn’t it? The older I grow, the more I realize how much every part of who I am needs rest. And, we can choose rest, or it can choose us, as in we can be laid up somehow and be forced to rest. I’m so glad your down time instilled in you the value of rest.