A bird with his feathers ruffled, a reminder of how we sometimes get without rest in our lives

@JeanneTakenaka

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.

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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?

A peaceful beach sunrise, a symbol of  how life can be when we create 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.

A surfer stands between two frothy waves

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? 

A lifestyle of rest: three friends sitting at the beach

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

A white bird striding in the frothy waves

There are two general categories for rest:

Passive-sleeping, napping

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

A group of birds, a reminder that sometimes we allow others to dictate what we say yes to

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
An orange sunrise reflecting on the ocean waves as they roll into shore

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.

A meme with the words: "'Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your soul's.' Matthew 11:29 on a backdrop of a multitude of waves with whitecaps.

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.    

A person finding rest fishing on the ocean's shore

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

Next Steps

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?

This week, I’m linking up with Grace and Truth, #RaRaLinkup, and #Instaencouragements. Come join and read more encouraging posts!

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