Two years ago, as some of you know, I walked through a time of extreme stress with our sons and with my mother breaking her hip and wrist in a fall. I couldn’t breathe deep. I didn’t stop to catch my breath. I barely spent time with God because of all the things pressing down on me. By the time Christmas Eve arrived, I was depleted in every way. I know people now who are enduring painful times of loss, uncertainty, and trauma. In my own season of extreme stress, I learned that when life throws nonstop stress at us, that’s when we most need to choose rest.
The wonderful thing about rest is that we can choose to make it a part of our lives. And choose we must. Last time, we considered how to begin creating a lifestyle of rest.
I was reading Psalm 121 recently, and the idea of being in the shade of God’s right hand stood out to me. Psalm 121:5 says:
When God covers us with His shade, we can either stay in it and move at His pace, or we can speed ahead into the sun’s harsh rays. God wants to protect us, even in the midst of hard seasons. He does this best when we yield our fears, desires, and drives into His hands, trusting His timing and His plan over what we may think is best.
Choose Rest in Every Season
Seasons of heartbreak deplete us, demanding much from our emotions and our mental capacities. We need to choose to rest in the shade He offers us. Sometimes, that may look like going to a private place, even if just for a little while and taking time to breathe, to pray, to process.
We’ll navigate stressful seasons better when we take care of ourselves. Placing our needs too low on our priority lists may sound holy, but it leads to burnout, to muddled thinking, and to discouragement. We all need rest.
It’s in the painful seasons when we need to choose:
To stay where God is,
To trust Him in the unknowns,
To trust in His timing,
The best over the good, even when that means withdrawing for a time.
When we choose rest—even when it seems like we don’t have time to do this—we walk better through every life season.When we choose rest—even when it seems like we don’t have time to do this—we walk better through every life season. #tellhisstory #rest #sacredrest Click To Tweet
How do we choose rest in busy seasons:
- Slow down our lives as we’re able. This looks different for each person. Take time to evaluate and sift through our activities, our priorities, our responsibilities, and then listen as God shows us what should stay in our schedules and what we should hand off to someone else.
- Pray that God will align our priorities and our hearts with His. This opens opportunities for rest that refreshes us.
- Be intentional about setting boundaries on our time and on our emotional investments. When we know our priorities, we know what we should or shouldn’t say yes to.
The Benefits of Making Rest a Priority
God knew what He was doing when He made rest a necessity. He knew we would need rest if we are to be equipped to walk through all life throws at us. When we choose rest, we experience the benefits.
Benefits of Rest:
- Our bodies, emotions, and souls learn to breathe deep—even in the hard seasons, the busy seasons. This enables us to face the stress and the many emotions in our lives.
- We can make wiser choices, less driven by stress. When we have allowed each aspect of ourselves to rest, we will think more clearly to make wise decisions, rather than allowing stress to dictate our thought process.
- We can savor our life. God created us to work, but He also created us to enjoy. When we do the work, we can and should take time to savor the lives we’re creating, rather than pressing right into the next task.
- Rest quiets life so we can listen with our spirit. “It removes the distractions. It pulls us close with both hands on our cheeks and whispers, ‘I’m right here with you.’” ~Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, Sacred Rest
We won’t always be walking in hard seasons. Regardless of what we’re facing right now, making rest a priority will enable us to enjoy life more fully in the easygoing times, and it will strengthen us for the difficult times.
What about you? When you are walking through a hard season, what helps you to choose rest? How are you making space for rest in your life right now?