A photo of fall colors reflecting in a creek . . . a reminder that we all need rest

@JeanneTakenaka

Who’s going to look back on this year and wave their hand wildly saying, “I was able to rest lots in 2020!”? Not me! This year shoved on us a constant, underlying level of stress. It’s encouraged worry. For some of us, 2020 added to our already busy lives as we began schooling from home, working from home, doing everything from home. “Home” became ground zero. And that’s not a bad thing. It’s different. But, this year induced chaos in ways many of us have never experienced before. When Home is ground zero, perhaps we need rest even more. 

A dirt path leading between tall trees turning colors

It seems like chaos influences my modus operandi now. I just know there’s going to be one more thing to deal with, one more task summoning my attention. 

We can’t always avoid chaos, but we have a choice in how we respond in the midst of it. Sometimes the first step in navigating through chaos is to see that we need rest.

When Life Feels Out of Control

God wasn’t surprised when COVID-19 crested the horizon of our lives and invaded our calendars and plans. He didn’t say “Oops!” when the government started shutting everything down. He didn’t say, “You know what? Don’t worry about resting during this season of history. Just do what you must to get through. Rest is less important than trying to figure out how to keep doing things you’ve always done.”

Colorful leaves holding snow remind one that even in hard seasons there is beauty and rest

I wonder if, instead, He’s wooing us into change? Perhaps, He’s drawing us—in the midst of hardship, in the middle of the mess—into deeper intimacy with Him, into slowing down our lives and learning how to rest? 

Most of us were probably a little too busy before 2020 hit. Then, sometime in March, our familiar lives tilted sideways as we tried to regain some semblance of normal. Many of us have grappled with non-COVID-related stress as well as the issues surrounding the pandemic. 

Yet, in the middle of it all, our Father’s words still hold true.

A meme that says, "For thus says the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel: 'In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.' But you would not," ~Isaiah 30:15 on a backdrop of a picture of a tall yellow-leafed tree with a blue sky backdrop

He tells us we need rest. I had grand visions for slowing down and preparing to write in October. But after some personal mishaps and a family situation, those aspirations faded, leaving me gasping for deeper breaths as I grappled with necessary adjustments. 

My first impulse was to shift into management-mode, to stay up too late attempting to do all the things so I can try to fall asleep at an almost decent hour. And then get up and do it all again tomorrow. 

I don’t believe that’s what God has asked me—or any of us—to do.

A picture of a tree with many branches shooting out from its trunk on a snowy day

We Must Choose

When we return our hearts to focusing on Jesus rather than our circumstances, we can begin to find rest for our spirits. Being still in His presence can increase our confidence. There is more to this verse and this passage, but this first part is like the invitation from our Father.

When we return our hearts to focusing on Jesus rather than our circumstances, we can begin to find rest for our spirits. #rest #perspective Click To Tweet
A meme with the words: "Come to Me all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11: 28 on a backdrop of a tree reflecting in still waters. A reminder that we need rest and there is One who offers it to us.

He tells us to lay our burdens on His more-than-capable shoulders. God asks us to relinquish control, release our agendas, and entrust our worries into His hands. He encourages us to choose rest rather than “do.” 

Not that there aren’t things we need to get done in a day. And, if you’re like me, there’s way more to do than there is time to do it all in. What are we supposed to do with that? 

A close-up image of curling red leaves with frost on them.

What does rest look like anyway?

Merriam-Webster defines rest, in part, as: “To cease from action or motion, refrain from labor or exertion . . . to be free from anxiety or disturbance”

How do we bring rhythms of rest into our lives? Over the next few weeks, I’ll share thoughts and invite you to share yours as well. I certainly don’t have this all figured out. 

We Were Created to Need Rest

Here’s what I know: God established a weekly sabbath, a time for rest because He created us to need it. And, He modeled rest for us.

Meme with the words: "And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done." ~Genesis 2:2 on a backdrop of trees in an early morning sky reflecting into a still stream

When we set aside all the things demanding our attention (and yes, it’s a deliberate choice to do this!) and accept His invitation to be still and know Him, this is when we lay the foundation for effective rest. 

When we set aside all the things demanding our attention and accept His invitation to be still and know Him, this is when we lay the foundation for effective rest #rest #perspective Click To Tweet

When we choose resting over busy-ness, our spirits, our bodies, our emotions, our souls learn to breathe deep. Stress releases its grip on our hearts, our muscles, our lungs, our minds. 

As we wind down from 2020 and prepare for the holiday season, let’s explore what it means to rest. Maybe God will reveal some tools to prepare us for whatever our future holds. 

What about you? What’s been the biggest barrier to you finding rest this year? What’s helped you to choose rest this year? 

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

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