Have you ever found yourself running in twenty different directions completely spent and wondering why? Have you been trying the do the same things with zero change and feel totally depleted and defeated? No? Me neither…. said no one, ever.
RECOGNIZING MY NEED FOR REST
About two and a half years ago I found myself in the middle of one of the best seasons of ministry and in a great place with my family. In the midst of all the good things going on around me I felt this annoying nudge to step away from everything I had known and loved to press into something new, unfamiliar and quite scary. God was calling me away from busyness and into a season of rest.
The crazy thing was that in the middle of my planning and preparing to step away from my full time ministry position I had no idea what was waiting for me on the other side of my obedience. I thought I was stepping out, into my “next thing”. I thought He was calling to pursue the dream He put inside me to write and speak. My heart beats to communicate truth through spoken and written words.
So I stepped out, in faith, and began to do what I thought I was supposed to be doing. I had quite a few speaking engagements lined out that kept my schedule comfortably full. I spent a lot of time at the trails training for a half marathon. I maintained lunch dates and breakfast dates and shopping days with friends. I kept myself busy with ALL THE THINGS.
The funny part is, God let me. In His grace and goodness He allowed me to do what I wanted to do. After the first year of a full schedule my world was slowing down a bit and I didn’t know what to do with it. I felt like a lost puppy looking for something to fill my time and give me purpose. I was finally able to admit that for 15 years so much of my identity had been tied up in what I did for a living, I had to relearn how to just be me, and be ok with it.
MY JOURNEY TOWARD REST
Then, in a crazy turn of events at the end of last year, I found myself in Nebraska for almost two months while my mom was recovering from a traumatic brain injury. My world got very slow, quiet and reflective. I had lots of 11 hour drives alone in the car back and forth. I spent days and nights alone, in another town, away from my immediate family and my community.
It was in those days that I began to feel the ache of loneliness. That ache of loneliness was what the Lord used to draw me into my season of real rest. The quiet became less scary and the solitude was becoming more and more familiar. I was able to spend time alone, reflecting. I was able to spend time with the Lord in prayer, pouring my heart out to Him. He was realigning my priorities and releasing me from the unrealistic expectations I had put on myself.
THE PRINCIPLES OF REST
It may sound crazy to start this 31 day series with this topic but I feel it’s one that must be discussed. We can have a skewed definition of rest and negate the value of that which we were created for. Today I want to leave you with a few practices that have helped me learn to rest int he midst of this crazy thing we call life.
- If it’s not a heck yes, it’s a no. Simply put, if I’m not super excited to do it or feel a strong push that it’s something I’m supposed to do, I don’t do it. I’ve had to say some hard no’s to good things that weren’t my best yes (thanks Lysa TerKeurst).
- If I’m tired, irritable or irrational (you know what I’m talking about ladies) then it’s time to take a time out. When I’m worn out and emotionally, physically or spiritually bankrupt, the people closest to me feel the effects. I need to know when my gauges are low and be willing to call a time out. A time out can look like a quick walk around the block, a long hot bath or a trip to Target all by myself.
- If I weave the practice of rest into my day, week and month, everyone benefits. Set aside a few minutes to just breathe in the middle of your day. Taking time to regroup, reset and refuel allows you the focus to finish strong for the ones that need you most. Take a Sabbath day for your family where you unplug from the normal routine and all its demands and just be together. Playing outside, watching a movie together or going on a family outing can be just as refreshing as a nap and the time together will fill your tank. Monthly is pretty reasonable to schedule a day of nothing. And by nothing, I mean NOTHING. These days are the days I spend at home with no agenda and the day is wide-open for whatever fills me and allows me to rest.
COMMITTED TO REST
Now I’m in a new season of life. I’m saying yes to the things God says to say yes to. My schedule doesn’t overwhelm me and I practice resting regularly. Rest looks different for all of us and our lives have different demands. I’ve learned that the better I get at rest, the more effective I am in everything I put my hands to. Just yesterday I set aside a day to rest and the reward was returning to my work with peace, joy and ability to love what’s ahead of me, even when it’s hard.
My challenge to you today… take time to rest. Schedule rest. Commit to rest regularly with and for the ones you love. Practice resting until you get good at it. How are you going to rest today, this week and this month? Let me know in the comments and I’ll be praying for you as you pursue rest!
Let’s do this together!