“What does rest look like?”
This is the question I got from a client a few days ago. At first glance, this question seems easy to answer.
Rest in its purest form means to slow down, get quality sleep, and simply be still. Simple, right?! Yes, and yet, not so much!
Life is crazy, especially in our 21st century living. We have a phone that keeps us connected 24/7. There is pressure to have our kids involved in activities all year round for fear they may fall behind. Our workplaces expect us to fulfill responsibilities that were once filled by two separate people. And we have larger homes and more stuff to fill these homes.
Regardless of what life looks like for you, one thing is certain. Our ability to rest has become anything but easy.
We are so accustomed to running and doing, we don’t even know how to rest anymore.
And yet, intellectually we know we need to rest. Without rest we wear out – quickly – with our bodies, minds, and souls taking the direct hit.
Today, I’m encouraging you to spend more time filling your hours with rest.
But, how do you rest?
Rest looks different for everyone. Despite the unique nature of rest, there are four ways all of us can rest. When done on a consistent basis, these ways of resting will renew and refresh us.
Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep is foundational to our health and wellbeing. We don’t need to look beyond the newborn years to remember our desperate plea for sleep. I will never forget how amazing 4 solid hours of sleep felt.
Why is it that so many of us take sleep for granted, staying up late to work or simply working late to get one last task completed before bed? Sleep is a gift from God. Our bodies physically need 7-8 hours of sleep a night in order to run at its best. Why not give ourselves the gift God so freely gave us?
As mama’s we have a to-do-list a mile long. The curse of this list is that it will never get done. I don’t know about you, but in order for me to cross off more items on the list, I begin to multi-task. I’m helping the kids with their homework, while doing the laundry and dishes, cooking, and setting the table. And that is just after school!
While women are gifted in multi-tasking, it is not something we should do. Rather than trying to accomplish every task on your list, pick 1 or 2 you need to focus on during the day. Work on each task independently before moving on to the next. This same concept goes for non-written tasks as well. When it is time to cook, just cook. When it is time to help your kids with homework, devote 100% of your attention to this one important task.
When these tasks are completed, be done for the day.
I’m learning (slowly) that life is not a race. If our responsibilities never end, why are we in a hurry to get them done?
Spend Time in God’s Word
I am not a theologian. I am not a pastor’s wife or was raised as a child of a pastor. I am a simple girl who started reading her bible a few years back. I was at a crossroads, trying to figure life out. For the first time in my life, I turned to the Bible to see what it had to say about how God wants me to live my life.
One day of reading God’s word turned into two, which turned into weeks and months, and now years. The time I have spent in His word has completely transformed me. I once pushed and hustled and said ‘yes’ to everything that came my way. I wanted others to see me as competent and worthy. I wanted their approval.
The more I pushed, the worse I felt. I was accomplished in so many ways and yet my soul was completely dry. It wasn’t until I started making reading the Bible, doing daily devotions, and praying that I found true rest.
I know that seems odd. How do you find rest while reading God’s word? There is no explanation I can give you (at least yet) to explain this. But, I do know that if you simply just try you too will feel this same rest I feel.
Start with devoting 5-10 minutes a day with God, praying, or reading scripture or devotion. Over time you too will be amazed at how God works.
Take Time to Do Activities that Fill Your Soul
This one suggestion of how to rest is where many people struggle. This is where my client is currently struggling and where I once struggled myself.
As I kid, I knew exactly what I loved to do and what brought me joy. I even knew it as a college student and a young professional. But, as soon as I had children, the daily demands of running a family and trying to be a professional career women, left many of those ‘soul-filling’ activities by the wayside.
Overtime, I no longer knew what filled my soul.
It took time for me to explore what fills me up. Of course my family brought me joy, but outside of my family I wasn’t so sure anymore.
I found that the activities that once brought me joy no longer did. I was lost.
Dear friend, if you resonate with this, I encourage you to not give up! Rather than simply dismissing this form of rest completely, I encourage you to start exploring what activities fill you up.
For some, spending time with girlfriends may be what fills her. For others, it might be quiet time reading a book, or volunteering at a local homeless shelter.
The activity itself does not matter. What matters is that you find those things that lightens your heart. With time, intentionality, and consistency, these activities will bring you the rest your soul so desperately cries out for.
As you work to fill your days with rest, remember to focus on a full-filled schedule rather than merely a full schedule.
I would love to share your ideas of rest with me! Hit reply to this email and let me know what fills you up!
Praying you through,