The world is moving a little slower these days. It feels like days last months and months last years. I miss the days of being shocked by the coming of a new month. Now I can’t believe it’s still 2020.
With all of this abrupt and unexpected change, you would think rest would be so much easier. And yet, we all seem to be more exhausted than normal. Even though I have less places to go and things to do, I don’t feel any more rested. How is it that life can slow down and we still don’t know how to enjoy the rest God calls us to?
Rest doesn’t just happen. You have to be intentional about it because it’s counter intuitive. It seems so simple, but this season of life is proving we aren’t very good at it.
Here are 4 ways to build rest into your daily life.
1. Leave space in your day.
“In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat—for he grants sleep to those he loves.” (Psalm 127:2)
Society trains us to believe that the more you do, the more successful you are. We want to pack everything into each day and say yes to everything asked of us. We toil to provide for ourselves, and we feel the need to provide everything for ourselves. But that actually runs counter to what we’re told to do in Scripture.
God says that he grants rest to the people he loves. Rest is a gift from God that we too often refuse.
Sometimes rest looks like leaving space for you to physically, mentally, and emotionally to not live at full capacity. If you’re constantly filling up your day from morning to night then you aren’t leaving space to rest your mind, heart, and soul. This is a hard truth to apply because we don’t want to miss an opportunity.
I was recently asked to be interviewed on a well known radio program regarding an article I wrote. I was so excited and thought it was such a wonderful opportunity. It was also incredibly affirming of my gift of writing.
The only downside was that the interview was going to be an hour long at 5am.
I was determined to make it work even though my 11 month old has been waking up multiple times in the middle of the night. I knew I would be utterly exhausted. Because, even when you want a nap, an 11 month old isn’t running on your time schedule.
But after much consideration and trying to be intentional about incorporating rest into my life, I decided this was not a wise choice.
It was a hard decision to make. I was worried about losing an opportunity. But we serve a God who cares for our overall well being and he doesn’t only open doors that will cause you to run yourself into the ground. The rest he offers takes into account all of the potential opportunities. You can let go and trust he will care for you.
Building space into your day allows for moments of rest. And this is a way you can step into the abundant life Jesus has for you.
2. Find small moments to be alone.
My current life stage of parenting a little one makes moments alone seem absolutely impossible. I’m sure anyone caring for a child can relate.
Taking moments of solitude allows you to reset and refocus on what’s important, so that you can better handle the day. Jesus was constantly showing this to his disciples.
“They went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.” (Mark 6:32)
After a long day of ministering, healing, and serving large crowds the disciples were exhausted. The crowds were still coming late into the day. So Jesus had them take a moment to just be alone.
I know how hard this is and how impossible it feels. But even a small 5-10 minute window of being alone with no one talking to you, requiring anything of you, or needing you is good for you. Jesus will use this time to restore and refresh you. Yes, I’m sure you need more than this small window but even a small moment helps.
I’ve had many friends encouraging me to find these moments and cherish them. There is so much wisdom in this small act and it’s a manageable step to build rest into your everyday.
3. Keep Jesus on your mind.
“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isaiah 26:3)
Where you allow your thoughts to wander has a huge impact on your whole life. A friend just gifted me with a book called Get Out Of Your Head by Jennie Allen and it’s so helpful to remember the power your mind holds. I haven’t finished the book. But so far, it affirms the truth God has been telling us all along and now we even see science supporting.
Usually, the way we think alters the way we respond and view situations. When your mind is constantly on the trust you can place in Jesus, rest becomes part of your normal life. It’s a lot of work to worry and fret over situations. It wears you down physically and emotionally.
To live with the security you have in Jesus on your mind is to live in his rest.
Ultimately, this has always been what Jesus had for his people. He wants us to trust him. He wants us to find rest in the peace he brings. Peace doesn’t mean a trial free life, but it does mean living with peace no matter what comes your way.
4. Build in time for Jesus.
Most Christians know how important it is to read the word of God daily. It’s a discipline I used to be really good at, but one that I now struggle with.
It’s another one of those simple things we know to do. But it’s so hard to incorporate into our daily habits.
We can find time to watch tv, mindlessly scroll through social media, and stay up to date on the latest politics. But reading the Bible is such a challenge. This is a tactic from the enemy. He wants us to constantly be bombarded by all of the words that bring exhaustion and worry instead of the words that bring life.
I’m not only challenging you to build a few minutes of reading the Bible into your day. I’m challenging myself. Even if you have to combine reading the word with your small moments of alone time, do it. We should fight for this time. Force yourself to make this time happen.
Failing to spend time with Jesus is detrimental to your overall well being. He built our souls to need him. He cares for you far better than you can care for yourself. The best kind of holistic rest you can find is found in Jesus.
You can’t live without rest.
We don’t all experience rest in the same way. But we are all in need of it. In the same way that we can’t live without water, we can’t live without rest. This is the way God created us. He has also ensured the best kind of rest is found in him.
We can take time throughout the year away to find rest. But it’s much more effective to build it into your everyday life.
Jesus built you to rest. Embrace it.