There are many, many different ways that we can find rest. Some people like to be around other people, others may go for a run, or visit a museum after work. Since we are all different, we all rest and relax differently. When it comes to finding rest, here are four tips that help me.
Make it a priority | Rest may only come for a few minutes in the morning or it may not happen until everyone in the house is asleep, but I need to find moments where I can just be alone and recharge. I enjoy the quiet, especially in the mornings. I so badly want to be a morning person, because I love the start of the day as the sun starts rising, but I love sleep too! I'm the most alert in the mid/late afternoon, so, when I come home, that is typically when I rest. Then, I'll do whatever I need to do that evening, whether it be laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, or writing. But, once 10:30 gets nearer and nearer, my body knows it's time for some good rest -- sleep.
The point: find at least some time during the day where you find a little bit of rest, it's going to look different for everyone.
Break away from normal routine | This can be hard for me, because I do love a routine. I wake up, make my bed, get ready for work, drive to work (the same way every day), use the same gas station every time, come home (the same way every day), and put my shoes and bag in the same spot every day. My bed time is the same, wake up time is the same, and the way I turn on my lamp, turn off my overhead light, then turn on my box fan is the same. I am a person of routine. But, sometimes, I just have to get out of that. I'll take a longer way home or go roam Target right after work (dollar section always gets me) or I'll change what time I wake up in the morning to read whatever book is on my nightstand (right now there are about four or five). Breaking up my routine makes me look at my day differently and may help me to see a new way to find just a moment of rest.
The point: routines are not bad, but make sure rest time is included, and if it isn't, change up your routine to see where you maybe can find rest.
Do something you enjoy | I love to be alone and, thankfully, most of my friends know this and respect it (though they may not understand it). I enjoy having a day where I don't really see many people. I enjoy walking around downtown, taking pictures, and exploring. I enjoy hanging in my hammock reading until I fall asleep. But, I do also enjoy being with friends. Whether we go to the park, go kayaking, or to the movies, doing things that I enjoy helps me to rest and focus on just resting. The things that give us energy, may also help us to rest.
The point: doing something you love and enjoy should be something energizing and restful.
Get creative | Watch a movie. Paint something. Go for a walk. Pick out flowers. Write. Read a book. Listen to a podcast. Go kayaking. Go hiking. Drive somewhere. Take a nap. Go for a run. Play a video game. Take a picture adventure. Be alone. Go with friends. Cook something. Play an instrument. Go see a band. Watch Netflix. Get a cup of coffee. Draw.
The point: There is something that you enjoy doing and you aren't doing it. So do it and rest.
God is not only the place that I will find ultimate rest, because He is rest, but He also rested Himself. So did Christ. If God and His son, who are holy and controlling of everything, even time, needed rest, I think that it is important for me to follow their lead on this as well.
After God was finished speaking the world into existence, He saw that the things He created were good. Then, He rested. I tend to rest because I am hungry, angry, lonely, or tired and I just need a break from things. I know that during these moments, I'm so weak and I just need to take a time-out from things and come back to them a little while later. God, however, rested not because He was weary, but because He was pleased. In six days, He created the earth and all that moves on it and He saw that it was good. It was all that He imagined it to be and He was pleased at how His creation turned out. So, He rested, in a celebratory way. He rested so that He could watch all that He made, to enjoy and celebrate what He had just done. Then, He sat aside this resting day and made it holy, commanding us to observe it. That day, where He rested to celebrate His creation, is now the day that we observe and praise Him for all that He made.
God rested to enjoy His creation, we rest to enjoy the Creator.
Christ, being both man and God, also rested in a couple of different ways. And since Jesus was also man, I'm thinking He may have gotten tired, not just physically, but also mentally and spiritually. There are stories in the Bible of Jesus sleeping (and being woken up and slightly annoyed, which is totally me in the mornings) and drawing away into quiet places. He would rest in people's homes after traveling, He would stop to eat a meal, and He would draw away from the disciples to be alone with His Father and pray. For me, those are three great examples of how to rest. Especially the last one.
When I find myself getting angry or frustrated with people, or tired of being lonely, my first reaction is to shut down and not in the restful way! Instead of taking a moment to withdraw to a quiet place and pray, I voice my frustrations out loud to a friend or I ignore the situation in my stubbornness. Jesus didn't seclude Himself. Even when He was sleeping, the disciples were nearby, and although they couldn't always stay awake like He wanted them to, they were near.
Jesus would enter houses for rest, while His friends would welcome in rest.
Jesus tells us in His word that we are to come to Him when we are weary and burdened. His yoke is easy and burden is light. He is ready to help me carry whatever I have been attempting to drag alone. Jesus invites me to come into His presence and seek the rest that flows from Him. I welcome Him in, as I enjoy and praise God for the ultimate rest He gives.
Yesterday, I looked at a few different meanings of the word rest and how I was applying them to my life. Ultimately, peace of mind and spirit is the rest that I seek. Support is the rest I desire God to be. While I was reading the dictionary yesterday (I seriously did this a lot when I was younger), there was one definition that jumped out at me. To be at rest meant to be free from anxieties.
I'm not exactly sure when anxiety started to creep into my life, but I think it started slowly and then came all at once. There was a span of eight months in college where I went through some pretty scary and terrifying things. Literally, within eight months I had experienced two life-changing, hopefully once-in-a-lifetime, events that I hope to never experience again.
The fall of 2010 I was in a bad car accident with a college friend. Thankfully we walked away with just bruises and I had a small burn on my elbow. But, the other driver did not walk away...and our lives changed that rainy Sunday morning on a country highway. I walked away with memories that I will never forget and a slight fear of cars pulling into the road while I'm driving. I also walked away with a new sense of forgiveness that day. As we met the family of that dear man on that country highway and they hugged my friend and I as they assured us that nothing was our fault and they didn't want us to think otherwise. I didn't tell my parents the extent of the accident until a few days later after I had apparently been having some bad dreams in the middle of the night and my roommate encouraged me to finally talk. Painkillers, muscle relaxers, and the power of prayer filled the next weeks as I slowly watched bruises fade. Yet, I still don't like sitting in the passenger seat of cars very much.
The spring of 2011 I witnessed a town I had grown to love get destroyed by a F-4 tornado. I will always remember that beautiful, blue-skied day turning into blackness as we lost power and all communication with our friends and families. I remember how my friends and I hunkered down on the bottom floor of my dorm building, hearing the wind roar and rush outside. And how almost an hour later we found a friend who simply said, "it's all gone." Besides cell service, internet, and power being gone for a few days, I didn't lose anything that day. The semester was cancelled, but I stayed in Tuscaloosa to help with clean-up and deliver food. Besides not taking finals that semester, I was able to pack up all my stuff and move home for the summer like normal. Yet, that city doesn't look the same. Not just because things are rebuilt in different places, or even the fact that it's just bigger now, it all changed that day in April. I didn't lose anything, yet, the memories flood back when I hear a tornado siren and it could be perfect summer day, but I will still look for my place of shelter when I walk into a new building or move into a new house.
I drive everyday and I've been through plenty of thunderstorms and severe weather since those eight months a few years ago. But, anxiety still comes. I hate driving at night and in the rain, combine the two and I will change plans to stay home or wherever I may be. I pace the floor and watch radar maps intently when meteorologists say that things may get bad during the day. I get overwhelmed at the thought of the future and all the things I must do as an adult, but I also can't stop thinking about it and what I must be doing right now. I think about all the ways that I'm "behind" as a twenty-seven year old, but then remind myself that all paths are different.
The same God may be directing us down our paths, but each one looks different. What a marvelous, mighty, and loving God to know us each so well, that He guides us differently as it is perfect for us. He knows the anxieties that I face, He knows the root problem of them all, and He knows all the moments that they will suddenly appear.
My God also knows what it takes to overcome these anxieties. He knows the fears, the worries, and all the questions that come with them. And He shows me that He has the protection, the provision, the rest that I need. To be with Him, walking with Him, reading His Word, resting in Him is where I am free from anxiety.
Next to knowing random pieces of trivia, I love knowing the definitions and meanings of words. Certain words can have different meanings or uses and when I know their different meanings, I better understand the word, but also how to use it. The word rest has some different meanings in the dictionary and then in the Bible, but there are some that are the same as well. From the dictionary, rest is...
repose, sleep; specifically: a bodily state characterized by minimal function and metabolic activities | When it comes to this type of rest, I'm pretty good at it! The older I have gotten, the more that sleep means to me. I seriously wish we could take naps as adults and you bet I do on the weekends. There are some days where I come home from work and I absolutely need a nap, but I try to hold out for bedtime. When 10:30 pm nears, my body knows it and slowly starts shutting down on its own. Rest in this sense, I got it down and love it.
a place for resting or lodging | The first three things I thought about when I saw this meaning were: rest areas, hotel rooms, and my comfy bed. I love a good road-trip, but sometimes I just need a driving break and the rest areas seem to come at just the right time. Rest areas near state borders are the coolest, because they may also be welcome centers where I can learn more about the area (see my love of trivia in the first sentence of this post) and tend to have the best bathrooms. If a road-trip happens to have a hotel stay involved, I really like it. A good hotel makes for a good trip, so I try to choose one with the best pillows (even though I bring my own on every trip) and near good places to eat. Lastly, I also think about my own comfy bed, because although I love road-trips, there is nothing like coming back to my own bed where I can starfish sleep, with all my own pillows, and sleep until my heart and body are content.
peace of mind or spirit | This is the rest that I'm searching for, like I mentioned in the intro to this series. My mind is constantly on the go and that's not necessairily bad, but when I start to focus solely on one situation, without first praying to the Lord about it, my thoughts begin to snowball out of control. Soon I'm completely exhausted, not relaxed, and worrying about the future, instead of thinking about the day and the moment that the Lord has placed before me. Then, I let fear creep in and lies start to come about something, someone, or even myself, that if I'm not careful, I will start to believe.
something used for support | When thinking about rest as something used for support, I think about a walking stick that I might use while hiking. I used a stick sometimes when I hiked in Tahoe. I have bad ankles, little coordination, and I'm not very graceful, so I needed all the help I could getting up some of those terrains. It gave me the support I needed while climbing around rocks or as I walked down a steep slope. When I got tired, I could take a break and lean on the stick while I paused and caught my breath. This is the rest that I desire God to be for me. I want Him to be my support up the mountains, but also as I walk down into the valleys. When I get tired and don't think I'll make it anymore that day, I want Him to be what I lean on as I pause and take a breath. His Word tells me that He is my rest and He is where I will find rest for my soul. The hope and confidence I need to keep going is found in Him. He is the first and the ultimate place I need to turn to for support, for rest.
For the month of October, I'm writing about finding rest.
Click here to read the first post and find links to all other posts in the series.
"Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty." Psalm 91:1, NLT
Danger can come in different forms, whether it be physical, emotional, or spiritual. There are dangers of war, sickness, hate, our fears. Some of us experience one or two of these, while others experience them all. The battles I face daily may seem small in light of others, but spiritually, they are just as big. Whatever danger or battle stands before us, the thoughts of the enemy are just the same and he only has one intention: to pull us away from the shelter that protects us. The farther the enemy can pull us away from the shadow of the Almighty, the more he wins, and our small battles slowly snowball into messy wars.
God never promised us that we would be free from danger or trouble and Jesus said that we would have troubles. Many in fact. But what God does promise is His protection and help in the middle of those dangers, troubles, and fears. I love Psalm 91, because it challenges me to trade in my fears for faith. When I dwell in the shelter of the Most High, when I daily abide with Christ, that is where I find protection and that is where I find rest.
The shelters and shades I used for cover in the past are twigs easily snapped in high winds. God's shelter is a fortress and a shield. Daily - morning and evening - I need to seek this shelter. It's where I find strength and where I can peacefully rest.
Psalm 91, HCSB
"The one who lives under the protection of the Most High
dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.”
He Himself will deliver you from the hunter’s net,
from the destructive plague.
He will cover you with His feathers;
you will take refuge under His wings.
His faithfulness will be a protective shield.
You will not fear the terror of the night,
the arrow that flies by day,
the plague that stalks in darkness,
or the pestilence that ravages at noon.
Though a thousand fall at your side
and ten thousand at your right hand,
the pestilence will not reach you.
You will only see it with your eyes
and witness the punishment of the wicked.
Because you have made the Lord—my refuge,
the Most High—your dwelling place,
no harm will come to you;
no plague will come near your tent.
For He will give His angels orders concerning you,
to protect you in all your ways.
They will support you with their hands
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
You will tread on the lion and the cobra;
you will trample the young lion and the serpent.
Because he is lovingly devoted to Me,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him because he knows My name.
When he calls out to Me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble.
I will rescue him and give him honor.
I will satisfy him with a long life
and show him My salvation.
Let Psalm 91 challenge you to trade your fears for faith. Make your dwelling place in the shadow of the Almighty and find strength and rest.
Day 1 | Finding Rest (scroll down to read)
Day 2 | Trading Fears For Faith
Day 3 | A Place For Resting and Support
Day 4 | Free From Anxiety
Day 5 | Welcome In Rest
Day 6 | Four Tips For Finding Rest
Day 7 | Friday Is My Favorite
Day 8 | Where Rest Is Waiting
Day 9 | You Will Find Rest
Day 10 | Rest To Worship
Day 11 | Slowly and Peacefully
Day 12 | Whispers Of My Name
Day 13 | It Has To Be
Day 14 | Stopped & DaySpring Gift Card Giveaway! Enter in by Oct. 28th!
Day 15 | Looking
Day 16 | Something Continual
Rest is something that I think I've been seeking for awhile. I don't think of my life as super busy or rushing to get from one place to another and I don't even think about plans for the next weekend until it's actually arrived. I'm fairly good about giving my body the rest that it needs, because well, introvert. It's how I get my energy. The rest I'm seeking is rest for my mind and my soul. Although I'm not constantly on the go, I'm constantly thinking. Thinking about the future, wondering what steps I need to take, thinking about other options if the first one doesn't work out.
All of my thinking eventually leads to worrying. And that is what I need rest from. Rest from worrying, rest from stressing, rest from the what-if, rest from the fears. The rest I seek will only be found in the One who gives true rest, the Lord.
It's my prayer, that over these next 31 days, as I seek to find rest, that I may first come and abide with the Lord. I want to rest in His promises and know that they are true. I want to see that all I want and desire has already been gifted to me through Him. My mind and my soul have been seeking true rest and security. The things I have been asking for, praying for, searching for, and dreaming of can be found in Him.
He is my companionship.
He is my comfort.
He is my security.
The Lord alone is where I find all the rest I crave and desire.
So, Lord, let the rest come and fall on me...
For the next 31 days, I'm going to be writing on finding rest.
Is this something you need as well? I would love for you to follow along and journey with me as I seek to rest in Him alone.
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