Rest Confessions

I have been looking forward to April for months! The taping of my new Bible study is behind me. (Numbers: Learning Contentment in a Culture of More) The edits are done on a Christmas devotional as well as the Numbers Bible study and Leader Guide. Yet…. I find myself a little lost.

Leading up to a taping of a Bible study, I disciplined myself with no television or dessert for six weeks. While I missed my creature comforts, I felt focussed and dependent on the Lord. I needed to hear His voice clearly so I could speak and write His messages rather than my own. The season of preparation was intense, but now its over. Now, I hardly know what to do with my down time. I got so used to having an intense to-do list that I forgot how to navigate an unstructured day.

I stumble through the day…. eating junk food, checking social media and email every ten minutes, and battle an internal restlessness. I have things to do like laundry, grocery shopping, answering emails, closet organization, and getting my child’s forms filled out for a school trip. Yet I just feel aimless.

One minute I tell myself I need to rest. The next I feel the guilt of unproductivity. What I’m finding is that junk food, social media and TV isn’t actually restful to my soul. Afterwards I don’t feel calmer and more connected with God. The Sabbath rest of Scripture wasn’t just leisurely “me-time.” It was purposeful and intentional rest for the body, mind, and soul.

So that leads me to ask, what types of restful things will help me embrace God’s rest? What will bring restoration not only to my body but also to my soul? How can I feel a sense of peace and accomplishment without checking anything off my to-do list?

Recently I got the opportunity to participate in a radio interview at Family Life Today with Dennis Rainey and Bob Lepine. We talked about rest. (It’s a chapter in my parenting book.) I wrote about it in my upcoming Christmas devotional (Total Christmas Makeover.)  I write not because I’m an expert, but because I really want to understand God’s Sabbath concept.  I want to grow in it.

At one point in the radio conversation, I wanted to ask them, “Do you feel rested? Like consistently… in your body, soul, and mind?” I never got up the guts. But I wonder…. reader of my blog… Do you? Most followers of Christ I know, (including myself) operate at a pretty harried pace. The writer of Ecclesiastes said that all our busy rushing ends in nothing. Yet most people I know live in a state of busy rushing from one work project, kids activity, or ministry commitment to another.

My life verse is Matthew 11:28, “Then Jesus said, ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.'”  This appeals to me because from a young age I have battled a drive to do more and be better. It can be exhausting. Both in my body and my mind, I long to experience this rest Jesus offers.

How do you rest well? When I wake from a nap, take a leisurely walk, or sit outside and discipline myself to just be still, I get a glimpse… a small taste of this rest. But I want to experience it more often.

I would love to hear your comments, insights, and thoughts about rest. Usually I am writing about what God is teaching me. Today, I’m asking for wisdom from you!

  • What helps you connect with Jesus through the discipline of rest?
  • What restful activities are restorative to your soul?
  • When you experience a season of less structure, how do you navigate the mental hamster wheel?

I’m looking forward to hearing from you! I’m praying your day is filled with rest in your pursuit of Jesus.

“This is what the Lord says:
‘Stop at the crossroads and look around.
    Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it.
Travel its path, and you will find rest for your souls.'”   Jeremiah 6:16a

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