I’m writing this post on the heels of our first family vacation in 5 years.
During our time away, I learned 3 things about rest
- We need to know what relaxes us and facilitates our rest—and what doesn’t
- Sabbath is a discipline, a holy habit that needs to be cultivated
- Hard work is a gift and a vital component to our Sabbath rest
Today, we’ll talk about number one. Next time, we’ll start discussing the other two.
Do you know what relaxes you and facilitates rest—and what doesn’t?
In my day-to-day, pre-COVID life I was constantly on the go. I worked—doing ministry—during the day plus several evenings a week and some weekends. I was either writing, editing, researching, studying, or prepping Bible study lessons while keeping up with household chores and appointments. In the evenings and most weekends—I was off running from point A to point B. To carpool, practices, football games, wrestling meets/tournaments, track meets, and all the other things connected with my family’s life.
My calendar was FULL! Each person, event, appointment, and task had its own colored pen or highlighter. Seriously, my calendar looked like Joseph’s Technicolor Dream Coat. There was little to no time or space for spontaneity or last minute anything—let alone rest.
But I don’t need to explain this to you. Chances are, you lived this way too.
Thing is, I loved all of that!
I thrive on studying and doing research, writing, speaking, and ministry. I treasure hanging out with the other parents during practices and games, building relationships. I cherish loving on “my kids” (the athletes) and cheering them on like they’re my own. And last fall, I not only delighted in the impromptu teaching of my Bible Study on 1&2 Samuel, but I relished falling in love with the women in that Bible Study group.
ALL OF THIS FLOODS MY HEART WITH INTENSE JOY!
But as an introvert, it also ravages my energy.
To be blunt, by March I was fried! Burned out! My exhaustion was complete. My physical and mental health were taking a nosedive. I had nothing left to give. I needed rest. The problem was, I didn’t know how.
I was ignorant about what relaxes me and facilitates my ability to rest—and what doesn’t.
Then came COVID-quarantine. And later, this time away. Both were timely for me, and now I’ve got it almost all figured out.
When I rest:
- I need to be alone, quiet, and subdued
- I dress in cozy clothes, neglect styling my hair, and ignore makeup
- I enter my sanctuary, the sitting area in my office
- I love to listen to fiction (mystery/thrillers) on Audible as I putter, knit, or play mindless games on my phone
When I’m on vacation:
- I indulge in reading fiction; tuning out the world and fully immersing myself in the story
- I savor long walks or hikes, soaking in the flora and fauna
- I eschew screens in favor of being outside
- I want to take my time and not be rushed
- I don’t want to follow anyone’s rigid agenda
- I detest driving multiple places, spending hours in the car—tourist attractions repel me
- I avoid crowds or having to be “on”
- I don’t want to cook, bake, or clean
Do you know what relaxes you? Do you know what facilitates your rest–and what doesn’t?
What helps loosen the knots in your neck and shoulders? What restores your energy and gets you revved up? Recharged? Ready for the next round of demands and responsibilities? Like me, you may have idly thought about it but never put the pieces together.
So today I challenge you to seriously ponder this. I can’t overstate the importance of what you’ll discover.
I’ll even help you get started:
- Are you and introvert or extrovert?
- Does being alone zap your energy or replenish it?
- What are your hobbies? Passions?
- Which of these things relaxes you?
Knowing what relaxes you and what doesn’t matters! Without this information you won’t know how to decelerate your pace.
Often, slowing down your body is the key to slowing down your mind and untangling your emotions so you can be physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually restored.
When we’re able to take control of our thoughts and put them under Christ’s authority
- We’re empowered to direct our hearts back to Him and be spiritually restored
- He then equips us to discern God’s best for us and provides wisdom to evaluate our priorities and perceived “have-to-dos”
- He gives us insight to determine what’s necessary, what’s a distraction, and what’s an extra—and make the necessary adjustments
- This readies us to work hard and to work with excellence, godly attitudes, and pure motives. (We’ll dig more into this later.)
Remember: The Enemy’s subtly distracts us with “GOOD” to rob us of God’s BEST
Satan is the master of distraction. He presents many wonderful opportunities, really “good” things, even Kingdom building things, in order to keep us from God’s best. He hammers at us, playing the guilt card, keeping us in a perpetual state of overwhelm and exhaustion. He delights in our weariness and strives to keep us running on empty. He lies! Convincing us “Busy” is a badge of honor while feeding the work-rest imbalance.
To burn us out so we’ll stop following the path God’s marked for us. To entice us to compromise our faith and step onto the “easy” yet destructive slope of disobedience. To sow seeds of doubt and unbelief in our hearts, nurture them, and grow them into rebellion so we will turn away from God and cease to fulfill His purpose and call on our lives.
Resting our body and mind is a small yet powerful component to Sabbath Rest. It empowers us to refocus and redirect our mind and heart back to God, inviting Him to restore our souls, revive our Spirit, and rejuvenate our endurance as we continue to run our race.
So I ask you again: What relaxes you and facilitates your rest—and what doesn’t?
If you don’t know, take some time to figure it out. You’ll be glad you did.
I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments, so please leave a note. I promise to respond.
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