Good morning dear friends! How is your Thursday? I hope it’s going swimmingly. I’m actually writing to you from a plane as I travel back home. I’ve spent the past few weeks enjoying time with my family and resting up. But now, the fall semester seems to loom before me with a crazy schedule and a long list of to-dos. Some seasons are busier than others and this next one is going to be extra extra nutty.
The more stressed out I’ve become the more I need to remind myself to just rest. I don’t mean rest in the “let’s watch Netflix and lay around all day,” way though. I’m talking about soul rest.
When life moves fast, we often get lost in the blur. While we run from here to there, we start missing each moment. Our minds become a bit of a blender. One of my goals for this year was to live my life in full color. That means seeing and appreciating each moment. It means living to the fullest each day.
Jeremiah 31:25 says, “For I will satisfy the weary soul, and every languishing soul I will replenish.” God said those words to Jeremiah, a prophet, about the restoration of Israel and Judah. They were under an oppressive rule and most of that passage references their mourning and how they will see joy in the future. Ultimately, that joy is the coming of Jesus when their sins will no longer be remembered.
Having a relationship with Jesus changes us. It changes how we live our lives. He ultimately is the one who renews us. He refills our souls. He keeps us going in the hard places.
So how do we access that rest? How do we find our rest in Him and conscientiously pursue that?
First and foremost, we need to rest our minds. When our gears are turning a little too fast, we start letting life run us instead of us running our lives. I rest my mind by spending time with the Lord. Usually, this looks like having a quiet time with the Lord when I wake up.
This doesn’t mean I spend an hour in intense Bible reading each day (I wish!). Sometimes it means sitting and just praying. Sometimes, I just put on a worship album and go to town. Sometimes, I journal and read scripture. On mornings when I just wake up late, I have also taken to downloading sermons and listening to that in the car on the way to work or school. (Matt Chandler’s church, The Village, is my favorite app!)
Spending time with the Lord is often easier and more simpler than we think. Some mornings, I dive into an inductive study and soak up the beauties of scripture. But other mornings, I just need to soak in His presence.
Remove the stigma that your quiet time needs to look a specific way. Spending time with the Lord is kind of like grabbing coffee with a friend. Each time is a little different but they all lead to one thing; knowing each other better.
Secondly, I think taking a break from technology is a majorly overlooked form of rest. One of my favorite parts of working at a camp this summer was not having access to technology. It’s beautiful.
You don’t have to answer each text message. You really don’t need to be constantly connected to others through social media. Each day, take at least some time to just live without those pressures. Maybe that means leaving your electronics in the living room when you go to bed. Buy a regular old alarm clock and take some time before falling asleep to disconnect. Maybe this means turning off your cell phone during meal times. Maybe it means disconnecting for a certain amount of time each day.
Whatever works for you, I think you’ll be presently surprised at how it feels to release yourself from the pressures of constant communication. I look forward to the relief of turning off my cell phone. It relieves a ton of pressure.
Thirdly, don’t be afraid to set aside time for yourself. I am a notorious over-scheduler. I am such a “yes,” person. I love new opportunities and find it almost impossible to turn down anything. I’m just no good at saying, “no.”
I’ve fallen in this trap again and again. While I’m still working on that, I have also come up with a strategy to help force myself to stop every once and a while. I’ve taken to blocking out times to just be me. Sometimes that looks like taking a few hours to just be alone. Sometimes I block out time to grab coffee with a friend or run to the gym.
I basically make dates with myself. I even write them into my planner because, for me, this mentally blocks out the time. When I think of it this way, it’s harder for me to break that time or let something else invade.
I’m going to let y’all in on a secret; life is always going to be busy friends. Honestly, have you ever heard someone say they are in a slow season? It happens but it’s rare. So be careful as you run through life. Don’t allow yourself to become soul-tired. God is an excellent giver of rest and He offers this freely.
Take the time to find your restoration in Him. Honestly, you can’t afford not to. I’ve let myself become over drained on multiple occasions. Not only does it feel awful, it sets you up for failure. We are not at our best when we are overworked and overtired. Like little kids, we tend to sin the most when we go overboard.
I want to be a person of joy. I want to be a person who values others and is fully present in each moment. I want to love well. I can only be that kind of person when I fully rely on the Lord though. He is the one who has taught me what joy looks like, what love feels like, and what soul peace is.
Y’all, I can’t tell you how to not be stressed. I can’t tell you the “three magical steps” to feeling refreshed. Because no matter what suggestions you take or steps you try, your ultimate rest will only come from the Lord. Seek Him first my friends. There’s so much beauty in knowing Him.
Friends, life is better together. So let’s start living in full color together. I’m praying for y’all and I’m about your success. I’d love to hear from you and know any specific ways I can be loving on you! I hope you find your rest in the Lord.