Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Rest for the Weary. How Can I Get Some Of That?

photo credit: Creative Commons 
Apparently, God is trying to tell me something. He keeps pummeling me with articles, conversations, and scriptures with the same theme: restGod and I have had this conversation plenty of times, but there's something different about it this time around.

I opened my Jesus Calling devotional book the other morning, and the first sentence read, "You have been on a long, uphill journey, and your energy is almost spent." And I said, out loud, to page 296, "You. are. not. kidding."

I don't know about you, but sometimes I just get tired of climbing.

It's vital to have a healthy balance of work and rest, and I've learned how to set boundaries in my schedule. Technically, I'm doing all the right things to keep from working myself to death, but guess what...

I'm still tired. 

Or maybe weary is the better word.

I'm learning that I can set all the boundaries I want, say "No" more than I say "Yes", and create the perfect rhythm for my life, but still not feel rested. At all. Why is that?

Because life is hard (profound revelations are free today).  All the stuff I can't control presses in on me and wears me down. I worry, I stress, I freak out. I just can't help myself. And when I ask God what to do about that, He keeps saying the same thing.

Come to Me.

Trust Me.

Rest in Me.

Oh, is that all, God? HOW can I do that? It's so much easier said than done.

But I've found a few things to help me get there:

1. Release and Receive - Find a few minutes of quiet and literally assume a position of releasing anxiety and receiving blessing. In his book Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster calls this exercise "palms down, palms up." Hold your palms down and tell God exactly what you're releasing ("Lord, I give you all my anxiety about our finances. I give you my frustrations about my job.") After you've released everything that's weighing on you, turn your palms up and ask God to fill you with His peace or wisdom or whatever it is that you need from Him. It's such a simple act, but it really helps me let go of all the worries and fears that have my shoulders in knots.

2. Remember - Remind yourself of all the things God has done for you. If you don't know where to start, the beginning is always a good place. If you're breathing, it's because God gave you life and breath in the first place. Think back over your life and list the ten biggest things God has done for you. Write them down. Talk about them at dinner. If He's already done all that for you, just imagine what He'll do next!

3. Remain in the Truth - Find a verse that speaks to you and keep it in front of you at all times. Memorize it and say it out loud whenever the stress of life threatens to suffocate you. The Psalms have been my anchoring place lately.

"A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all."  Psalm 34:19

"I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears."  Psalm 34:4

"Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him."   Psalm 62:5

I definitely don't have it all figured out, but the more I practice these things, the easier it is to truly find rest in God.

How about you? Is this a season of energy or exhaustion for you? How do you find true rest when you need it?


  1. I'm in a season where I'm overwhelmed with everything I want to get done. I've been getting up just a little bit earlier this week so that I can have my time with God before I do anything else. That has helped a lot. I love the palms up / palms down idea.

    1. I've been doing that, too, and it really does make a difference. It seems backwards that less sleep can equal more rest, but it does.

  2. I totally have been weary lately, and have had to just do what I can and not fret about the rest. Last night, I was so tired I didn't do anything but read a book and watch TV. I NEVER do that...but it felt sooooo good. Just what I needed to recharge.

    But I also spent time this morning reading a devotion and sitting in the quiet. And that recharged me even more.

    1. Yeah, I think it's really hard to put things on hold to recharge, especially when you have writing (or other) goals that can only be met before or after work and all the other pressing life stuff. It's so important, though. I'm glad you gave yourself permission to do that. :0)

  3. Great things to help in resting! I find when I shut everything down and turn worship music on in my living room--just letting the words and music invade me, God refreshes and quiets all my anxieties. It's why I daily need time with Him!

    1. Totally agree! Worship music always helps me, too.

  4. It's been a season of energized exhaustion for me, if that makes sense. I have a lot on my plate, and each thing is such a blessing, but I'm getting exhausted trying to do everything. Juggling two careers is such a challenge, so we need to make choices as a family so I can work toward my goal of becoming a full-time writer because that's where I feel God is calling me.

    1. That makes total sense, Lisa. I'll be praying for lots of wisdom and clarity for your family as you make the transition to full-time writer.

  5. Definitely exhaustion! Is there a season of rest? LOL!