Several months I listened to a sermon on the spiritual discipline of solitude. Oh, how my mommy heart loves that word! Just think, complete and absolute silence, with no interruptions, for more than thirty seconds!
I love my family so much, but lately, this solitude thing has been speaking to my soul. My soul longs for quiet, for a break from the chaos and noise, for rest.
I found it interesting that my pastor pointed out that as soon as Jesus heard about the death of his cousin and ministry partner, John the Baptist, he went to a quiet place to be by himself. Afterwards, while still likely in the midst of grieving his friend, Jesus found the strength to minister to those who needed Him.
Let me rephrase that – Jesus drew on the strength of His Father to minister to those who needed Him.
It is so easy for us women to overlook our need for solitude and rest. We feel guilty even thinking about it! But girls, our souls need it. In fact, God commands us to make the time on a regular basis to rest.
Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. (Exodus 20:8, NIV)
This command is less about rules like don’t cook, don’t clean, and don’t go shopping, and more about actual rest. God designed us to work, yes, but He also designed us to rest. To stop and smell the roses, to take a break, to reenergize.
There are many days where I don’t stop going from the moment I get up in the morning until the kids are tucked in at night. At the end of one of those days I am beat. It is all I can do to look at my hard-working husband, never mind try to carry on a conversation with him. This is particularly difficult for him to understand considering he is a night owl and gets his second wind right about the time I am starting to entertain a certain set of woolly sheep as I gaze longingly down the hall and count the minutes until bedtime. Too many days in a row of this kind of activity and I am practically useless come the weekend.
But isn’t it amazing how after a week of productivity, just one day of relaxing and enjoying our families is enough to recharge our batteries and get us going again?
I am slowly learning to value this kind of rest and trying to incorporate it into my day as often as possible. I savor my coffee breaks, slow down during supper, and set aside my evenings as sacred. In practicing rest throughout my day, albeit in small chunks, I find myself much more capable of tackling that ever growing list of things to do.
Still, when I think about Jesus going off to find rest from the crowds, I wonder if it was more about finding spiritual rest than rest for His body.
Physical weariness notwithstanding, I imagine it was taxing on Jesus to do what He was called to do, day in and day out. We often forget that while He was God, He was still wrapped up in a human body. Sometimes I can’t help but marvel just at all the walking He did in one day! Add to that crowds of people constantly coming to Him, pressing around Him, demanding He heal their sick and dying. I know He was filled with compassion and love for these people. And I know that it gave Him great joy to do what the Father called Him to. Still, there must have been days He would have been so tired at the end of.
If Jesus needed to go off by Himself to rest, it makes sense that we would too. In fact, after the disciples returned from their first mission trip, Jesus invited them to do just that. “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.“” (Mark 6:31, NIV)
Can’t you just hear Jesus whispering those exact words to your own weary soul?
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30, MSG)
We find rest, real rest, in God. Just like Jesus did.
I just love that.
No matter how busy we are, how long our to-do list is, we can find real, restorative rest in the One who knows what it’s like to be tired. In the One who created the world in six days and on the seventh rested.
Let us not get so busy that we miss the wonderful restorative power of simple rest. Let us make the time to go off by ourselves and be recharged by the One who gives us the power to do everything.
What is your favorite way to rest and be restored?Leave a Comment
Mari Larkin says
This is awesome, Andrea! I have always tried to make quiet time for me. Sometimes I felt guilty thinking it was totally selfish, but the more I mature, I realize God made us to want that time alone, to reflect, reenergize, refocus, and spend time with Him.
Thanks for sharing this. I am so excited, cuz after my crazy year I’ve had, and especially the past 3 months of work, work, work, with no down time for me…I am getting away to the beach for a whole week. wow. I am so looking forward to time alone, and all the awesome insights, discernment for decisions to be made and creativity it will restore to me.
I need that reminder. Thanks! I love days where I can read a book or just sit and relax with NOTHING on the calendar. It’s those moments of peace and quiet which are so difficult to find that bring me rest. I love Saturday mornings when my husband watches the kids and I can lock myself in the bathroom wtih my Bible and a notebook. That will fill me up and I can’t remember the last weekend I had that. I need to get that on my calendar!
allison morrison says
I also long for just a few moments of quietness! I LOVE my kids, but I just need a time to be restored! I keep thinking about going off by myself to an inn in the mountains and just being…with God and me! I think it would make me a better wife, mom, children’s leader, etc—but I haven’t done it yet—maybe I will soon!
Yes! This is so true and so important for young mothers to hear. As an older, gray-haired mother, I know what it is to get exhausted, frazzled, and just plain worn out. I wish someone had taught me to build in times of quiet, respite, and rest. I think we (rightly) want to pour ourselves out raising children for the Lord, but scripture reveals that sometimes even the prophets (Elijah, Jeremiah) completely exhausted themselves doing the Lord’s work. But He was gracious to them. I love the account of Elijah lying down under the broom tree and being given food and sleep by the Lord. Sometimes, that’s all we really need, isn’t it? And think how often our children’s attitude and behavior is improved just by a nap or a snack! I encourage women to go on retreats (yes, Dads, you can handle the kids for an entire weekend–you should bless your wife by encouraging her to go. For me, time spent with other women is life-giving and energizing. Great post.
Shawn Heeney says
It is SSSOOOO amazing how God uses people from far away on a simple place such as the web to minister to our hearts!! This is so true. I am leaving today for a weekend ladies retreat with my church. And have carried such quilt and nerve racking stress all week…because I was leaving the family. When are blessings so stressful?? The enemy trying to tell us a lie. Your post was wonderful and a reminder!!!. I so need the rest….have alot of ministry work coming along, plus the everyday ministry with family. A time to have my heart refresh by our Lord. Thank you !!!!
I love going to the beach. It’s one of those places that refreshes my soul. I don’t have the luxury of going there now that I live in Indiana. But when I travel home (to Florida) that’s the first thing I do.
I can take on anything after sitting in the sand and listening to the waves. It’s indescribable!
Note to me: Find a retreat place close by and regroup! I need it! 🙂
I am so in need of rest today after a glorious week of ministry… but also very tiring week of ministry… thanks for the reminder for spiritual as well as physical rest being important 🙂
btw… the ministry that we worked on this week had Mt 11.28 as it’s cornerstone scripture 🙂 love that….
Mel's World with Melissa Mashburn says
Well said Andrea, thank you so much for sharing this today…as a matter of fact I JUST had a time of rest. After the kids went off to school I went back upstairs, climbed into bed and went back to sleep for 3 hours. I never do that, there is always so much to do, but today I could just tell that I needed to do the very thing my body was telling me to do. Do I feel guilty about it? Nope, because I know that there’s only so much one woman can do and it’s even less if she is completely worn out and frazzled. Perfect timing my friend, perfect timing! Melissa 🙂
PS – You asked where we usually go…we live in Ft. Lauderdale, so for us our place to retreat is the beach, there’s something truly wonderful and relaxing about sitting on the beach watching/listening to the wind and the waves.
Joanne Sher says
SUCH incredible advice. It’s AMAZING what rest can do (gee – ya think God knew what he was talking about maybe? LOL). I like to play FB scrabble if I only have a few minutes, or read if I have more time. GREAT post, Andrea.
My favorite way to rest is curled up on the couch with a good book and praise and worship on in the back ground, I did that just last night and before I knew it, it was 5am!!
When you are in the presence of the LORD, time does not natter, no greater place to be then at the feet of JESUS!!!
My favorite thing to do while i rest is either read..or watch a girlie movie…i have three boys and a hubby who are all about action packed flicks soooooo this mama gets tired of it.
Thanks for the great post!
I have come to realize the same thing in my life. If Jesus went away often to a lonely place, I am being like Him when I do that! It only makes me a better wife, mom, and friend when I get that type of soul rest!
In fact…I need to schedule some of that right now!
Tonight I had my rest with a quiet dinner with my husband at our restaurant in our small town–and then, time to read your blog. Thank You
Thank you Andrea! Just this past weekend, my very dear friend and I were gifted a night out to dinner and staying in a hotel from our precious husbands. It was literally about 16 hours of time, but it was just what we needed. When I got home I was telling my husband that it doesn’t take much to refresh me~ it’s just has to be the right thing. Talking, praying and laughing with my kindred friend was just the right recipe.
Sometimes it is a walk after dinner by myself or just going on a Sunday afternoon to get my toes done. I love my family and the time I am honored to invest into their lives on a full-time basis. I also love that they see my need to sometimes have a moment to myself and do what they can to provide that time when I really need it most.
Jesus is a beautiful example and I love opening up the Word to see how His life reflects that kind of selfless love and devotion that I long to have flow out of me without any extra thought….Oh Father that you would wash over me with that kind of deep-rooted desire….all the time!
Thank you for this. I had a bit of different scenario than this happen with me.
After the death of my son this past March, I seemed to be on auto-pilot. Taking care of those around me, making the choices in what to do with my son’s body, what type of urn, what would be in the memorial, and the list goes on. I had a month off of work, which I was grateful for. Going back to work allowed me ignore my own needs for even longer. It wasn’t until almost 4 months later, that I just couldn’t handle anything anymore. I was beaten down so low.
After putting in my resignation at work, and finally moving out of my parents, whom opened their home and hearts for my husband and I in this difficult time. After that I was able to hide away and start to lick my wounds, start to talk to God and finally to hear what he said and to accept it. I had to get away from all, even my darling husband, to hear God and allow him to work on healing my broken heart. I can’t imagine living with God in this situation, he has been my bedrock and more.
In His hands,
Thanks for this word. I’ve been feeling the exact same thing lately, just really longing to get ‘quiet’ and find that solitude with God. I think we, especially as women and moms, need to slow down, learn to say ‘no’ to things we know we don’t have the time or physical & emotional energy for before we become robots enslaved to society’s ideals instead of our own and God’s! There is life after ‘no’! Let’s get our ‘quiet’ on and see how much more content, efficient, and ‘present’ our lives can be!