Two months ago, many of the contributors and team behind (in)courage gathered for our annual retreat, and this year it was on a beach in Cancun. While we are all writers, during our time together only a few of us wrote or worked or social media-ed. Instead, we rested. We talked deep. We laughed big. We ate well. We slept hard. (Some of us slept so hard that we kept our poor roommates wide awake at night with our deep sleep snoring. Ahem. Sorry, roommate.) We sat on the beach, toes in the sand and frozen drinks in hand and books on our towels and palm trees overhead. We read. We swam.
Now. I’m a mom of three kids age five and under. I work from home. In my real life, I am un-showered and probably wearing something I picked up off the bedroom floor. If I get four uninterrupted hours of sleep in a night that lasts until 7 a.m., I’m doing pretty good.
Is it my norm to escape to a sun-drenched beach for rest? Um, no. My norm is three minutes to myself in the bathroom. That’s actually a banner day, right there.
But I have to admit – gathering together with dear heart friends at a resort awakened me to my rest deficit.
Because I forget. I forget that He calls us to peace, to a deeper sense of calm. He calls us away from hustle and bustle. He calls us into rest. And it’s pretty countercultural right now to have white space on the squares of our calendars.
All throughout Scripture, God is revealed by, found in, and caught escaping to quiet. He models for us, for our very busy-doing-all-the-things-selves, how to embrace rest. Real rest. The kind that allows us to catch our breath, to laugh, to feel peaceful.
I don’t rest like Jesus did. I don’t even try. Since I can’t run off to the spa or the beach or take a nap, I don’t even try to rest, which is so backwards! Rest does not need a beach or a spa. Rest doesn’t even need a hot cup of coffee or a nap (crazy, I know, but true.) Jesus shows us how to accept rest, and it’s vastly simpler than we make it.
The way I see it, we need to do these five things to find and accept, as Jesus did, the rest that God offers:
- Run toward rest. It will never, ever run toward you. You need to chase it down, believing it to be as important as it is.
- Make time for rest, no matter what else is pressing. How many times were the disciples looking for Jesus, only to find Him alone in the quiet with His Father? Jesus had His priorities straight, no matter what was kept waiting. Others didn’t always see it that way, but we have the benefit of seeing the whole story and we know: Rest first. Serve second.
- Search out restful places. This could be the car, parked in the driveway after a Target run. This could be in the shower. This could be while you’re still in bed, before the grind of the day finds you. Jesus sought out places of rest that were within sight, within the path of His day, and then walked towards them.
- Seek rest diligently, faithfully. This is not a one-time deal. This is an over-and-over, seek-it-daily kind of search. Thankfully, His rest isn’t a one-time offer, either. The promise of rest and God’s presence in Exodus is available at any time, in any place. But we do have to seek it (see #1) and we have to do so diligently, consistently, often, faithfully.
- Create moments for rest amidst the to-dos. Make it work for you. Squish it in and around the regular happenings of your day. Pray in the preschool pickup line. Talk to God while waiting in the grocery checkout. Write the Word during your lunch break. If you don’t make rest a part of your normal days, the benefits won’t find you either.
That’s it. These are ways we can find and embrace rest when there’s not one sandy beach in sight. Jesus was a pro at seeking and finding His Father’s presence, then embracing the rest offered. We can be too if we’re really intentional about it. Let’s be purposeful in the ways we rest — nope, scrolling through Facebook in bed doesn’t count. His presence is worth any FOMO we may have.
We can do this, sisters, and we will be all the better for spending time and resting in His presence.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Can I just say how much those pictures made me smile?
Kim Kempf says
Me, too!! Love this photo of beautiful ladies with beautiful hearts! Blessings.
Me too!! I am still smiling! I wish I could click “love” on the last picture especially, with the 6 ladies sitting facing the beach, with their backs towards the lens. Love love love! Have a beautiful and restful day everyone:)
Great post, Anna! I tend to run a million miles an hour and totally forget about rest. Thank goodness Jesus modeled rest for us. I need to listen to Him and soak up His Word daily and rest in His love for me.
Blessings on everyone today! <
Thank you for your wise words. As I read your blog I feel God’s peace flow within me. Calmness…. This is my busy season of working, attending physical therapy, running after school to cross country running meets, dropping children off at band, chorus rehearsals and music lessons. I have been attending soccer games and practices, and Cub Scout meetings. I will continue to try and find the rest that I desperately need. Thank you and shalom!
Lisa Evola says
I totally do the one in bed before I get up. My baby is 19 now and I truly thought life would be more restful and peaceful…but no. I’m busier than ever working on those dreams that were only a glimpse when I was a mom of young ones.
So glad you all found a way to embrace restful togetherness!
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I must have known what you were writing on this morning. Usually, I’m up at five, but my husband took today off and we actually slept till 7 am. Whoa!!! Boy did that feel good! I love when you say you need to chase after rest because it certainly won’t chase after you….Amen! God has had to put me in forced time-out type rests after surgeries (yes, it’s that bad). You know, even though 2 months of non-weight bearing rest might seem like a life sentence to some, I really look back on it and savor the time God and I spent together. I really, really dug into His Word like never before. It awakened in me a new thirst that I have to be in His Word and meditating on it and talking to Him. When we practice rest, we realize just how much our mind and body NEED it. It’s not a luxury….it’s a necessity. Granted, I don’t have a 3 year old banging on the bathroom door when I’m trying to get one minute of alone time, but we manage to fill whatever time we’re given. I’m learning, albeit slowly, that I need to fill some of that precious time with rest. So good to see you and the girls frolicking, resting, and having fun…y’all deserve it!! Great post!
I should read and reread this post on a weekly basis. Chasing rest seems like such a foreign concept to me but I know it is necessary. I do take the time to pray in the shower and boy do I love long showers! But in order to care for others in the way the God honoring, I also need to take care of myself and find peace in our Heavenly Father! Thank you for this post and I hope you all enjoyed your retreat! God Bless!
Thank you for this reminder – We can take time to pray in the shower:)! I love it! God bless!
E F says
Thanks so much for this. It really spoke to me and set me in order in my l lunch break today after a busy chaotic and somewhat depressing morning.
God bless you all in this community as much as you have all unknowingly blessed me.
Nancy Drymond says
God saw we needed rest, thank you for sharing this beautiful message
Pearl Allard says
Anna, so true! Why is it I resist what I need? Long ago, when I was on bedrest during a pregnancy Psalm 23:2-3 sprang alive to me: He MAKES me lie down in green pastures. (Not in the desert or a bad place but in green pasture.) Yet I still need Him to help me do it. And when I chase after rest? (Love how you phrased that!)I find the RESTorer was chasing me all that time. Thank you for this post, Anna!
What a beautiful group of amazing ladies……the pictures also made me smile. This seems to be something that God is really tring to get through to me…..the theme of finding rest has been a recurring one lately…..not just rest for the body and soul but also being able to rest in the knowledge that He is there for us and we have nothing to worry about or to strive for….Thanks so much for your daily encouragement…
K Ann Guinn says
Thanks for this reminder. I love how you emphasized how important our rest is and how intentionally we need to pursue it. Now that I’m in my fifties, I feel this need more than when I was younger, but it’s not just physical. I’m learning how much a truly need a place of quiet to be still and hear God’s voice and feel his gentle presence.
It does go against everything our culture and our schedules scream at us, but I love the ways you’ve suggested to add it to our “normal” days, because you’re right. We can’t wait until the perfect vacation. I said as much to my husband while driving home from our wonderful early summer family vacation this year.
Lord help us to find his rest every day.
Rebecca L Jones says
My rest is a Pinterest board, if it’s flowers or angels or puppies. Anything that is beautiful. It gives me a lot to look at that is lovely. Sometimes, my rest is my writing, especially late at night in the quiet. Sometimes, I feel he types the words and I’m just there feeling His love. That is rest.
Love love love this post. REST is an often overlooked quality in the life of the Believer. And that’s quite tragic. A refusal or denial of rest is like ignoring a party invitation from Jesus and is a proclamation that “hey I can operate in my own strength and might.” As a mama of 6 it was hard to “find” rest until…I asked the Holy Spirit what rest would look like for me give and He answered. I pray that hearts grab hold of the truth you’ve shared and enter into His rest.
Thank you so much for this, my work tends to run me ragged and suck up way too much of my time. Thank you for the reminder that seeking rest is vital and making time for it is not selfish, it’s so needed for our well being! And the pictures are wonderful, such joy! Blessings to you for sharing.
What a sweet pictures. 🙂 How fun for y’all. — These past few months, I’ve considered “rest” my calling. — Agreeing with you that His presence is worth it. <3
Beth Williams says
I believe God is trying to tell us something. Currently doing Priscilla Schirer’s Bible study “Breathe”. It is all about Sabbath Rest. She talks of how God created the Sabbath for us to worship Him. We all need to have margin in every area of our lives. We get so busy doing life & “good things” that we forget to rest & worship Him. That is why He freed the slaves & made us – to Worship Him. We should all work at putting margin in our lives-even if it’s just 14 minutes a day!
Theresa Boedeker says
Love the point, Run towards rest, it is never going to run towards you. That is for sure. Ask any one who is burnt out and they will never say, Rest came and tapped me on the shoulder and commanded me to rest awhile. It’s up to us to seek out our own rest.