Stressed? Rest! 4 Ways to Be Still in a Busy World

Rest. It’s something we all need, yet when life gets busy it’s the first thing to go. We schedule an activity into every empty space on the calendar and end up exhausted from being spread way too thin. We women like to think we can do it all, and sometimes we’re not the best at saying ‘no’ to those extra commitments that would be better handled by someone else.

I’m totally speaking from experience here - I often find myself repeating a cycle of taking on too much, neglecting my own self-care, getting overwhelmed by everything on my plate and having a breakdown. There’s got to be a better way to do all the things without running ourselves into the ground!

In Matthew 11 Jesus says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light." Isn’t that refreshing to read? What a great reminder that we don’t have to carry all those burdens by ourselves.

The Bible teaches the importance of rest on a number of occasions. Jesus often withdrew from the crowds to spend time in solitary prayer. He knew He couldn’t pour into the people who needed him from a place of emptiness - He prioritized time to be filled with the Spirit first. This is so freeing for those of us who feel guilty about taking time away from our responsibilities. Here are four practical ideas to help you build a habit of rest into your busy life:

Observe the Sabbath - isn’t it interesting that God enjoyed a day of rest after creation and then commanded us to do the same? Though we as New Testament believers are not bound to the law, the idea of a Sabbath rest is worth practicing still today. It doesn’t have to be on Sunday, or even for a whole day - but allowing yourself a weekly work-free time to reflect on God and be refreshed is the goal. How you go about it is up to you: take a walk at the park, go sit at a cafe, unplug with a good book, write in your journal; do whatever will fill your spirit and refocus your heart on the Lord.
    Evaluate your commitments - every so often it’s a good idea to take an inventory of where you are spending your time and energy, and make the necessary changes to preserve your well-being. It’s okay to step down from leadership roles, turn down social invitations, and not sign the kids up for every activity under the sun! If your commitments are causing undue stress or having a negative impact on your home life, give yourself permission to cut out the things you can live without for a season. You don’t have to do everything for everyone who asks you, and you don’t have to feel guilty about saying no.

    Create margin - what do I mean by this? A margin is a border; an empty space around something. We need margin in our lives so that we can adjust to unexpected challenges or needs that arise without being completely overwhelmed. This applies to our finances, our time, and our energy. Are you constantly busy from sunup to sundown? It’s exhausting to live that way and have no extra time to stop and breathe. Sometimes life throws us a curveball, and we need a buffer in place to absorb the things we didn’t plan for ahead of time. Leave yourself some room to add extra cargo without it sinking the boat!

    Practice self-care - we all need time to relax and recharge. It enables us to fulfill our roles with enthusiasm and to face the demands of our daily life with an attitude of joy. Have you been consistently tired, grumpy, or short with the people around you? If your heart is your gas tank, are you running dangerously close to empty? Go get a massage or a pedicure, have lunch with a friend, go on a date with your significant other, or spend a couple hours alone with your phone on silent. (Sounds wonderful to my inner introvert!) You’ll feel like a new person if you care for your own spirit the same way you always care for others. Consider this your permission slip to treat yourself to something special once in a while so that you’ll be better equipped to pour out and refresh others!

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