My Mind Won't Stop
It was just one of those days. Nothing was working the way I had hoped, conflict abounded, my body was tired and my mind overworked. As the day progressed, I attempted to give myself a boost with every mom's favorite drug: coffee. However, it didn't really work so I decided it was time for a nap in the afternoon. I laid there in complete and utter doneness. I was done communicating, done fighting, done parenting, done wifeing, DONE with all of it. I got cozy in my bed, ready to shut off. My eyes closed, I breathed deeply and prepared for rest. But a funny thing happened...my mind kept going and going and going, racing at a frantic pace.
I am a firm believer in the power and necessity of rest. It usually comes pretty naturally to me, but I observe it because it also happens to be commanded in the Bible (Sabbath anyone? That's an ENTIRE DAY of rest every week!). When I read about Jesus I find He rested as often as He could. He would go off to a quiet place and rest. He met a woman at a well and changed her life as He sought rest. For some reason, God designed rest with us in mind. I think it's because He knows we are an easily distracted group.
That day as I was becoming frustrated with my lack of real rest, it occurred to me that the rest Jesus experienced wasn't actually simply napping and stopping all work. There was more to it. It seems when I look at it as a holy experience - a time to disconnect from self, worry, and life - I am able to reconnect with God by getting still and quiet. Then I truly enter into God's presence.
I've often wondered what happened in Jesus's moments of rest. Over time I have come to realize that maybe God didn't let us in on that because we're each so uniquely made, that rest is going to look different for each of us. Perhaps He also knows that we like everything to be easy and if He let us know what Jesus did, we'd try to make a formula out of it and do exactly that. But the best times of rest come when I let go of formulas and plans and simply experience Him as He leads.
There's More To Rest Than Resting
Over the years a number of different things have worked for me. One of the biggest has been learning how to meditate. (In reality, we're all meditating in some form, every day. The question is what are we meditating on.) I spent a year working with an app called Headspace that taught me how to meditate. I worked my way up from 10 minutes to 30 minutes of meditating over the course of that year. I had some of the most amazing experiences with God during those times. I truly experienced His presence! I have also found that guided meditations really help me to rest. There are lots of free apps that you can find and we also offer guided meditations on our site.
Often listening to music can help me to get out of my mind and reconnect with God, or taking a walk works too. Another practice to try is taking a moment and repeating a Bible verse or truth about who God is while slowly and deeply breathing for one to five minutes. Truly there are so many different ways to not only physically get away, but to also mentally and spiritually get away. Opening yourself to God's leading in those moments and following His direction is always the best.
The Unforced Rhythm of Grace
As I sat in frustration that day, I felt a nudge to pray and so I started that. I asked God who He needed me to pray for. Every time someone or something popped in my head, I prayed and claimed a truth of who God is for the person. After a few minutes, I ended up falling asleep. When I woke up, I was refreshed in every way and able to go back into the day connected to Love.
It is so important for each of us to take times of rest. Not just once in a while, but often and daily. The kind of rest when we get away from OUR concerns and judgements and worries and old thoughts. It's the real rest Jesus talks about in Matthew 11:28 when He says, "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.”
What About You?
What does real rest look like in your life?
Where can you find time in your day to get away and rest in God's Love?
Join us this week as we walk with Jesus and rest in His unforced rhythms of grace. Share with us in the comments below or over on our Facebook page. Let's inspire each other to make the bold move and follow God's command to rest.