I looked something like the picture above.
I had no idea what else I could do to fix it. I was tired, frustrated, out of bright ideas to help it. Dinner was always late; all the kids wanted my attention at the same time. AND, each time I set my mind to complete a task, looming songs, and eery words would ring,
“Bomi, you still have to fold that pile of laundry on the floor in the laundry room, it’s been a week and a half! You have pending and imminent emails that need your attention. You are not showing much love to your kids; they feel neglected! What?! Face it, you are not that organized and your friends are doing it better than you are.”
And the thoughts went on, and on, and on, highlighting shortcomings as a wife, mom, daughter, friend and everything in between.
I. WAS. DONE.
I felt frustrated, depleted, and almost like a failure? Why was I so TIRED?! And why did it feel so chaotic?
I prayed about this dilemma and felt led to read Psalm 127 and got stuck at verse 2.
In vain you rise early and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat -
for he grants sleep to those he loves.
I also observed a little superscript (d) next to the word 'to' and read the footnote which said, "Or eat -/ for while they sleep he provides for." Which means God grants rest or sleep and while we are sleeping and resting, God continues to work to provide for us. God continues to work to meet our needs. BUT, we have to rest or sleep first. WHOA!!!
I read this, and I was convicted but encouraged! I was frustrated because I needed REST. Not in the sense of taking a nap (although that is always good), but rest as in placing my complete trust in God to guide me, to tell me what I need to focus on, to rely entirely on Him to work out things beyond my control. I didn't seek God to ask, "what do you have before me to do at this time, in this juncture of my life? What needs a yes or no? What is the purpose of this season I am in?"
Shaunti Feldhahn put it well in her devotional for women titled, Find Rest. A women’s devotional for lasting peace in a busy life,
“Exhaustion has become the social norm amongst busy women. And let’s admit the hard truth: We often find ourselves glorifying the busy schedules, giving ourselves a pat on the back when we squeeze one more commitment into an already too-packed day and admiring others who seem to handle the juggling act as if they were a professional in a three-ring circus...As we push ourselves beyond what we were designed to bear, we also overlook the physical and emotional signs that we're doing too much. We rush at breakneck speed right into stress that God never intended us to bear. Remember? He gives rest to his loved ones”
Sweet friend, we are made in God's image, and He, too, rested after he created the earth which lets me know rest is a necessity and it does us good not to avoid it?
But how do we rest in a culture that glorifies having a full and color-coded calendar? And subtly praises the lifestyle of busy?
Here are three things that help me find REST even when it feels like life is moving at crazy's pace.
1. Schedule it
I realized very quickly that if I didn't schedule the time to rest it will not happen. To combat the temptation to put off my rest time, I asked family and friends to hold me accountable and asked them to remind me that I can always go back to complete my unfinished projects since I am the type that will not stop unless I finish a task and I can cross it off my to-do list. Something else that may deter us from resting is guilt. There are a few who feel terrible for taking a rest day and think it makes them appear lazy. I understand but here is the reality, when you rest, you are more productive, useful, and even more delightful to those around you :). Furthermore, God wants us to rest so schedule it.
2. Invite Him in
Matthew 11:28-30 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.”
A yoke, as pictured above, is a beam used to pair animals together to help pull a load, to share the weight. It is often crafted to fit the necks of the animals, so it doesn't hurt them. In this same way, God invites us to carry His yoke, a yoke that is easy and is uniquely crafted to Him and us so He can help us take the weight we have. He is inviting us to share the burden of our responsibilities as parents, employees, caretakers, ministers, supervisors, and more with Him so He can help us. In other words, we need to go to Him first. Give him our burdens - our chaos, frustrations, hopelessness, doubts, uncertainties - and allow Him to teach us, and address any areas in our hearts that may need His healing, His comfort, His encouragement, His affirmation. It is then we will be able to hear clearly and sense what it is He wants us to do in the season we find ourselves. And when we come to that knowledge, we will have freedom in saying yes to what aligns with the assignment God gives us and no to what does not.
3. Make the most of it
This one is simple and practical, embrace your hobbies. Enjoy what God has given you to enjoy. On the days I rest, in addition to spending time with the Lord in prayer and reading his word, I try to do things that bring me joy. For instance, I enjoy making stationery or DIY projects. Something about fine paper turned into a beautiful platform of communique gets me giddy inside. So I spend time crafting note cards or designing unique invitations. I find I am rested and more joyful because I entered into a place of creativity that God has placed inside of me. Perhaps yours is writing blogs, or sewing amazing outfits, sending encouraging notes, writing songs, or even cleaning the house (yep, that is a joy for some), whatever it is, enjoy it, embrace it, make the most of it, and allow the Lord to give you peace and rest doing it.
Here is an excellent podcast from Dr. Barbara's Whole Life with guest, Jennifer Dukes Lee on How to get stuff done and still rest in the Lord. You will be encouraged. Wherever you are in life, or whatever is going on, God wants you to rest in Him. He is the author of your life and knows you better than anyone else. It is also in this place of resting in Him that you will find more peace and freedom. May God grant you rest in Him. Do you have other ways you find rest in God? I would love to hear about it, so please share.