Updated: Aug 11, 2022
"I don't have time to rest."
I’ve heard that sentence flow so quickly out of my mouth more often than not, and admittedly almost as more of a badge of honor. I had defined parts of my identity rooted in my belief that; a constant full calendar of productivity, steady streams of a completed task list, or lightning speed response times to work or the needs of others was a clear indicator of my value. At the expense of my rest.
Often, I'd notice my anxiety heightened, my patience lacking, my unrest most noticeable when I was overly "plugged in." Over the years, I've seen the struggle between prioritizing the worldly value busyness has on my life and how that clashes with God’s desire & gift for me to be still.
Jesus Valued Rest
In the Word, it’s clear that rest is not only of value but a necessity. Jesus, without fail, observed a weekly Sabbath (Luke 4:16) and took the opportunity to rest and renew by spending time alone with God and personal time with those close to him. Jesus, who undoubtedly had intensely important responsibilities, made wise decisions to intertwin the busyness of His duty with time away and off.
This time away from others, from the constant stream of service and doing, allowed Him the opportunity to refuel, be of a sound place to return to that work, and be of even greater service and clearer mind. We can find countless examples of Jesus retreating to places of stillness in some of the most pivotal times He required rest or faced significant decision-making or discernment (Luke 6:12-13, Mark 7:24, Luke 22:41, Mark 6:30-32). I knew Jesus’ lead is one I NEEDED & WANTED to follow. If God and His son value rest intently, so should I. Looking to dig even deeper into this truth? Check out some of my favorite "Be Still" scriptures, and our Be Still Impact study by filling out this form.
How I Pause to Be Still
Take a Sabbath. Make a non-negotiable date on your calendar to rest, recharge, renew and spend isolated time with God through the Word and in prayer. Don’t become overwhelmed with making it "perfect"; instead, make it a work in progress until it becomes a habit that is second nature to you.
Disconnect from Electronics. On my day of Sabbath, I began unplugging from electronics by turning off devices. I quickly realized how plugged in I was to the world, distracted – and the time that felt hard to come by for the stillness I now had. I encourage you to check out your own "Digital Wellbeing" by tracking the time you spend "plugged in." Many smartphone devices include this as an app on your phone; tracking was an EYE OPENER for me. Weekly, an overview of my "digital wellness" would be sent straight to my phone, and it was an encouragement to see that time decreasing each week, knowing that meant the time spent in stillness and Sabbath was INCREASING.
Discovering Simple Joys. When I gave myself the space and permission to weed out the busy and schedule more of the “still," I started to notice the simple things that brought me joy. How the breeze sounds moving through the Weeping Willow in our yard, the brightness of the firefly lights that dotted our fields when the sun went down, the connection to nature I love by walking barefoot through the grass, the depth of my son’s laughter when he has our undivided attention. The blessings and relationships in my life had more fullness & richness, and when I reflected on them through lenses of "stillness," I felt I was seeing them the way God intended.
Create Accountability. We are human, and by nature, it is an encouragement and support to build community with one another. It has been helpful to me to have honest conversations with my spouse on what we want "stillness" to look like for ourselves & our family. To encourage each other in how to create it and simultaneously hold each other accountable when tempted to not stick to it or need a sound voice to ensure we make space for it when needed. I've also plugged into wise counsel within my friendships, sharing what has worked with us to create these still spaces and to encourage and hold one another accountable equally. It's been a joy to see how we each might relate with one another other and to know we aren’t the only ones striving & working towards channeling some of our distracted busyness to renewed rest.
Practice Grace. You may be reading this with a charged sense of wanting to change everything at once. Creating spaces of stillness in your life and your relationship with God is personal work. I've had some Sabbath "fails" – great intentions hit with shiny temptation that I fell for hook, line, and sinker. Was it discouraging to my heart, yes? However, that "fail" encouraged me to strengthen my stillness more and take that temptation straight to prayer. Learning to be still hasn't just been about the moments I got it blissfully right. Instead, it's taught and continues to teach me that it is a gift worth accepting.
Unplugging has connected me to God in a beautiful and fulfilling way. Often, I have allowed His voice to be silenced by the loudness of the world. Distractions that steal the peace, peace I've now seen may be found when I make quiet time with Him and stillness for myself non-negotiable. I've discovered I have the time for rest by eliminating the strongholds of busyness.
This summer, I challenge you to be still. You might be surprised what it restores.