I have to be honest but today I am exhausted. And not the I could go sleep exhausted but the my brain is not working well exhausted. You know, the kind of mental and emotional fatigue that just settles in and keeps you stuck…on the couch…watching Netflix….
We all have these times in life. We’ve finished a big project, we burned the candle at both ends, our kids kept us up too late, stress is piling up, or we are dealing with strong emotions (panic, fear, anxiety, grief, trauma, or sadness).
This is a life reality for all of us. None of us is super human; none of us can keep going and going and going without eventually burning out. Life is hard sometimes, if we are honest, life is hard a lot of times. So what do we do? How can we manage the demands of our lives but find time to rest and recharge?
In our busy, hectic culture, rest is an unknown concept. As I have gotten older, I have decided that rest is so much more than getting a good night sleep (although that is clearly important). I think rest is more comprehensive. I think it involves:
Values: Knowing what is important and a priority in our life. So often we spend time and energy on things that really hold no value for us.
Boundaries: Knowing our limits and being able to say no to things (even good things) of lesser value to us. Knowing our values can help guide how and when we set boundaries around our selves and our time.
Self-Care: Making sure that we know the things we need to function healthily and what things are revitalizing and recharging for us. Taking care of our whole selves emotionally, mentally, physically, relationally, and spiritually.
Self-Compassion: We are all imperfect and limited. Self-compassion is recognizing and accepting our limits without judging ourselves harshly. It’s giving our selves grace and permission to be human.
Safe Mutual Connections: We are made for connection with other people. People who are aware of their own struggles and imperfections. People who accept us for who we are (warts and all). Spending time with people like this is refreshing. There is no judgment, just love, grace, and freedom.
These are all ideas found throughout scripture and modeled by Jesus. Maybe our Creator God knew how much we would need rest. Perhaps that is why He rested on day seven. Perhaps that is why he calls us to rest in Him. Perhaps that is why He initiates and draws us to Him. Perhaps that’s why He says “It is finished” (John 19:30).
“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul.” Psalm 23:1-3
“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17
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