Life is busy. There are people to see, places to go, houses to clean, deadlines to meet, meals to make, things to learn, and books to read. Recently, I looked at my husband and said, “I just need another three hours added to today and then I will be caught up.” Everyday life takes work and sometimes a little extra caffeine.
We are a people in need of finding rest for our souls. Jesus says, “Learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls”(Matthew 11:29). Jesus is where we find our rest and Jesus is also a model of learning where to find rest. Jesus is our picture of perfection on how to find true life giving rest in a world full of to do’s. The world will always have one more task for us, but Jesus invites us, dare I say commands us, to go to Him and rest our weary soul. The very thought of a rested soul should drive us to Christ all the more.
How does this kind of rest fit into our everyday busyness of life? How do we seek Christ and rest when the phone always rings, or when “brother stole my Lego,” and our deadline is just hours away? Where do we even start to rest? Below is a list of practical ways I have found to help rest in the midst of busyness.
Wake Up Earlier
The reality is that we treat sleep as more precious than Christ most days. We have convinced ourselves that seeing the alarm clock in the morning at 6:30am is just too early. Christ is worth our time. “As a door turns on its hinges, so does a sluggard on his bed” (Proverbs 26:14). It is time to wake up.
As a parent I have sympathy with late nights and early mornings. I would still encourage you to wake up early. Use your mornings as intentional time to carve out your devotions. Teach your older kids (two and up) why you are letting them sit in their room a little longer after they wake up. Train your children in this simple way to show them the importance of Christ in your life. I have found that soon enough they learn it is not too exciting to wake up early.
Waking up 30 minutes earlier or more will give you time to sit in the scriptures, pray for the day ahead, and pray for those God has placed in your life. Start with 30 minutes and after a while you may realize that you desire more time. I have found that over the years, my mornings have become more and more vital to my rest in God.
Make a Space to Rest
This is not a magical thing. If I read scripture in the soft light of a lamp verses the bright chandelier, it will not make my time more holy. If I drink coffee verses a glass of ice water, my soul is not somehow “warmer.” Yet, there is something to be said of having a restful place that delights our senses and begins to stir our affections for Jesus. For a few years I have spent a majority of my mornings in a chair with a warm cup of coffee and soft lights. It is a place that I have worked and strived with God in His word. I have found comfort and hope in His Presence. It is a place that stirs my affections to worship Him through my day.
Pray without Ceasing and Memorize His Word
After the quiet morning has passed and the everyday busyness of life starts up, don’t forget Christ is still near. Pray through the day for guidance, wisdom, and understanding (Philippians 4:6-7). Memorize your favorite scripture by writing it on a piece of paper and carrying it in your pocket. Pray through that scripture during the day until it’s memorized. Memorizing scriptures is a way to remind us of Christ and His work in our lives, this gives us rest.
Rest at Home
There is a weight that earthly possessions bear on us. Our list of to do’s only becomes larger when closets are jammed full and paperwork sits in mountains. My husband and I have found that having less stuff in our home and keeping it fairly organized helps us to feel more rested. We have taken time over the last few years to clean out and let go of material things we no longer need or use.
Getting rid of material possessions may not be necessary for everyone. Would arranging your furniture allow you to look out a window to the mountains and be reminded of the mighty God that created all things? Are you constantly at the sink washing dishes staring at a wall? Maybe you can make it an art project and hang up a favorite verse there to memorize. The idea of creating a home that you desire to rest in and see as a place to honor God and seek him will play out differently for everyone.
I encourage you to rest in Christ daily. “Return, O my Soul, to your rest; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you” (Psalm 116:7). This verse is a great reminder to dwell on what God has done and the grace he has given us. In this very act, our souls will find rest. We find rest when our eyes are fixated on Christ and his infinite worth, glory, power, grace, compassion, and gentleness.