And He said to them, “Come aside by yourselves come apart to a deserted place, and rest a while.” For there were many coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.Mark 6:31
Hi family! Welcome back to Picking More Daisies! I hope you had an incredible week! Before we get into this post, I want you to take a deep breath and say aloud one thing you are grateful for in this moment.
Personally, I am grateful for rest.
I know that seems like kind of a silly thing to say in the middle of a pandemic. I mean, really???? Out of all things, I am grateful for REST? It sounds strange, but even though we are in the midst of all of this, my soul has felt tired! Maybe after saying this, you feel this way too?
It took me a little while to figure out the subject matter for this post, but something has been tugging on my heart for a little while to write about rest. The sermon last Sunday was about finding good rest, the book I have been reading is about soul searching, and my sleeping pattern has been actually ~nuts~ for the past week. And then, this morning before I had some Jesus time, I said to myself, “Okay, God. If this is what You want me to write about, then You will let me know.” And guess what my morning devo was all about?
(I mean okay… It was not really that difficult to figure out, but everyone needs a little win here and there, so CONGRATULATIONS!)
The verse in red at the top of this page (Mark 6:31) is Jesus telling His disciples to retreat from chaos and lean into Him to find the rest their souls so desperately craved. (Just a heads up, when I write verses from Jesus, they’ll be in red!) Didn’t Jesus’s disciples already spend a lot of one on one time with Him? How could they possibly get any more of it and how would it actually help?
Well, the prompt that accompanied this verse today asked where my favorite place to rest is, and at first I answered with the cliché by the water. I know it is ~super cheesy~ but it is also ~super true~. I feel a kind of relaxation and restoration that I rarely find in other places when I am at a beach or a lake. For some reason I sleep better and breathe a little bit deeper. That is all well and good, but what about during everyday life?
Where can my soul go to get that kind of rest when I need to hit the pause button on a normal day?
And that was when I really began to think. Honestly, it did not take as much brain power as you might think. I realized that for a little release when I am stressed or life is so noisy that I can’t hear my own thoughts I will go for a drive. Really, truly, that is where my brain first went. Going for a drive. But going for a drive on warm, sunny day with the windows down as I am listening to worship music or a sweet little country love song (I used to hate country, but that is beside the point). I thought of some more ideas like FaceTiming a friend (because ya know COVID and distance) or spending time with my family or taking a walk while listening to a good podcast or my times with Jesus or…
I finally realized where my soul feels at rest, and there are two things in common. The two places where my soul feels the most rest are when I am fully present and when I am inviting Jesus into that moment.
I believe that quarantine has been the biggest blessing in disguise for a number of reasons which I will discuss in a later post, but it has also come with quite a few challenges for me. Where I was physically distracted with work and school and various social commitments before March of 2020 (I know, it feels like the Tiger King era of quarantine was forty years ago), I am mentally distracted now. Truthfully, my life before this season did not require that much brain power. It was pretty easy for me to numb out and go through the motions of being who I thought everyone else wanted me to be.Quarantine has been a time for a lot of hard work and the most growth I have experienced in this short amount of time. For that I am truly grateful… and ~fully~ exhausted!
So, back to the whole reason I am writing this post!
It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.Psalm 127:2 ESV
You may be asking yourself, how am I supposed to find rest for my soul in a time where life has been the most mentally and emotionally draining? Well, these are a few things that have helped me!
1. Sleep!!! It is so important! I am not sure why we need a certain amount of hours, but I do know the invention of the lightbulb really threw us all out of our natural circadian rhythms. Make sure you are getting at least 7-8 hours a night and remember that lack of sleep does not hit you the following morning, but it takes until the NEXT day! I am always in my worst moods when I have not been sleeping well, so setting a routine for about an hour or two before I get in bed has been helpful! It is a physical reminder to my body to start slowing down and shutting off.
2. Spending intentional time outside of your home! I generally like to go on walks outside, but I have to plan my day so that I am not hit with the mid-day Virginia heat and humidity. It can be so easy to forget to leave your space when you have been cooped up for quarantine and getting a change of scenery LITERALLY helps to change your perspective!
3. Setting a schedule! Honestly, this one has been the most difficult for me, but it is the one I have found the most necessary. I really have no idea what to do with my free time whenever I have it. If I do have some, I will 100% end up wasting it on mindless tasks (hello, scrolling through insta!) unless I schedule something in that block. There is nothing wrong with taking a rest; clearly I believe that it is necessary to rest, but I find it much more fulfilling when I am intentional with my rest time. Right now I use my iPhone calendar, a whiteboard weekly calendar above my desk, calendar by my front door, AND I am waiting for my Passion Planner to come in the mail. I know it seems like a lot, and it probably is, but I am definitely the kind of person who needs to write down every little thing. What’s the saying? Don’t knock it ’til you try it! Scheduling breaks is important!
4. Social media breaks might seem the most challenging, but since this is what is the most draining on my spirit, they are necessary. I was going to say especially for my fellow content creators (although I would hardly use that word to describe myself), but honestly social media is draining no matter what because it speeds up the vicious cycle of comparison. My friend Peyton and I were just texting about this because it is something I struggle with a lot, but comparison is really the thief of all joy. To reiterate what I said in my last blog, God doesn’t compare what He creates and my soul needs to dive deeper into who He says I am and less of what this world thinks of me. It might be the same for you, too.
5. Gratitudes!!! Practicing gratitudes has been a great way to keep myself grounded and remain in the present. Sure, it is important to plan ahead and set goals, but if those events (fictional or not) are stressing me out, I NEED to focus on what is in front of me. There are a million and one tips on staying present, and the one that has also brought me peace is this trick! This might sound silly, but saying my gratitudes aloud or texting them to a friend really helps! And while we have so much to be grateful for every single day, I find naming specifics will adjust my attitude the most!
For whoever enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from His.Hebrews 4:10 NIV
While I have quite a few more tips and tricks, I didn’t want to overwhelm anyone, so those are my top five! These are also the ways in which I find myself more accountable to spending intentional time with Jesus and being intentional with everyone He created. (in case you missed the memo, every single person has been created with purpose and on purpose!) It can be so easy to numb out with Netflix or TikTok or Instagram or wherever else you scroll. While it can be fun (cause who doesn’t like a cute outfit or funny video?), it also leaves me feeling a little drained and empty if I am not intentional with how I spend the other 20 something hours of my day!
I hope this inspires you to take that much deserved rest! I am also taking a Sabbath today, so I encourage you to put down whatever you’re on and go be intentional with what and who is around you! Oh, and TAKE THAT BREAK!
Keep picking those daisies!
You are SO loved!
The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer
How’s Your Soul by Judah Smith
A Better Rest by Rod Stafford
Tired on the Inside by Steven Furtick
Reducing Stress and Staying Present by The 4:14 Podcast
** If you want one on one stress relief practices and resilience building, I HIGHLY recommend Corinne Coppola! You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting her website! (mention this blog when you contact her!) **