As I share my thoughts on rest, I want you to know that I am still a work in progress. I am certain that every strand of my DNA reads, “Keep working. Rest later.” The reality is that “later” never comes. If you are anything like me, your rest often manifests during times such as vacations, sick days, and holiday breaks. It seems that these moments often naturally produce the conditions that are conducive to rest. However, the Lord is teaching me that rest requires a great deal of discipline and ongoing communion with Him through prayer. It is during this beautiful dance that God provides us true rest for our souls.
The Craving for Rest
While I have not always curated a life of rest, everything in my soul has craved it. This desire has manifested in fatigue, illness, and many other avoidable consequences of not stewarding the gifts in such a way that prioritized rest. While sometimes not clear on how best to develop this discipline of rest, I was certain that it was much more than the cessation of physical activities, but a rest that envelops our souls, rejuvenating us from within. As women of faith, we recognize that rest is more than a mere indulgence; it’s a spiritual discipline that draws us closer to the heart of God.
The Sanctity of Prayer
As leaders, mothers, wives, daughters, and so many other roles, we encounter ongoing opportunities to keep doing. In my life, this circular motion intimated that I had all the answers to all the problems. Do you remember the song, “He’s got the whole world in His hands”? Well, a great deal of my life has inserted a new phrase, “Joy’s got the whole world in her hands.” You may be able to relate to the burden that this posture applies to a mere human. It is no longer a mystery why rest was only a mirage in my life.
During a prayerful and heartfelt exchange with our Father, we create a sacred dialogue with the God of the Universe. Through the medium of prayer, we pour out our hearts, share our joys and sorrows, and seek divine guidance. It is in these moments of communion that we build an intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, finding solace and strength amidst life’s ebbs and flows.
Intertwining Rest and Prayer
If the spiritual discipline of rest and prayer were easy, I would have mastered it by now. On the contrary, in the same ways that we work on so many areas of our life, this must become a priority. My heart is not to prescribe but only share some of the strategies that have worked for my rest and prayer journey.
- Commence with Surrender: Authentic rest commences with surrender—a humble offering of our worries and cares to God through prayer. This is difficult for me. However, I know that God is able to help me to really understand who really has the whole world in His hands. Prayer reminds me to dedicate intentional moments each day to relinquish burdens, trusting that He is the ultimate caretaker.
- Craft Sacred Spaces: It is so important that you have a place where communion with God has been intentionally curated. In my home office, I one of those cool swinging chairs. I have a little bookshelf and a really cool lamp. My devotional and bible are just an arm’s length away. This sacred space has become a haven for prayer and reflection, a place where I can seek solace and engage in heartfelt conversations with our Father.
- Inscribing the Heart: I’ve coveted some form of journal reflection since my middle school days. Journaling has served me well through so many seasons of life. It has helped me with chronicling my thoughts, prayers, and reflections in an organized fashion. This practice supports me in giving my burdens to the Lord and serves as a written record of God’s unwavering presence in my life.
- Prayerful Restfulness: Last year, I discovered the Royal Caribbean cruise life. I am now certain that I will retire and live permanently on one of them. Everything is pretty much taken care of. As a result, much of the physical busyness of day to day life is minimal. I have so much downtime to physically rest. During these moments of physical rest, I engage in silent or contemplative prayer. Looking out into the ocean makes it so easy for me to understand the limitless power of our God and why I am in need of a Savior.
It is my hope that you will take the time to slow down and find the rest that God’s presence provides. In doing so, you will be able to find a space that nurtures your soul, elevates your spirit, and fosters and unwavering trust and reliance on our Father God. As Christian women, let us embrace this voyage with open hearts, knowing that through intentional interludes of rest and prayer, we shall discover the equilibrium and serenity our lives crave.