“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Jesus’ words, Matthew 11:27-30)
When I read this, everything in me cries: “Yes! I want that! But how do I do it?” Resting is not easy for me. I have lived most of my life believing one of the greatest fallacies ever conceived – that action and movement are superior to rest. Rest is built into the way we and everything else was created. Sleep. Night. Fallow fields. Winter. To ignore rest is to live in constant battle with the way we were made, like walking uphill, against the wind. How to rest in our world is tricky. And somehow, the harder I try, the more difficult it is. For me, rest comes only when I create an environment that enables rest.
So, here are some things I do to find rest:
Remind myself who I am, a created child of the living God, and who God is, the creator. Otherwise, I am compelled to think I hold the world together and without me, things would fall apart.
Recognize that I have limits and that rest is good. Otherwise, I ignore the need for rest or reject it as a weakness.
Stop doing things that feel like work or make me anxious. Otherwise, deep breaths don’t come and my mind continues to run.
Do only do those things that give me life. Otherwise, I will not be filled and restored.
Release my to-do’s and anxious thoughts by briefly writing them down as they come to mind. Otherwise, these will flood my brain and all hope for rest is lost.
Eat regular meals and favorite foods. Otherwise, I am distracted by my hunger and my body is uncomfortable.
Surround myself with scents that I only use during times I rest or before I go to bed (black cherry, vanilla, or sun and sand candles; lavender and chamomile lotion). Otherwise, my body thinks it is time to move, to go, to act.
Wear comfortable clothes. Otherwise, I am distracted by discomfort.
Exercise. Otherwise, my body does not know what to do with the energy it produces.
Listen to sounds or music I associate with rest. Otherwise, noise can clutter my mind and make frantic my thoughts.
Be with people with whom I can be fully authentic and comfortable. Otherwise, I will be concerned about saying or doing the right thing at the right time.
How do you find rest?