Despite careful time management, productivity tools, and more multitasking, many of us have little or no margin. The stress of living in overdrive is so common that we often fail to recognize how tired we are at the soul level. Do you need to establish rhythms of life that can restore your soul and sustain your energy? Read on for a practical list of ideas to create habits of rest in your life.
Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.
– Charles Spurgeon
Did you know that there is such a thing as hurry sickness? A malady of this digital age, hurry sickness is “a continuous struggle and unremitting attempt to accomplish or achieve more and more things or participate in more and more events in less and less time.”[i]
Recognizing Our Need for Rhythms of Rest
Do we recognize the various ways stress and exhaustion seeps into our days? Physical rest is only one of many kinds of rest we need to live the quality of life God has designed.
There seems to be a disconnect between the reality of hours in a day and the continual drive to get more done. Sound familiar?Does time manage you or do you manage time? This is an important question to ask ourselves. Click To Tweet
Despite careful time management, productivity tools, and more multitasking, many of us have little or no margin. Defined as the gap between our load and our limits, margin helps us to pace our days.[ii]
Do you need margin in your schedule? Join the club–you’ve got plenty of company! One of the popular quotes from my book Holy in the Moment applies here:
“We all need time for our souls to breathe and our bodies to rest as chronic busyness is just a normal day in today’s world. Pressured by culture, we’ve swallowed the lie that a busy life is a fulfilling life. More is better, faster is sooner, as if frantic is the new holiness.” p. 78
The stress of living in overdrive is so common that we often fail to recognize how tired we are at the soul level. Friend, are you lacking the kind of rest that rejuvenates your soul? Stick with me for some practical ideas to create habits of rest in your life later in this post.
Jesus Invites Us to a Restful Way of Life
Creating sustainable rhythms for life takes intention. It is a challenge to steward our time and energy, as well as the mental and emotional resources of our soul. But oh, life is so much better when we do!
In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites each of us to discover how He can teach us to live in rest and rest in life.
“Come to Me, all 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 comfortable, and My burden is light.”
It’s interesting that Jesus uses the image of a yoke to talk about rest. After all, a yoke is an instrument for work as well as for training. The Message relates these verses in a way that speaks to all of life:
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”
The biblical meaning of the word rest has to do with ceasing from labor, recovering strength, choosing quiet, experiencing refreshment, and trusting God with calm and patient expectation. I could use more rest in my life, how about you?
With Jesus, rest can become a way of living that includes our work and effort. The spiritual meets the practical in organic ways that bring vitality to every area of life. Click To Tweet
Rest and Work are Not Opposites
We often think of rest and work on the opposite ends of a spectrum. Rather than opposites, rest and work are two sides of the same coin. They are far more integrated than we realize.
Jesus invites us into both a relationship and a way of living that is connected, active, and present.
Do we experience Christ in this way or do we flock to this verse when energy is depleted and exhaustion sets in? Consider this wisdom from Chuck Swindoll:
In place of our exhaustion and spiritual fatigue, God will give us rest. All He asks is that we come to Him…that we spend a while thinking about Him, meditating on Him, talking to Him, listening in silence, occupying ourselves with Him – totally and thoroughly lost in the hiding place of His presence.– Chuck Swindoll
Regular patterns of rest sustain your attitude, energy, motivation, and well-being.
How is Jesus is inviting you to explore new rhythms of rest today?
Ideas to Create Habits of Rest to Improve Your Life
As you reflect on your need for rest, consider practices that can help you find patterns of rest and work that provide margin, connection, and refreshment on a regular basis. Think how much better you will feel when you are well rested. Which simple practices can you incorporate on a daily level? A weekly or monthly basis? Even yearly?
Need a little help getting started? Checkout these ideas to help you experience the restoration you long for. How could a few of these routines enable you to refresh and recover from daily work, life challenges, and needs of family?
Ask Jesus to show you practical ways to experience His rest for your soul. As you listen to Jesus, write any thoughts He brings to mind. Which of these actions could empower you to be a good steward of your time and energy?
15 Habits of Rest to Improve Your Life
- Go to bed in time to get enough sleep
- Connect with God in prayer throughout the day
- Read and meditate on God’s Word
- Eat regular meals to fuel your body
- Drink non-caffeinated beverages after 12pm
- Turn off screens (phone, TV, or computers) for 30 minutes before bed
- Pray before accepting invitations or commitments
- Take short breaks during the workday to relieve or prevent physical or mental strain
- Go outside for fresh air and sunlight
- Notice and appreciate beauty in nature, art, or music
- Build quiet into your day by turning off music, podcasts, and TV
- Practice deep breathing when you feel stressed
- Schedule times of rest as well as activity on your calendar
- Observe the Sabbath
- Make time for a “down day” to rest and do things you enjoy
The idea here is not burden you more obligations to cram into an already packed schedule. Consider which practices could help you experience physical, mental, or emotional rest on a regular basis. Which ones could give you a little room to breathe and make time for joy?
Start small with one or two practices you can work into your day or week. Which habits could best help you focus on what matters most, being fully present to God, others, and yourself?
You might be surprised what Jesus can do with 5-20 minutes when you follow His leading.
Over time, create your own list of rhythms of rest with Jesus—follow His leading as to what you most need in this season of life. Let Him teach you how to walk and work with Him in the unforced rhythms of grace that will restore your soul.
If you’d like additional ideas for getting more rest in your life, get the Habits of Rest Checklist that includes space to create your personal strategy.
“Let the life of Christ set you free from a rushing life that has no time for rest or the enjoyment of family, His creation, and most of all Him!—Michael Wells, Problems, God’s Presence & Prayer
What resonates with you most from this conversation?
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Grab the Habits of Rest Ebook
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The Restore My Soul Series
- Why You Should Trust Jesus for the Rest You Need
- How Rest and Solitude Restore Your Soul After Stress and Loss
More on Rest and Soul Care
- What is Spiritual Rest and Why Do We Need It?
- Is Your Soul Out of Sync?
- Abide, Surrender, and Rest: Book Discussion Week 2
- Does Your Soul Talk Strengthen Your Faith?
- 10 Bible Verses for a Healthy Soul
Thrive in Your Soul with Holy Choices
A powerful encouragement for anyone who struggles to overcome anxiety, perfectionism, insecurity, or other mindsets that hold us back. Grow in holiness without the pressure to have everything “just right.” Through gentle encouragement, biblical insights, and applicable ideas you can experience a deeper life of freedom in Christ. Transparently sharing my own struggles, I want to help you live from the reality of hope, healing, and holiness.
[i] Comer, John Mark. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (p. 46). The Crown Publishing Group. Kindle Edition, citing Meyer Friedman and Ray H. Rosenman, Type A Behavior and Your Heart (New York: Knopf, 1974), 33.
[ii] John Mark. The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry (p. 46), quoting Richard A. Swenson, Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives (Colorado Springs: NavPress, 2004), 69.
[iii] Michael Wells, Problems, God’s Presence, & Prayer (Littleton: Abiding Life Press, 1993) location 2, 154