Choosing Rest

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In September, I wrote about choosing contentment in our home. Several people said it really resonated with them. And I totally understand why. We are inundated with information and ads and messages from every direction at every minute of every day.

You need this. You need it now. Buy it. Read this. Go here. Go there. Look at this. Open this email. Subscribe to that email.
The pressure is overwhelming, and it’s hard to say ‘no.’
It’s unnatural to say, “I don’t need that.”
Or “I’m not playing the comparison game.”

We have this joke with my family about saying “cozy.” My brother-in-law loves to tease my inlaws that their whole family says everything is “cozy” way more than other families. Coincidentally (or not), our almost-3-year-old loves to snuggle and talk about being cozy.
Mommy will you snuggle with me on the couch and be cozy under the blanket?
Mommy will you make me cozy with a blanket in the pillows?

choosing rest

The girl loves to snuggle up on my lap and get cozy. Honestly, for a long time, my answer was always hurried. Either I’d get cozy with her for 1 minute and then go back to my to-do list. Or I’d say “oh sure, in a minute.” And 10 minutes later, after I tackled 12 tasks, she’d ask me again because I’d forgotten. It is hard for me to slow down.

Over the past year, the Lord has asked me to create more rest in my life.
Create more space.
Space to sit and be quiet.
Space to be silent and listen in prayer.

This is really unnatural for me. I’m like, “Jesus, don’t you see my to-do list? Aint nobody got time for rest.” And He’s like: “Come with me by yourself to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31)  

Naturally, I like to-do lists, goals, priorities. Checking off boxes and feeling productive. I am go-go-go, high energy. But in choosing to create time to rest, I have found so much peace and joy. It’s not that I chucked my to-do list out the window entirely. It’s more of an internal thing. A change of pace on the inside that is less HURRY-AND-DO-ALL-THE-THINGS, and more do-one-thing-at-a-time. Doing fewer things creates more space in my mind, in my soul, and in our everyday life. Plus doing fewer things somehow means more snuggling. 

choosing rest

Choosing rest is mixed right in with choosing contentment. Whether we’re talking about relationships, circumstances, or material things, choosing contentment goes hand in hand with creating space to rest.

Take material things for example. The more you choose contentment with what you already have, the less you need to do errands, go shopping, make exchanges. Because you have and need less stuff. Less stuff requires less maintenance and time and energy. Which means you have more time for rest.

I think it’s more than choosing to buy less or do less. Though keeping your calendar under control is helpful, we can still be at rest internally during seasons of busyness.

Rest is a soul issue.

Jesus spoke to this in Matthew 11:28-30.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

Rest for our souls. Doesn’t that sound nice?

In the midst of the chaos and busyness, what if we found a few moments everyday to sit down to just be. Moments where we choose rest. Because the invitation to rest isn’t passive. It requires us to come to Him (perhaps implied is instead of to something else). It means we have to say no to other things we use to pretend to rest (netflix, social media, magazines, pinterest…) and come to Him instead. Those things are fun but there is no rest for our souls over there. The only place our souls find rest is with Jesus. 

We have to accept the invitation of our Savior who said, “Come to me… with me you will find rest for your souls.” 

Practically speaking, for me this means getting up before my kids to be alone for a while. I also sit down at the beginning of kids’ naps and do nothing for a few minutes. Maybe for you, it’s eating the first 5 minutes of your lunch in silence with no phone. Or turning off the tv before you fall asleep to have some time where you’re awake, still. Maybe it’s turning off the music for part of your commute, letting silence fill the car, and creating space to hear Jesus. Maybe it’s tuning out the chaos of the kiddos around you and praying while you do the dishes or clean the bathroom.

I’m trying out a new Bible study class right now, and they have a preschool-like kids program during the adult Bible study time. The kids have play time, activity time, story time, singing time, etc… Last week, I asked my increasingly-conversational-two-and-a-half-year-old what her favorite part of kids time was. She said, “I liked quiet time, mama.”

When I asked her teacher what that was, she said they have all the kids sit in their own space, turn down the lights, and just let them have a break for a few minutes. To help them learn how to quiet themselves so that one day, when they’re old enough to “get it,” they would know how to find the quiet and listen to Jesus speaking to them.

And this quiet time was Addie’s favorite. Maybe the girl is on to something…

What are some ways you try to create space and rest in the mundane of daily life?

how to choose simplicity and rest as a way of life.


6 thoughts on “Choosing Rest”

  1. The comments on my site are turned off now, but I'd love to hear from you on Instagram! Follow me there & tag me in a comment or DM me. Xo I'm @MrsReneeCook on Instagram!
  2. Thanks for your comments, Paul! Funny about watching the game w/o sound! So glad this was encouraging to you 🙂

  3. Even watching the Nebraska-Wisconsin game with the sound muted was a little more restorative than being bombarded with sounds from the field, the announcers, etc. It also made me more aware of players’ and coaches’ facial expressions and other details I’d probably normally miss (not that this is truly “quiet” time, but it was an interesting observation :-)).

  4. This was a great post. Immediately after reading it I spent 10 mins in alone, quiet time, and then 15 mins meditating. It was fantastic! I need to make quiet time a priority in the future.

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