Rhythms of Rest

Summer has always been a time to kick back, relax, and have fun as you take a pause from the craziness of the normal school year. There are trips overseas, beach vacations with family and/or friends, study abroad trips, internship opportunities. These are all things that allow us to change up the speed of our normal day to day routine and get some adventure in our lives. But they may not be a possibility this summer. We’ve traded out beach chairs and plane tickets for our couches and social distancing walks, but I do believe we can still slow down from the speed of a normal semester, take care of ourselves, and still enjoy this summer.
 
The anxiety this pandemic may be inducing makes a lot of sense. You may be worried about longevity in the workforce, you may be worried about present financial circumstances, you may be worried about the health of loved ones and/or yourself, you may be worried how long life is going to be like this and wonder when in the world you can be with all of your friends again. This all makes sense. You are not wrong for having those thoughts, and it's actually okay to acknowledge life is not supposed to be like this.  As you acknowledge the reality of the time, it is more important to also acknowledge who God is and what He is doing. When you do this, you get to speak out your fears and anxieties and place them at the foot of the cross, in return you will be able to pick up peace and rest.

“Come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” - Matthew 11:28

During this time, it is important to be in dialogue with God. Every day you wake up, turn your heart to Him and ask Him to give you what you need in each moment. If you don’t know what you need, ask Him to search your heart and tell you. When you start engaging with Him regularly like this, it takes away the pressure and need to run around every moment and have your mind constantly going to do a million things throughout the day. You get to take everything one single day  at a time. There will be things to process, but don’t overwhelm yourself with things that are not in your control or things that may not even be a physical reality yet.

“Therefore, do not worry tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” - Matthew 6:34

Rest is a posture, not an activity. What I mean is, you still need to go about your days and do things, you don’t have to lay down in silence for a whole day if that isn’t something that fills you up. If silence fills you up, have at it haha, but there is no pressure for this to be your thing. Rest is not sleep, there is a physical rest and it's important to maintain that, but rest of your spirit is different. Rest is not numbing. Watching tv all day and distracting yourself from reality will not fill you up. Rest is opening up your heart and mind to the heart of the Father. Rest is slowing down your racing thoughts and inviting God in to speak and give you moments of stillness so you can breathe. Rest is trusting that God is carrying you through the most difficult of circumstances and will guide you to your freedom and victory, every day, if you let Him. Rest is balance. Balance your activities, you can make plans and have to-dos while still receiving rest. The important piece is giving yourself the freedom to make changes to those plans/routines/to-dos if necessary as you are inviting God into your plans.

Right now is a great time to pause and press into holistic health; full spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical health. Focus on the pieces you need each day to fill you up, and don’t put boxes around what that may look like. Exercise and getting out in the sun can serve as rest for you because it will improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. The morning light is actually said to chemically affect your brain in a positive way to promote higher well-being and happiness. And exercise releases endorphins in your brain that trigger positive feelings. Additionally, getting out and having fun may be the rest you need. For me, playing spike ball and singing karaoke this quarantine with my roommates has been the biggest source of rest for me. This is because I am simply connecting to life around me and not worrying about all the things I cannot control or all the work I spend too much time focusing on. I firmly believe that fun is good for the healing process of any heart. It’s a reminder to connect to the present moment and remember the goodness of what is around me, rather than letting my mind zoom in on all the things that are broken, hurting, or going wrong. It's also important to spend your time with God for rest and holistic health. I can’t state this enough: read your bibles, read your bibles, read your bibles!!! It's not a “religious” thing, it's reading through each page with God, letting Him show you where to go and all the ways he wants to minister to you through different books. Reading your bible is rest when you allow it to breathe life and direction into you.
 
A lot of people are talking about how great of a time it is to process a lot of big things in your life, especially because strong emotions are coming to the surface due to being on your own a lot of the time. I agree with this, it's the best possible time to pursue deep levels of healing and free up your heart and mind from things you have been holding for years, because you actually have time to intentionally lean into it. But be cautious that you don’t get too caught up in this. Take your moments in those deep places with you and God, go to counseling, talk to your discipler, this is all so good, and a HUGE part of rest for yourself and healing. But then come back up to breathe, ask God for moments of lightness and always remember to connect to life and to God.

Like I said, balance is key. Both the deep healing/moments of solitude with God, the silly fun activities, and everything in between come together to give you rest. Just keep inviting God in, hand him the things you are fretting over/working through, and pick up the opportunities He is laying before you. If you are like me, and want to feel productive and do things all the time, make small lists and work on some of your projects, but don’t beat yourself up for not finishing, or for taking a break to sit with God by yourself, or for going to play a game. We have never experienced anything like this before, so therefore there are no expectations as to how you are supposed to do it. Just take a deep breath, and ask God what the next step is, He will show you, He will fill you up, He will always give you rest as you engage with Him.

Author | Tori Kramer

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