Rest

You need rest.

No, really, you do.

And it needs to be regular rest, not just when you are forced into the hospital with a health crisis.

You need a regular cycle of hard work and quiet rest.

For one thing, it helps with a quiet life. Regular times of rest, at the proper times, bring down the overall activity level. That will help keep your life and schedule from spinning out of control. It gives your mind, body, and soul the refreshing you need to restore energy and keep going with the other responsibilities that do need to be done.

Primarily, though, you being willing to stop carrying the weight of the world and doing everything for everybody demonstrates dependence on God. Often we don’t stop moving because we are afraid the sky will fall if we stop holding it up. We aren’t holding it up, of course, but it is easy to act as if we were. And without proper rest, it is even easier to be ruled by our emotions and external triggers. In contrast, stopping frantic activity and just being — taking a deep breath, sitting and thinking, taking a nap, pausing to just catch up with a neighbor in the back yard, keeping a sabbath rest, not always working — will show our confidence in God’s sovereignty and constant care for us.

God set this tone of regular rest for us when he established the Sabbath day, when he set out the week. He knows us. He created us. He is such a good God providing good gifts.

So how can we love God? Sometimes it’s by taking a short rest in the middle of the day, doing our best to fill our responsibilities well AND knowing that He is in control of the universe so it’s safe to step away from our work in faith.

Procrastination and Chaos

Remember when we talked about a quiet life? Well, let’s spend a few more minutes on that idea.

Let’s talk about the things that you put off, the stuff you need to do but don’t want to deal with right now, the tasks you aren’t excited about so you don’t make time or plan time to do them, the jobs you’re hoping will magically just get done. You know, THAT stuff.

Here’s the thing: putting anything off until the last minute makes it much more likely that completing it will cause turmoil and disturbance. That chaos may be in your emotions or your day or in the work that is done or all three, but it will show up somewhere.

Procrastinating something you don’t like will also mean you have no flexibility to fit work in comfortably or be more creative (or even awake). Once you get down to the deadline, it has to be done — and fast. No room to maneuver and no time for anything else.

Sometimes we put things off because they are looming like a little black rain cloud over our heads, a constant presence. Other times, we put things off to another day and then forget. We forget until the crucial moment, that is, when it becomes a shocking and/or embarrassing surprise. Once you know it needs to be done, taking a minute or two to make a plan, with action steps if needed, to get it done at the right time saves you the headache of forgetting down the road. Even if you decide not to do anything for two months, the entry on your calendar in two months prevents it from falling off the radar.

Finally, because procrastination was the plan, you will feel all the painful results of not planning. You will waste mental energy reacting rather than calmly working the plan. You will generate confusion, because you’re not sure what you are doing and when.  You will not be making the best use of your time, and that lack of success is discouraging.

Hopefully seeing the dark side will be motivate you to stay on top of plans and priorities. Taking the time in advance pays off by cutting out these downsides. Don’t get caught with a mess on your hands.

Consider: How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom?

Is that an appealing title for mothers or what? You also may be interested to know that it’s only 35 pages long. To help if you are wondering whether it is the best choice for you to read, here is an excerpt from How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom? by Esther Engelsma:

When your children seem to be getting in the way of your work, remind yourself that God’s call to you is not to get things done but to use time well, and then do whatever is the best use of your time in that moment.

When your tasks seem mundane, remind yourself that God’s will for you is not to get things done but to grow in sanctification, and then focus on how each task done for God is making you more like Christ.

When your goals and dreams seem to be on hold, remind yourself that God’s purpose for you is not to get things done but to glorify Him, and then empty yourself willingly, grasping His promise that His burden is easy, resting content in knowing that one day you will see with your own eyes how He has worked everything together for your good and His glory.

These books are only set here as possibilities for you to explore. Posts and links are not endorsements or paid publicity.

Contentment

Are you content?

Handling all your responsibilities day in and day out can be draining. Feeling drained can quickly tempt you to be discontent.

Fantastically beautiful pictures on social media and stories from friends about things they are doing, or things they have that you don’t have, can add up quickly as well.

Do you want what you don’t have today? Do you want a different life?

If so, then as Esther Engelsma says in How Can I Feel Productive as a Mom?, “it is time to strive for contentment.”

When we are happy with the gifts God has given us, we witness to the world that He is a good God. This glorifies Him. When we are not content with what He has given us, we witness to the world that we think He is not a good God, that He does not have the best interests of His people in mind, and that we don’t trust Him to make us happy.

Satan uses this issue of contentment to try to take God’s glory away.

So how do we fight back and glorify God and love Him with all that we are?

We trust God. We show quiet confidence in our Father, knowing that He loves us and has planned good for us in whatever our life holds. We remind ourselves of who He is and the promises He made that He will absolutely keep. We make ourselves stronger for the fight by feeding on His Word. We practice gratitude by thanking Him for what He has given us.

We obey God. We do the work he has called us to today. We love those He has placed in our lives. We follow the path of wisdom, knowing that God has given the best directions. We get up and move and get it done, even when we’d rather have a pity party or take a (very long) break.

We obey God all day long and then trust His wisdom when the allotted 24 hours runs out, knowing that He created the day and night, the work and rest cycle, and that only God can do everything.

It is as basic as “Trust and Obey” for this.

A Quiet Life

…let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. (I Peter 3:4)

Paul also urged prayer “that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior…” (I Timothy 2:2-3).

What is a quiet life? If it pleases God, let’s seek that out and work toward having one!

The idea behind the words here is tranquil, defined by Webster’s as “free from agitation of mind or spirit…disturbance or turmoil.” Murray Harris noted on the word quiet in 1 Peter 3:4 — “a spirit which calmly bears the disturbances created by others and which itself does not create disturbances” (The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3:112).

When you look at your life, do you see quiet or turmoil? Are you handling the chaos around you calmly or creating even more? Many things make a difference on that, but let’s look at just a few.

  • First taking the time and making the effort to quiet your heart as you rest in the God Who is Enough and lean on His understanding (Proverbs 3:5-6) will set the right tone in every other area.
  • Doing a quick check of your schedule and workload to see what may be hurting your health will help also. The recent book Refresh does a great job of walking you through that process.
  • I Thessalonians 4:11 brings in the concept of minding our own work to the need to live quietly. Would a focus on our own responsibilities, while letting go of what isn’t our concern, help with getting rid of some agitation? It is so easy to be distracted, but the cost is high.
    Proverbs 31:27 also contrasts idleness with looking well to the ways of the household. Working when we should, at the right time, helps with keeping things on track and calm.
  • A calendar that you manage well will help a lot with a quiet day. Staying on task and doing what needs to be done will give you quiet progress. Not knowing what all should be done and always reacting to anything that happens by will create turmoil and overload your mind as you keep trying to keep up in the dark.

What have you found helpful as you quiet your heart and home?