As a sat with some friends at Bible study one evening, we were all overwhelmed. Life was busy. No matter how hard we tried to set our schedules or increase our organizational skills, certain tasks fell through the cracks. None of us felt like we were doing anything well. On top of feeling like we were failing, we were simply tired. We all described life like running on a hamster wheel. Running, running, running.
We discussed how we might do some things differently to be more efficient. But eventually, we all concluded that finding rest in that busy season was essential, or each of us in separate ways would burn out. As a group, we decided to look for ways to find rest in the busy season, to share our findings with one another, and to hold one another accountable to pursue the rest needed. Here are some of the practical ways we found rest in that busy season of life.
- Do not think of rest as doing nothing. The challenge is that we are designed to move, serve, and work. For many women, it is restful to take a walk or to work on a favorite project. Rest is different from sleep or total stillness. Rest is a refreshing of the mind, body, soul, and spirit, but it often includes movement. Genesis 2:1-3 describes how God rested on the seventh day after all His work. Throughout the Bible, God’s people observe the Sabbath as a day of rest, worship, and reflection upon their Creator. Rest is not avoiding work. Rest is reflecting upon God in whatever you do. Trusting Him to guide and help you to complete anything He has entrusted you to do.
- Build small moments of spiritual rest into each day. This might be a moment of devotional or Bible reading. Holding onto one verse throughout the day can offer the soul a lifeline to rest that is found in the presence of God, even when we cannot physically rest our bodies. In a single verse, we can lean into something true and good that we can focus on when the day is tough. The problem is that simple devotional reading sometimes seems impossible in our busy seasons. It is often the first thing we skip or say we will do later. But consistent time in prayer and the study of God’s Word leads to greater spiritual intimacy with the Lord and provides the spiritual refreshment and rest we need. Spiritual resting is resting in God’s presence and remembering His sovereignty and authority.
- Say yes and accept the offer of help from others. Sometimes taking a break feels like more effort than following the normal routine. While it does require some effort to plan to take a break, especially for moms, it will be worth it. We typically do not realize how much we need the break until we distance ourselves for a brief time. Any break where we can rest from our normal routine helps us to reset. It changes our perspective, attitude, and motivation. I remember when my in-laws moved to be near us. They wanted deeper relationships with their granddaughters and said we were their ministry! They helped transport our girls with carpools, extracurricular activities, and the occasional meal. I discovered I was not giving up my “mom” card but was able to include them in our lives and create multi-generational memories within our family. I had a neighbor who loved to cook and would double her portions on many of her meals. She would share the extra with neighbors, and every time she asked if I wanted her extras, I said yes! If someone offers to help in any way during your busy seasons, say yes and thank you. Hopefully, someday you can return their generosity, but either way, humble yourself and receive what God and they are providing to help you.
- Put down your phone. Your entire day will be different if you set your phone aside for extended periods of time. If you cannot set aside your phone for fifteen- to thirty-minute increments, turn off some of the notifications that are constantly grasping for your attention. God has given you a sphere of influence and the world where you live. Make sure you are living your life first before you try to keep up with everyone else. Use your phone to meet the tangible needs of the people in your life with simple things like a text. But set aside a specific time when you will do that and not constantly throughout the day when you feel tied to your phone.
- Let some things go, and sometimes that means saying no. By its definition, when we rest it means some work is not getting done. If you think about it, there are no natural breaks in our schedule if we do not make them. There will always be a need for meals, cooking, cleaning, and caring for others. There are no holidays or vacations from those things. But it is OK if dishes or laundry pile up now and then. Resting is more important. Saying no to the work, the task, or even a good invitation to something can be challenging. But during busy seasons, saying no may be required to get the recharge you need. Resting does not mean you will never complete the work; it means it will get done later. Resting does not mean you are ending your relationship with a friend because you decline an invitation; it means you will meet up or talk another day. Remember that resting and taking care of your needs during a busy season is usually one of the healthiest gifts you can give yourself and your family.
These practical ways of finding rest during busy seasons helped me to bring better balance into my life. As a result, I was more emotionally, mentally, and spiritually healthy. The Lord taught me a lot about humility during the busy seasons of life. I tend to be prideful and want to live like I can navigate it all on my own. But God, in His kindness and grace, surrounded me with others who obeyed Jesus and believed in the strength of Christian community. We lived together as Ephesians 4:1-7 Christians, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love” (v. 2). And those believers pushed me to rest in God’s presence during those busy seasons and every season.
Michelle Hicks is the managing editor for Journey devotional magazine with Lifeway Women. Michelle served as a freelance writer, campus minister, and corporate chaplain before coming to Lifeway. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Michelle has a deep hunger for God’s Word and wants others to discover the abundant life they can have with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.