I Need to Rest

lisa-leonard-slow-down-and-rest-02

For me, rest takes the form of slow mornings, browsing a thrift store at my own pace, sipping coffee in my car, cuddling on the couch with my boys and having dinner delivered instead of cooking. It’s quiet time spent pouring out my heart to God and casting my cares on him.

Rest looks like unhurried time with room to think and make decisions. It’s the ability to move and breathe and just be.

Last week between a last-minute, four-hour drive to Los Angeles to see David’s GI doctor, an evening workshop tour with cupcakes and wine, and friends in town, I found myself spent, exhausted and broken. I simply didn’t allow myself to rest!

I tend to fill my schedule with important meetings and tasks that have to be done. I rush from a meeting to a phone call to the grocery store and then over to the school to pick up the boys. As soon as I’m home there are dishes to do and a blog post to edit.  And I can’t forget that there’s dinner to prepare and homework to check. I allow these things to crowd out down time.  I don’t leave room for rest. And then I hit a wall.

Last week I mixed my normal busyness with extra projects and activities, and I was so exhausted I simply couldn’t push myself anymore. I had nothing left to give and I was on the verge of tears. Okay, the tears flowed freely. I was undone.

lisa leonard slow down and rest-01

I want to change this. I want to learn to rest. I want to see rest as a priority and not a luxury. I want to slow down and let things be imperfect so they can be more better. I want to rest before I am overextended.

Bonnie wrote about rest here and WOW it hit me exactly where I’m at right now!

On the seventh day, God rested, and yet for some reason, I think I don’t need rest. That makes no sense. I need rest. I want rest. I was designed to work and rest. And that’s okay.

The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures,
He leads me beside quiet water, He refreshes my soul.
He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.
Psalm 23:1-3 

Let’s encourage each other to rest. Let’s give each other grace when we can’t keep going.

How can you find rest today? What does your soul need today?

comments:
share:
  • Mb

    I just had the same thing happen to me about two weeks ago, hitting the wall. I then was affirmed in stepping back from the busyness to rest with Luke 5 where Jesus went away to desolate places to pray. What a great example He placed before us. Thanks for you blog to in courage rest.

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Not a good feeling! Thank you for sharing! xo

  • http://walkingwellwithgod.blogspot.com Bev Duncan @ Walking Well With God

    Lisa,
    I am still a stubborn learner. It’s taken me many years to go from a human “doing” to a human “being”. I’ve learned that my worth is not in what I do, but who I am in Christ. But, I do fall back into old patterns. Lately God has taken me out of the ballgame for a long rest due too surgery. I find that I am squirming under too much time for rest. But, is there really such a thing as too much time to spend with my Heavenly Father – to meditate on His word, to be out of the hustle-bustle mainstream of life for awhile? This is the question I’m wrestling with right now. I’d like to spread this forced rest out over a longer period of time rather than get it all at once, but this is where I need to trust God that He knows what is best for me and that this rest can be a real time of growth for me. I have discovered that rest usually does equal growth in God’s vernacular. Here’s to us all listening to God’s call to rest…
    Blessings,
    Bev

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Beautiful words, Bev! You are an encouragement. xo

  • http://carmelmoments.com Melanie @ Carmel Moments

    I’ve learned to find rest in the little things too. The greatest thing I’ve ever learned to do was to get up before the kids.

    I started about 8 years ago. I just knew I couldn’t be mommy before I was daughter to the King. My days go so much better just knowing that I spent time soaking in His presence and enjoying some quiet time before breakfast duty and child demands.

    I also find rest in just walking away even when there is a large to do list. Just go to my room. Close the door. Turn on some music and pray, journal, listen or read.
    I’m so thankful God wanted us to rest. Thanks for sharing!

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Love this! Such good advice! xo

  • Kristen

    I love your perspective on rest! It doesn’t necessarily mean sleeping and where we find rest can look so different for each individual. I love when you said “I want to slow down and let thing be imperfect..” because I can totally relate! So refreshing! Thank you!

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Thank you Kristen! Embracing the imperfect means I stop stressing and I’m more present. If I can do that more, I know I’ll be less stressed in general. Such a process. xo

  • http://www.terrischrews.com/ Terri Schrews

    Wonderful post. I think this is one of the greatest epidemics of modern life – we are too busy to rest. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Yep, yep yep!! So much pressure, so much to do. I don’t want to miss out on the truly important things–relationships and special moments. xo

  • http://jessicaleejourney.wordpress.com/ Jessica

    This single mother journey is a constant look-around, see-it-all, do-it-all cycle that seems to never end. And, like you, I tend to not make rest a priority for myself. Truth be told, it’s one of the two things I need more of – that and Jesus. Thank you for your touching heart. xoxo

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Thanks for sharing a bit of your journey. I can imagine this would be even more difficult as a single mama. Praying for insight as you make time to rest. xoxo

  • Sharon

    I recently started resting by just sitting on the front porch and doing nothing. Just gazing out at the trees, the birds, the squirrels, the sky…and breathing. And talking to God. I have been deceived into thinking that I am “resting” when I curl up on the couch with a TV show and snacks (which isn’t all bad), but a lot of the times I find that I’m not resting my mind, just distracting it. I love the serenity of my front porch—the sights and sounds help me relax and find peace.

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      When you described your front porch I felt peaceful! Sounds like a perfect spot to rest and just be!

  • Cindy

    This is me right now!! Your blog spoke to me. I need to find the time to rest……rest my body, rest my mind and reconnect with God. Life is just so hectic and I can’t seem to find even a few little minutes to take a “time-out” for me.

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Me too! Me too! Thanks for echoing my words back to me. I need to hear them!

  • Michele

    I’m burnt right now, and I know I need rest, but I also know how much I will need to grapple with emotionally when I slow down. I’m afraid to slow down. Things have been messy, I’m on the verge of tears at all times, but the thought of facing everything overwhelms me. Ideas?

    • Laurie

      Michele, As the saying goes…been there, done that, bought the t-shirt…grew up in the land of avoidance so this is familiar territory…has taken me a long time to try it the Lord’s way, stubborn soul that I am…but thankfully the Lord is so faithful and loving and patient that He helps us even when we resist His way of doing things, although it will just take much longer than if we had submitted our will to His in the first place :-) …just remember, even in our avoidance there is a learning process so do not beat yourself up because He knows you backward & forward…So repent & keep in prayer to the Lord and let Him minister to you as only He knows how…

  • BJR

    I have lupus and so resting is sometimes a BIG part of my life!! (Like “forced” resting.) It wasn’t an easy thing for me to learn to do as I was a very active person, but with time, I’ve come to accept it, most of the time, with grace. Easy sentence to write but a hard one to learn that took quite a few years, and only through God’s help! Someone sent me a poem, early on, and it has been a comfort to me and often my prayer…when I feel too tired to pray…for it is a prayer poem. I’ll add it here…it may not be word for word, as I “memorized” it years ago and I write it here from memory.

    Keep Me Going…by Grace Easley

    Lord, keep me going for another day, and when my body languishes for rest, bring peaceful sleep throughout the quiet hours, unmarred by worries and restlessness.

    Lord, keep me going when my back becomes too sore to bear the burden of it all, when visions dim and everywhere I turn it seems I only bump into a wall.

    Lord, keep me going when the way becomes o’er grown with brambles and with weeds. Turn not Thy face away. I ask for naught save Thou attend my meager needs.

    And if sometimes I may be sad of heart…I ask at least, dear Lord, keep it from showing. I do not ask to walk upon the waves…but for another day, Lord…keep me going.

    Awesome, right?? Sometimes resting is the only remedy for our body’s and soul’s.
    Wishing you well.
    BJR

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      So awesome! Thank you for sharing. xo

  • Maylee

    I completely understand this all too well. We as women tend to keep going until sheer exhaustions overcome us. We forget to truly take the time to rest and really listen to what God is saying to us. It is hard living in a society that tells us women that we can do it all it and be this superwoman and if we are not, then there is something wrong with us.

    Ladies, let us remember to rest and renew our spirits daily and not be consumed with the things of this world. This is only our temporary place, our goal is Heaven…..

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      YES!! xo

  • http://hopehearthome.com Susan Shipe

    It is a blessing when my daughter calls and asks me to take the kids because she just needs to rest – have a kid-less weekend. To not have to put clothes in a dryer. To not have to answer a zillion questions. To not have to cook and tend and empty a dishwasher filled to overflow. Just this past weekend was one of those. She parked on the couch and watched two chick flicks! Called in Sushi. And just rested.
    I am so glad to be able to help her do this. Everyone needs a someone to call when the need for rest overwhelms. I encourage all women, if not a mom or a mom-in-law, then find someone at church to be that fill-in Grandma and take the time to REST. xo

  • Susan G.

    “Finding Rest” seems to be the topic these past few months, in everything I read, from blogs to devotionals. We can be so ‘busy’ that we miss even seeing we need to rest. I find my rest in His Word and in His Presence. I read devotionals online and in ‘the hand’ as well. I need to hear from Him daily to be refreshed in my mind, my emotions and in my soul. I need to hear I am on the right ‘path’ for each day, and to be doing only what I need to do for Him. Staying in communion with Jesus blots out some of the worlds ‘noise’, all those things I don’t need to hear. I am encouraged by His Word to have a real perspective, a true perspective on my life today.
    Thank you for your writing gifts through your blogs, that help me and other women to find ‘rest’ in Him.
    God bless!

    • http://lisaleonardonline.com/blog lisa leonard

      Too much noise–and we need his quiet. Love this. xo

  • http://www.themiddleoflife.com Jamey @ The Middle of Life

    This goes along with something my Bible study group has been pondering a lot lately… We recently finished Stuck by Jennie Allen, and it left us questioning what it means to simply abide or remain in Christ (John 15). So many of us feel like there is more we should DO to walk in the Spirit and be obedient… Yet, there is rest for the weary in Him. Still seeking on this one. :)

  • kelly

    I am heart-sick..I am just broken…our oldest daughter is just emotionally exhausting…she has been having trouble in school and refused help..she failed enough classes that her SENIOR year will not be the fun relaxing great end to high school she/we imagined. The choices she made..even though we told her what would be the consequences she right on and did them anyway. The broken pieces we now have to endure…the pain and suffering knowing full well we were right all along….how do we get up and move forward NOW?? HOW DO i GET OVER THE ANGER, the frustration and the sadness?
    Lord hear my cry.

  • http://www.barbiecrafts.com/ Barbie Crafts

    I wrote this blog post in response to this very poignant and well-timed post of yours today. Did I ever need this today. Thanks. (I gave you a link on your quote…hope you don’t mind.)

    http://www.barbiecrafts.com/2014/06/seasons-of-refreshing-let-it-fall-down.html?spref=fb

  • http://www.joyfullmom.com Andrea

    I’m better at rest than I used to be, but it’s still way too easy to forget and be busy. Sometimes having kids makes me crazy busy, but sometimes they remind me to just stop and be. I love that about them, the way they can take my hand and redirect my focus. I need to let God do that more often.

  • http://www.learningalongtheway.com Lisa

    Lisa~I have always appreciated your candor; allowing the authentic to be seen in a world of “only best is shown”. Your most endearing quality is freedom in Christ; to be, to share the weaknesses, to ask for prayer. You model for us the realities of the results of over-commitment and recognition of the benefit of SLOW. Thank you for risking vulnerability before us and yet clinging to the One who accepts us all regardless…

  • Deb M

    Rest, I hadn’t taken any, in the past 18 months of Hubby’s spine surgeries, recoveries, my mom’s breast cancer enlarging it’s territories, care giving with dad, traveling to bless our two surviving children’s marriages with childcare times, and leading our church Women’ s ministry. My very near and beloved dear auntie, mom’s sis, died just all of a sudden March 1st, as mom was dying in a beautiful hospice house in my city. Mom died March 6th. A beloved sis in Jesus, my age..co led a Christ follower child loss grief group with me, 12 hrs we’ve known each other SO every layer well…died March 23, day after I turned 60. Sue,a pastor’s wife, was only diagnosed in November with cancer of her bile duct, spread into liver n bones. My dad’s only sister, my other favorite aunt…lives in the city we moved to five hrs ago, for work. Duluth MN, two hrs of records snows! Ugh
    Her husband had a little surgery Feb 3, complications ,more, and again, he spent over a month in the hospital, then died April 6. Did I mention …in the four weeks of loss, the funeral home dad chose, had another memorial the day of mom’s, so I, oldest daughter of three, extended care giving to doing all of the funeral home things. Except cremation!
    Rest. I hadn’t time to breathe, grieve, between sorrows stacked up. So,
    As things unfolded…I spoke with a grief counselor, to begin what, understanding myself?! Found women who’d PRAY WITH ME. And, day before Mother’s day…discovered a vision disturbance in my right eye…figured, new glasses, Yes, that must be it!
    Nope, Vision Pro doc found a macular hole. She made me an appt with a specialist, for May 23, I had Eye surgery May 27!
    Now, face down recovery time, rest. Blessed time of humble positioning necessary for healing…
    And, it’s healing my wrung dry spirit, too♥ Glory to our God. He knew how to slow my life, and clarify my VISION. Restoring my inner, and my physical, vision. I’m so entirely grateful.

    • Deb M

      12 YEARs we could. See? I can’t see well enough yet, to catch edit errors! Sue would have a good laugh, but then, God’s time, is not our time, perhaps she knows there, in Glory, it was as twelve minutes ;)

  • http://lifeinspiredthoughts.wordpress.com Amy

    A much needed message today. And today is definitely a restful day for me, mainly as I am dealing with a dreaded cold which has really gotten me down. I decided I needed to rest to get better, but I also need to rest so I can hear the Lord more easily. It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with everything that comes daily in life which can make it hard to truly hear what the Lord has for me.
    And through my ‘resting’ today He did speak to me…loud and clear! I love how He does that. :)
    Blessings!

  • Robin

    “..let things be imperfect so they can be better…” So profound and hit me – I’m a perfectionist! Trying to raise my kids, complete a PhD and keep my house in order – I need to let things be imperfect. Thanks Lisa!!!

  • http://www.missindeedy.com Missy

    Oh Lisa! Amen! I so need to just sit a minute. Take a breath, or fifty. I can so identify with the running from one thing to the next without scheduling in much needed rest time. Between my special needs child’s appointments, obligations and commitments, and want to’s, where is the time for rest? I need to make that time- and this post was a mighty encourager to do just that!

  • Lina

    THANK YOU!! I really needed to read “I want to see rest as a PRIORITY and not a LUXURY. I want to slow down and let things be imperfect so they can be more better. I want to rest before I am overextended.”

    I have been suffering from migraines a LOT lately, so on one hand I feel like I am always “resting” because I cannot do much more than lie down a lot. But that is not really rest. Nor is it refreshing. And I always feel guilty.

    Your words popped off the page to me today and I am going to remember them going forward. THANKS so much!!

  • Kathie

    Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God – Maya Angelou

  • Gen Smith

    I always enjoy your being real and sharing what you are dealing with Lisa, brokenness, the need for connection with family, the very real need for rest. I’m reminded of a recent devotional where a pastor shared the story of Martha and Mary. Most of us naturally find ourselves in a Martha role and it can be so hard to justify taking care of our bodies, souls and spirits with rest, but Jesus Himself gently rebuked Martha not for doing things that need doing but for resenting her sister for resting at His feet and receiving from Him. He knew they could have both rested a season then partnered to accomplish what needed to be done refreshed and ready to serve. I learned this lesson the hard way after a cancer scare in full adrenal melt down. We ALL need rest so we don’t pay for our lack of it with our health; physical, mental and spiritual!! Blessings!

  • http://cassady.schulte.theworldrace.org Cassady

    Hi Lisa!
    It was so funny that I happened to just now read this post, because I literally put up a blog of my own just a few hours before about resting! I love how the Lord works to affirm for us the lessons that He’s teaching us. Thank you for encouraging me in my journey to intentionally choose to rest!

  • Beth WIlliams

    Lisa,

    I get you! This has been a particularly hard year for me. We moved my dad into an assisted living facility. Then he had medication changes and ended up in hospital and rehab for 2.5 or so weeks. We have finally gotten his medications straightened out and he is much calmer and happier.
    I work in a busy medical clinic–a job I don’t like. Sleep alludes me a lot.

    Last weekend my hubby and I helped his dad take a 6-8 ft. tree down and saw it up for wood. I was so exhausted the next day I couldn’t do much of anything. We stayed home from church and I gave myself permission to have some “spiritual whitespace”. It was so nice to just sit, listen to Praise music and relax.

    Blessings :)

  • julie

    I was reminded of these days of constant business and the fact that I too longed for rest.

    I am now in what is considered a “retired” place. Still busy although with grandchildren instead of my own. Having more time to create yet now feel too guilty to go into my “playroom”, unless all of the house chores are done. Those never get done, are always there, and keep me from my playtime.

    But I assure you, I take time to rest each day usually in the form of a quiet nap. Life is good and each of you young moms will have your chance to rest. Until that time know that Father God is Rest.

  • http://marniarnold.com Marni Arnold

    Lately, I have carried the rest I encountered from the beach vacation I took with my husband and son two weeks ago. I finally let go…let myself completely go. I was on no time schedule. I refused to wear a watch. And I’ve developed habits since our return that allow me to breathe daily. I am finding freedom in morning and evening routines…and the more I write to share with others every morning (even if it’s not published live on my blog), the more breathing space I am discovering.

    I am finding rest in the work I have the strength to do what God has equipped to with to do. Between year-round homeschooling (early elementary years still), blogging, researching for a new book to write and publish (my second one), keeping up with the at-home duties and spending quality time with my family (and making time for me and time with friends at least once a week)…rest is what I am continuing in. I can sense life wants to press in on me, but I remember the time before our vacation. I was burdened, hard-pressed, burned out. Comparison with everyone I met, keeping up with the joneses, and trying to do it all even outside the house…it was taking over my life. But I left something significant at the beach. I let God wash it all away with the salty surf and the soft sand. I let go of the expectations of trying to measure up to everyone else.

    It’s not easy to keep this rest active…it takes work. But that’s the weird thing…this work is providing rest. I’ve never encountered this before…so I am relishing in it, and praying I grow in it. ☺️

  • http://www.mycoatofmanycolors.com Jessica w
  • Tara

    I rest every morning. I get up and read my Bible and get in the word every day. The I go out and set on my front porch for quiet time and look outside and just set and listen for the Lord to tell me what he wants me to do for him today

  • kay

    I am still learning to rest & live a balanced life. Susan Shipe–you are indeed a blessing to your daughter. I have not been as fortunate to have my mom there to help as I raised my three children. She is still alive and well, but not really present because of some issues between her and I. I have done my best to raise them even through a tough, unequally yoked, marriage. I prayed often for mentoring women in my life, but I have yet to meet her/them. I don’t plan to give up. In the meantime, I do my best & try to stay encouraged for my kids whom are now in college & high school.

  • Arlene

    Blessings and gratitude to Lisa and to everyone who has shared part of their journey. God has ministered to me through each one of you as I wrestle with rest in all of its forms – chosen and forced because of health, and the guilt that comes with rest in each of these ways. May God abundantly bless and inspire each one of you, today and every day!

  • Deniae

    Oh my -“rest”. The Lord has been bringing this up dad far too many times this las little while for me to not take action in it! Ugh :(
    Because of the past year our family has gone through “rest” has not been an option due to having to be “on guard” from all of the fiery darts if the enemy. So now that things are slowing down on that front – I know I need to “rest”. But with “rest” comes time to reflect , if I reflect too much than all of the unfairness of what we just walked through comes flooding in like a roaring lion and then I have to deal with forgiveness. And trying to once again “let go and let God” deal with the betrayal and ugliness of another persons sin. So then it is just easier to run yourself ragged because than you don’t have to deal with everything that comes with divorce and betrayal and broken dreams etc etc . But thank you for these words – I will continue to work on “resting”. Sounds like an oxymoron !!!! Blessings !!

  • Denise

    Oh my -“rest”. The Lord has been bringing this up far far too many times this last little while for me to not take action on it! Ugh :(
    Because of the past year our family has gone through “rest” has not been an option due to having to be “on guard” from all of the fiery darts of the enemy. So now that things are slowing down on that front – I know I need to “rest”. But with “rest” comes time to reflect , if I reflect too much than all of the unfairness of what we just walked through comes flooding in like a roaring lion and then I have to deal with forgiveness. And trying to once again “let go and let God” deal with the betrayal and ugliness of another persons sin. So then it is just easier to run yourself ragged because than you don’t have to deal with everything that comes with divorce and betrayal and broken dreams etc etc . But thank you for these words – I will continue to work on “resting”. Sounds like an oxymoron !!!! Blessings !!

  • Shruti Boodle Chuahan

    An absolute confirmation of what the Lord has been trying to tell me the last couple of weeks! Thanks a tonne…:) God bless!

  • Shruti

    Sometimes we just don’t get it! But your encouragement on Rest and the others comments too makes it sound like An absolute confirmation of what the Lord has been trying to tell me the last couple of weeks! Thanks a tonne…:) God bless!

  • Angel Luis

    Wonderful Article and revealing Scriptures. Just goes to show that true rest is a found in a submitted and real relationship with Jesus…let’s all go to Him and release our weariness and our labors. It a Spritual RSVP.
    Therein will always lie true rest…the rest His Word reminds us of,
    and is availiable to all. Stay encouraged and choose rest… For it is a choice…

  • Linda McClellan

    I believe almost all women have that problem, at least if there is someone out there that doesn’t please tell me your secret. I have been so busy taking care of my 90 year old aunt, who I love dearly, I don’t have time to do anything for myself and my house needs a good cleaning. I’m in the process, in fact this Saturday, she is moving from rehab to a beautiful assisted living apartment. I’ve been buying furniture and now I have to do the calling, you know have the phone transferred, things turned off and turned on and my husband and I doing all the moving since we couldn’t find a mover at this late notice. But honestly I wouldn’t have it any other way and I ENJOY helping her and spending time with her. I know God will give me rest it’s just not time yet but it will come. I know I want to read some of my new Christian books and journal and read the word and really immerse myself in the Lord. For me that gives me peace, contentment and spending time with my Lord and Savior. I also want to start blogging, just about life and the beauty of being a child of God. I really enjoyed your story and it led me to thinking of resting in God’s care.