“Prison,” she said after sharing with me how desperately tired she was, “is starting to sound really good.”

She wasn’t in danger of being convicted of anything, unless exhaustion is considered a crime. But she was so tired that even the idea of prison didn’t repel her if it meant she could be on a mattress and read a book alone.

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Seems to me there are easier ways to get time alone than prison (Maybe a hotel? A lock on the bedroom door? Something that doesn’t involve bars?) but I knew what she meant. We laughed, shook our heads at ourselves, promised to never reveal those words to anyone because prison.

When desert islands, hospitals, sinus infections, broken legs, and jail start to sound like a vacation, you know you need to take a rest on purpose.

When you believe you would be too behind if you took some time off or you imagine all those other productive people out there shipping and working and getting things done and it makes you feel frantic, you know you need to take a rest on purpose.

When the work other people do discourages you rather than motivates, if their art furrows your brow and stands heavy on your chest while you breathe shallow and quick because you didn’t think of it first, then you know you need to take a rest on purpose.

When you begin to fill empty hours of weekends and holidays with one more productive idea/chapter/list/email, then you may not know it’s time to take a day off yet, but your spouse does.

And so do your kids.

And maybe so do your arteries.

Saying yes to rest means saying no to good things. But taking regular time off is not a punishment or a dare or a rule. It’s a gift. It’s taking a day to open your hands toward heaven and acknowledging that you don’t make the world go around.

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When I am able-bodied, alert, and other-wise healthy, rest doesn’t look like a requirement. It looks like an option. And not a very productive one.

It takes courage to choose rest because you know what you are letting go of, but you do not know what you are stepping into. And so rest can feel like a risk. Fear is a loud and abusive motivator – of being left out or left behind. It sounds ridiculous typing it out like that, but there it is.

I’m inching my way back to internet writing after a seven-week blog break. A few things I noticed in myself about half-way through this blog-writing break:

  • the pressure to come back feeling super motivated and creative.
  • the desire to have new perspective and ideas.
  • weird expectations of my ability to produce once the break was over.

What this told me half-way through was that I wasn’t ready to come back yet because I was still seeing my break as a means to a productive end rather than an end in itself.

Maybe a break means taking time to listen without the pressure to hear something profound; a time to read without the pressure to learn something interesting; a time to receive without the pressure to turn the gift into something more useful.

Just because you take a break from something doesn’t mean you’re resting. My soul was desperate for me to know the difference.

What I need even more than a break is rest – the kind that sticks around even after all the sand and chlorine is washed out of my bathing suit, the kind that softens the shadows of my soul even after I return to the dishes, the kind that comforts and sings in the midst of the same old routines.

We need to find rest for our souls.

The details of soul rest may look different for each of us, but probably includes some combination of silence, solitude, nature, your people, and the willingness to come into the presence of Christ and simply be ourselves.

What does soul rest look like for you?

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  1. 1

    Emily,
    With two back to back surgeries, I was forced to physically rest and especially with the first one, I quickly felt like the walls were closing in…I was fighting taking a break, resting. It finally took some wrestling with God and with my pride to give in an accept this down time. It’s kind of sad commentary that God needed to “bench” me in order to get me out of the lineup, but sometimes that’s what it takes. Much better, like you pointed out, is when we realize for ourselves and choose to rest.

    Real soul rest for me usually involves getting into God’s creation – whether it is going to the mountains or going to the beach, I find that I need to physically remove myself from my usual surrounding in order to find rest. Being out in God’s wondrous creation stirs something in me that brings a sense of peace and wellbeing that other experiences don’t provide. But, I can’t always take off for the mountains or the beach so finding a special chair or place in my home can have a similar effect. Someplace where I can read God’s word and not look at dirty dishes in the sink. Thank you for helping me to see and understand the real times my soul needs rest!
    Blessings,
    Bev

  2. 3

    This is good, Emily. Why is it so hard to truly rest? Thanks for sharing.

  3. 4

    yes to this. just yes. fear of missing out. fear of being forgotten about in the noisy world of the internet. but taking a blog break has been the very best thing. finding my breath again. feeling the desire to put words together again.

    thank you for sharing this and making me feel like i’m not alone.

  4. 6

    I love this Emily. I’ve been observing Sabbath routinely for about a year and a half and invited my tribe to follow me. It’s been a transformative experience for many of us — healing, restoring, insightful — all from a weekly rest period. It seems we can see ourselves more clearly when we stop and pay attention. Here is a link to the Sabbath Society if you are interested: http://redemptionsbeauty.com/sabbath-society/

  5. 8

    I’m thinking that fear keeps us bloggers from resting from our labors, Emily.

    Fear of missing out. Fear that no one will return when we hit the PUBLISH button some weeks/ months from now. Fear of who I might be if I’m not staring at a screen, fingers flying over a keyboard.

    Meanwhile we write from parched souls. Our words are forced and ring strangely hollow. No light shines from the sentences we string together. We yawn. Our readers yawn, too.

    One question I can ask myself … do I have something essential to say today?

    And if not, that’s ok.

    ‘Cause then I know I need to choose silence. Solitude. The re-fueling place where my creativity and joy can be nurtured once again with sleep. Long gentle walks. Quiet conversations. And the puttering about that brings a smile.

    Unplugged.

  6. 9
    Rebecca says:

    Thank you for this reminder! I think we all know we need rest, but often try to get rest with much kicking and screaming. I love the truth in knowing you are going to say yes to rest and are missing out on other things – and that is OK!!!!
    Thanks for this again!

  7. 10

    When my one-year-old is tired, he goes faster and faster. He laughs and babbles more loudly. He runs faster. He plays with more vigor, but has difficulty sitting still long enough to complete a bit of play. He goes from one thing to another without focus. He stumbles more easily, gets frustrated more quickly, falls down and hurts himself a lot more.

    His mind has a hard time letting go. Often he will be on the edge of sleep, only to jerk himself awake and frantically repeat a word or action he’s learned that day.

    It’s so easy to see it in him. What he needs to do. So hard to watch him fighting against rest.

    Of course I do the same thing myself, with the same pathetic results. And I’m thinking that it’s no good telling him to let it go and relax when he see I don’t.

    • 11

      I remember when my kids were little and they would get all worked up and people would say “Oh they’ll sleep good tonight!” but the truth was tired babies don’t sleep so well. Rested babies rest well. And it took me awhile to learn that. And I’m with you – learning that about myself as well!

  8. 12
    Donna R. says:

    In the first part of the post you described me perfectly. I have not figured out the resting part yet, but hopefully your post and the grace of God will help me figure it out. THANK YOU.

  9. 14

    I just said to my husband the other day, “I’m SO SICK of sitting in front of my computer screen!” Up until a few months ago, I couldn’t wait to start hammering on those keys. Hmmm, maybe it’s time to break from “marketing” & “social media” getting the word out, and get back to The Word. Thank you so much for this, Emily!

  10. 15

    It has taken me a long time to even start to understand real rest. This season He has me in doesn’t seem very restful – I mean, who seriously calls chasing a toddler rest? But just like you said, I had to learn the difference between a break and true rest. I thought this season was about me taking a break from teaching preschool to simply focus on being at home, but I was still constantly thinking of all the things I could do when I have the opportunity to go back (I still do. And there isn’t even a guarantee that I ever will go back.) But then one day I finally heard Him whispering that really this season is supposed to be about resting IN HIM. Trusting Him. Relying on Him. Listening to His nudges. To stop trying to strive and achieve and simply receive from Him instead, and then turn and give that away. It’s hard for an overachiever to change my thinking, but so worth it.

  11. 16

    I think the resting place for me is solitude; sometimes singing a spiritual song to my Lord.And taking time to listen

  12. 17

    So glad you pointed out that there is a difference between taking a break and resting. It does take courage to intentionally rest when you have a slew of things to be done. Thanks for the encouragement to rest.

  13. 18

    Your words never fail to speak straight to my heart and the season that I am living. Thank you, Emily Freeman, for having the courage to lay them out there for all of us.

  14. 19

    I appreciate how you shared rest and your creative / writing progress. I am trying to balance writing discipline and sincerity. With two small kids, time to write is miniscule. The other night i had a moment, fell pressure to seize it, but the thoughts and writing was not sincere. I mentally rested and took 2 days away. I came back to writing when it was fun and energizing again. I also like to start my day by sitting outside by my flower beds, greeting God and my roses and confederate jasmine. This centers me and gives me mental and spiritual rest :)

  15. 20

    I took a year l

  16. 21

    I took a year long break from serving. When I was done at the beginning of summer, I too felt the pressure. It was creeping back up this morning as a matter of fact. It tells me that I need to do. All. The. Things. Even if I am busy, I still need to be resting in Jesus. Trusting Him with all. The. Things. And releasing burdens and focusing on the task at hand. That’s what he is telling me today. He used you to reinforce that. Thank you. I will come into his presence and be me with him today.

  17. 22

    Thank you. I come from a family who values work above all else. Now rest assured, I have a great work ethic because of it! But even now as an adult I have a difficult time doing nothing. It has to have a purpose. If I sit and watch the news for an hour, I struggle with guilt! I’m going to re-read this! Thank you again!

  18. 23

    Am reading your book, A Million Ways, and I love it! You are speaking right into my soul! Thank you! God is just beginning to teach me about rest-actually, I am just beginning to listen to what He has been trying to tell me for a very long time! Am sitting on the porch right now enjoying a gentle summer rain unsteady of doing homework! Thank you for this post!

  19. 24
    Grammarox says:

    Wow! I needed this devotion today. I was giving serious consideration to running away – just jumping in the car and driving away – to any where, any place, just away. Where did those wild thoughts come from? I am regrouping, turning to God, listening to Him and really taking back my life – all those pieces that I had given away to SO many people. Yes, I need a break. Yes, I need rest . . . and sleep, and help and more of Him. That’s how I get back on track.

  20. 25

    Rest and keeping the sabbath (for me, Saturday) are both helpful gifts of God. I often don’t feel productive because my work doesn’t get measured and paid. I homeschool. I cook and shop for one husband, one daughter, one elderly father-of-mine. I (rarely) clean the house, wash the dog, garden. I crochet gifts while watching movies, sporadically keep up with email and write on my blog and find ways to make money to support my Compassion children. What I want is not a paid job per se but a certainty that every day I am working for my Lord, doing his will to the best of my ability and with a cheerful thankful heart. Prov. 22:29 just became our verse for our next school year: “do you see a man who excels in his work? He will stand before kings, he will not stand before unknown men.” How does that come back to rest? Because my Lord instituted a one in seven day rest, not to follow slavishly, not for my salvation (that’s by his sacrificial grace) but as a gift for my flourishing and a time to bask in his presence.

  21. 26
    GodsGrace says:

    This message is needed by almost every woman I know. We need to learn to take care of ourselves, to rest so God can refresh us, to learn that busyness is not a fruit of the Spirit. Coming from a driven mom who drove me, for a long time I thought my worth was in my doing. It is only since I’ve come to really know God that I am starting to believe that who I am is enough. I just took 5 days off to do exactly what I wanted and none of what I didn’t want. I cooked one night because I wanted to. Sunday night it was “hon, there’s leftover chicken and leftover ham and macaroni salad, help yourself.” He was surprised at first, but then went and helped himself.

  22. 27

    I always love your blog, Emily. Yes, it does take courage to rest. I think mostly because it’s an act of self love which because of wrong teaching and thinking usually immediately brings on feelings of guilt, when in reality, we are only guilty of abusing ourselves.

    Much love!!

  23. 28

    “Maybe a break means taking time to listen without the pressure to hear something profound; a time to read without the pressure to learn something interesting; a time to receive without the pressure to turn the gift into something more useful.” – doing a bit of this myself today and it is healing salve to my raw soul… I’m bravely bearing my heart on my blog this week, sharing something that’s literally knocked the wind out of me today, and on Wednesday – oh man, a call to action that’s come from a deep, deep well of soul cries… I had so much planned for these few days stollen away from work, but maybe this rest, in the middle of the stirring, is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing friend!

  24. 29

    “Maybe a break means taking time to listen without the pressure to hear something profound; a time to read without the pressure to learn something interesting; a time to receive without the pressure to turn the gift into something more useful.” – doing a bit of this myself today and it is healing salve to my raw soul… I’m bravely bearing my heart on my blog this week, sharing something that’s literally knocked the wind out of me today, and on Wednesday – oh man, a call to action that’s come from a deep, deep well of soul cries… I had so much planned for these few days stollen away from work, but maybe this rest, in the middle of the stirring, is exactly what I needed. Thank you so much for sharing friend! ~ Shawna, http://www.shawnaathome.com

  25. 30
    Lovelle says:

    Even God rested on the seventh day. It’s really easy to get caught up in the business that life brings. With deadlines, responsibilities, and extracurricular activities we can go to fast and lose sight of the one person who truly matters. God didn’t make us to be busy. If that were the case then we would have unending energy. He made us to be still and knowledge him. In return he gives us love and strength. It’s little moments God blesses us with that make a huge difference. They can be overlooked so easy and I’m sad to say I have. It’s watching the sunset, taking a walk with no one but you and God, and resting in his presence while curled up with a book or your bible that help us regain energy. Your post reminded me of this so thank you. Rest is a gift that should be embraced and we should know when it’s needed. I will now cherish every resting moment he gives me.

  26. 31

    Good reminder for us all! I am on vacation this week and am thankful for friends who understand what it is like to live three doors down from your place of rest! I’m excited to revel in these last days of summer; hopefully some lake time, campfire time, reading outside and so much more!

  27. 32

    *place of work not place of rest!

  28. 33
    Susan Gruener says:

    REST it seems is the topic for the week! So many of us just can’t stop being so ‘busy’. I definitely need ‘alone’ time and ‘down time’ every day to stay ‘sane’. ;) I love to just get a lone with God, my bible, devotionals etc and be able to focus on Him and His Word and His direction for my life. I’m a grandma now and have a bit more time on my hands, but we do have our adult daughter and two awesome grandkids living with us, since their father passed away, so I have to be intentional about finding my ‘alone’ time. God is faithful in all things! And when we ask Him to help us with ‘anything’ He is faithful to do it!
    Thanks Emily! May you find His rest for you today! ;)

  29. 34

    “It takes courage to choose rest because you know what you are letting go of, but you do not know what you are stepping into. And so rest can feel like a risk. Fear is a loud and abusive motivator…”

    This is so true, and something God has been laying on my heart for a while now. It’s easier to rest my body than it is to rest my mind…and my soul. We have 4 kids, three young adults and only 1 still left in school)…and I have concern for each of them at different times and for different reasons. But one of our young adults has Down Syndrome, and his welfare is always on my mind. You hit the nail on the head when you said “fear is a loud and abusive motivator.” I am convinced that we let fear of the unknown take over our lives. All of the what-ifs can make a person crazy. Or maybe that’s just me. Thank you so much for sharing this post. A great reminder to focus on FAITH, not fear…that is the greatest rest for the soul. :)

  30. 35

    All the categories of rest you mention at the end of your post result in rejuvenation. Including all five sometime during the week will surely help keep stress at bay. Thank you, Emily, for helping us realize that rest is a requirement, not a luxury. And that rest as an end in itself is a worthy goal.

  31. 36
    Lisa Measures says:

    Wow! Great perspective….one I obviously needed to hear since I felt like a lightbulb went on after reading it! Thank you

  32. 37

    I have been there. When the thought of a hospital bed seemed more comfortable than my own bed. When I literally thought I was going crazy because I was doing too much and trying to keep up. It seems to me the theme for 2014 is “rest”. I find it everywhere I look, and I know the Lord has revealed the need to me in my own life. I have begun to heed to it, and know that taking the rest I so need has helped me more in my spiritual growth than anything this year. Resting in the Lord brings peace.

  33. 38

    I don’t really know what rest looks like for me. It used to look like reading or a walk in the woods, but I find that so much of my life follows me into these places these days. I need more of a mental break rather than a physical one.

  34. 39

    Emily, this is profound and very good. I really appreciated it. Being retired, i am coming from a different place in life, but oh, I so relate and it will always be good for me to remember. this. File this blog away to read again. Thanks for this.

  35. 40

    I remember reading Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist and there is a chapter called “Things I don’t do.” She learned to make a list of things she would say no to in order to free herself to rest and contribute to the things that matter. I love this thought. We must take care of ourselves. We have to say no. We have to choose to say no. Not every mom needs to be a baking queen or professional DIY-er. You don’t have to feel guilty to pay for a maid or go get coffee by yourself on a Saturday morning. I think we could all benefit by making a “things I don’t do” list. I’ve been meaning to for awhile.

  36. 41

    Thank you for writing this. I work in education so am just part way through the summer holidays and people never seem to get that just because I’ve not had to be in work doesn’t mean that I’m rested, like really rested. This is the definition/difference that I’ve always known but never named. I get a break from work but sometimes that means I’m actually busier as people think I’ve so much free time that their demands on me and their expectations increase, it’s very rare that I feel rested. The key to rest for me is going on pilgrimage or retreat. The 3 days out of 6 weeks holiday that I spend at the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, England, provide me with more refreshment and relaxation than the rest of the year’s holidays combined. Finding a special place where you can go and just be, is the most amazing blessing. Whether it’s a religious place, a park, a quiet table in the cafe down the road, finding a place and taking/making the time to be still and be with Him is lifechanging. just listening, being guided, allowing yourself to receive those feelings of peace that the world cannot offer, that, to me, is rest.

  37. 42
    Quilt Lady says:

    This post was so profound I’ve read/mediated on it 3 times today!

    As a teacher, life is a juggle between the children we teach, our families & friends, church, and making time for ourselves. Everyone thinks you have “summers off.” That’s not always the case. There’s summer school, curriculum writing, planning for next year, home chores that were put off during the year, children, grandchildren, church- and the list goes on. When you’re an “A” personality, which many good teachers are, it’s hard to turn the switch off!. True resting is something I crave like ice cream!

    This summer I had minor foot surgery which grounded me from many activities. Until I read your blog, I thought the fear and anxiety of “doing nothing” was all in my head. I felt somehow I was a slacker because it wasn’t “working” at something. God sat me down, but I couldn’t enjoy my rest!

    School starts next week and I felt exactly as you did:
    “*the pressure to come back feeling super motivated and creative.
    *the desire to have new perspective and ideas.
    *weird expectations of my ability to produce once the break was over.”

    Once I read your post, I realized how much time I wasted worrying when I could have been truly resting. I felt so sorry for myself.

    Then I realized it’s all about perspective.
    *I did rest – some
    *I’m good at what I do and shouldn’t worry about what others think or expect of me.
    *Romans 8:28 – All things come together for the good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.
    *Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength

    Thank you for blessing me!

  38. 43

    Oh, that I could tattoo every last word on my weary, product-oriented soul.

    Simply the reading is rest.
    Thank you.

  39. 44

    Our family all 12 including the 3 adults & their families and 2 teens just returned from a vacation. On the last day I asked my daughter in law to be if she enjoyed the time & was she rested? This spring she made 3 tripsover seas back to back and 2 in the states. She said it was the first ime in forever she had not thought about work at all! Score! One of our goals was no work and lots of play. Preparing and planning for both sabbath rest and annual rest is important which is why God addresses it in Scripture often. Unfortunately, much as I try, I don’t always apply those principles until I am totally frazzled.

  40. 45

    Emily, I recently started a blog to encourage those with chronic pain. I have suffered with pain for 14 years due to back surgeries, etc. I have recently been diagnosed with widespread fibromyalgia as well, and I am hurting all over. I pretty much had a melt down last week. I never let it all out because I am a positive person and I can usually deal with things very well. However, even the strongest of individuals need to talk it out with someone. So, that is what I am going to do, as well as taking a break from my blog until I feel better emotionally. I feel a little like a failure to have to stop blogging after a couple of months. But life has a way of interrupting us. It hurts because I am doing what God called me to do–and I have to take a break so soon! I pray that you are feeling revived after your break! I know The Lord will be ever-present while I step back for a bit! Your post is an encouragement to me , and couldn’t have been timed better. Definitely a “God” thing!!
    Becky

    • 46

      I understand that..took a break from my life calling as a pastor to have renewal time after running nonstop for everyone around the clock..it hurt and I wasn’t sure that I was doing what God wanted but was so worn out..in the end it was exactly what god was ordering as my doctor !! rest and renewal !!!

  41. 47

    yes and yes..took a year off my job as a pastor..the world says no..whats wrong..why does there always have to be something wrong for women to take a break from helping everyone else day after day after day ????
    at first it felt awful doing nothing but I knew God wanted me to rest and restore myself..he was there in my rest & there in my renewal !!! its ok to back away for awhile and not be perfect and do what the world deems as right (running to laundry,baking,appointments and everyone else ).its ok to rest. at the end of it all I know God better,know myself more and serve my family much better.

  42. 48

    Emily,

    It’s like you penned the soul-words of my heart on this very page. I’m reading through your newest book now in an intentional time of rest. I can’t agree more with what you’ve shared here, especially: “…but you do not know what you’re stepping into.” I highly recommend Mark Buchannan’s “The Rest of God” if you’ve not yet read it. Also, this: I’m learning that God will provide for my needs in advance just so that I can spend time with Him (ex, manna, the year of Jubilee, the Sabbath, etc). And that rest is God’s gift to prepare me for what’s to come. Thanks for this today–excited by what He is laying on your heart. :)

  43. 50

    Why people still use to read news papers when in this technological world all is accessible
    on web?

  44. 51

    I just broke a bone in my foot on Friday, and am laid up with a cast and crutches for 30 days – “benched”, as another commenter said… Earlier this spring I read Mark Buchanan’s The Rest of God, and am still trying to absorb the beautiful truths about rest – obviously, I haven’t absorbed enough yet since God saw fit to take me out of action anyway! Disciplining myself to keep my leg up and not walk around the house picking up dirty laundry and LEGOs takes more self-control than I have, but my swollen purple foot is an unrelenting rest-requester, and I’m learning to LISTEN. (My One Word for 2014!) I loved everything you said here, Emily… thank you for voicing this SO-MUCH-NEEDED reminder.

  45. 52

    Bev, You summed it up wonderfully. I don’t have the beach but do have the mountains. God takes care of us when we nerd it. I fell and broke my ankle 4 years ago. God worked in my life too. He knows what best for us and struggle to listen and obey.

  46. 53

    Yes. I relate to every word of this. I am so tired. I am literally DESPERATE for rest. I cannot remember a time in which I didn’t work full time in a high stress position. I held jobs through high school, I held three jobs through college, I have been working full time in demanding positions since the week I graduated, and I am tired. I went through a serious illness 6 years ago, and I worked full time through that as well since there was no one to care for me or to help with the bills. And I have been the recipient of God’s amazing grace, but I am so tired. This week I have prayed that God would take me home so that I don’t have to be so tired anymore. I’ve asked my family for help. I’ve told my husband I’m not OK, but neither of us comes from a place of financial stability and this idea of rest is as foreign to him as it’s been to up until this point. I have to believe that if I let go, God will be there to catch me even if that means my husband isn’t on board. But I am so tired. I’ve been praying that God will show me a way, so I’m so grateful for your piece. It came on a day when I was telling God that I don’t have the strength to be alive. Thank you.

    • 54

      Dear Kim,

      I will pray right this very moment that somehow you will find the deep rest your body and soul so desperately longs for. I’m glad you found your way here today.

  47. 55

    We have two boys, 3.5 and 1.5, and I am 28 weeks pregnant with our third. I am never caught up. And if you walked into my house, you’d never know that I am a (recovering) perfectionist. Even when I choose to sit instead of clean, I feel guilty for it usually. And I constantly feel like if I don’t keep things at a certain level of order (which I never attain), that I will simply be swallowed up by it and life will fall apart. A doctor visit by myself IS like vacation. And when my husband makes me go out by myself, I feel pressure to fill every minute of that alone time with meaningful rest that will recharge me to be able to come back and do better at everything.
    Yeah, I’d say I needed your words today.. And tomorrow… And in 12 weeks…
    Maybe it’s the hormones, but I kinda wanted to cry reading every word!

  48. 56
    Suzanne says:

    @Quilt lady: I am a teacher as wel,l and I can totally relate. I am praying your start to school is one in which you rest in your identity in Christ.

  49. 57
    Suzanne says:

    @Quilt lady: I am a teacher as well, and I can totally relate. I am praying your start to school is one in which you rest in your identity in Christ.

  50. 58

    This is an epically profound art-thought blog post that is so relatable it almost hurts. I love it.

  51. 59

    Thank you for the encouragement… You are such a blessing.

  52. 60
    Beth Williams says:

    I never truly and fully understood the need for “resting”. I could relax and enjoy days off work & have fun, but true resting wasn’t there. Not until this year. I have a rough one dealing with my aging dad, stressful job I don’t like, and hubby’s job problems. It hit me hard that I needed to “rest”.

    Usually on days off I try to cram a lot of stuff into it & always wanted to do things on weekends. Now I know & fully understand that I need to get the essentials done & stop! Just listen to Christian music & relax in Jesus. Today 08/15/14 is one of those days. I plan to get some stuff done, cook a nice meal for hubby–but just enjoy the day & time with God!

    Thank you for talking about “resting” !! :)

  53. 61

    Stumbled upon this blog today. I read all the responses as well. Beautiful. Do u send the link, Emily, to our email address? Would like to be added. Thanks, Jan

  54. 62

    Dear Emily, it must be God who me to this article at 2am in the morning!
    I’ve recently resign from my work and took 5 months off to do a course with Youth With a Mission. Coming back from New Zealand, I was hoping to jump back into the workforce for pragmatic reasons. However, a month has passed with very little response from the companies. A friend commented, “You’ve worked 13 years straight, it is all right to take a break. And God probably wants to make use of this period to live out what you’ve learnt.”
    And that’s probably true. The lesson? Rest in trust of Him. Trust in resting with Him.
    Bless you, Emily

  55. 63
    Jacquelyn Platek says:

    Emily,

    Thank you for this article. It spoke directly to me and where I am. I was forced to take time off at the start of this year because of a foot surgery.

    I am a social person and now that I am back to full-speed, my calendar is filled with many good, fun things in addition to working full-time. When I am home, I always feel the need to be productive and just sitting outside and reading or “doing nothing” makes me feel guilty because I should be getting something done instead. It’s even hard for me to spend quality time with God. I feel so tired. I have taken time off and gone out of town this summer on three trips. They were great and were good times with family and friends; However, they were busy trips, not relaxing ones. Now I have no vacation time left for the year. And I am also in debt and the pressure I am putting on myself to deal with that makes me feel like I need to fit in some kind of a second job in order to pay it down faster. But, my days are too full for me to even think about how to fit another job in.

    I know I am more a “Martha” than a “Mary” in biblical terms and I should be a “Mary” for that is better. I am just not sure how to make that happen. I will read this article a couple more times and pray that God will show me what soul rest means and how to be still enough to find it.

    Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this topic.

  56. 64

    Amen!

  57. 65

    This means so much to me right now. More than you know, in fact.

    Two weeks ago, I was admitted to the hospital involuntarily for what I can only describe as a complete and utter breakdown. It was terrifying and heartbreaking and I had no idea what things were going to be like.

    I hated that hospital – it was kind of like an ICU in a way, though our bodies weren’t broken. Our hearts and souls were, it felt.

    But as terrible as it was? It was almost as if I was given permission to rest. I couldn’t worry about things on the outside, even if I tried. Nobody would let me. I knew that my time there was a chance for me to not only fix myself, but reflect and enjoy the quiet. Not the literal quiet (there was a schizophrenic woman that loved to yell up and down the hallway in the middle of the night), but the chance to quiet the clutter in my life. The email, the phone calls, social media – they all went away, and all I had was myself. It was desperately needed, though now I know that I really do just need to say yes to intentional rest. And resting is okay. Thank you for the reminder. xoxo

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    The need for me to be productive is so ingrained in my thick skull that sometimes I think I am married to productivity! This is my year of rest. I have sent all of my previously homeschooled children to school because my soul craves rest and solitude. I feel guilty for having so much down time, but I am trying to silence that pestering voice in my head. Thanks for the great insights.

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    I’ve debated whether or not to take my laptop on our family beach trip coming up soon. Our grown children always bring theirs but as I wrote out my packing list I sensed an aching for something different. The moment I scratched it off my list doubts began creeping in about my being away from the blog for a week, unable to respond to those taking the time to stop by, comment. So I did what any confident woman would do. I added it back to my list, this time in ink.

    After reading your post, however, there’s no longer a debate but a decision. The laptop is staying home. :)

    By the way, your Million Little Ways book is one of my all-time faves (and that’s saying something!) Now I’m enjoying your sister’s Nesting book as well. It will soon be heading to Garden City SC with me and the family. God bless!

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