Are you running ragged? Do you feel like you are hitting your limit? Do you feel like you are on edge and every little thing is causing you to be snippy and snappy?
Well, these are the warning signs that are flashing before you saying...YOU need to SLOW DOWN! YOU need some BALANCE! YOU need to REST!
I've been there many times during the busy seasons of my life but what suprised me is how I got there even in the "empty-nester" season of my life.
How did that happen? Well, I started setting unrealistic goals and expectations for myself and driving myself to the point of exhaustion. I started staying up later and later to get everything on my to-do list done and I started working through the weekends. When I did allow myself to break away from work to do something, I put all this pressure on myself to make up the lost time to keep up with my goals and to-do list.
After about 10 weeks of this craziness, I started to become very edgy and stressed out. Then my productivitiy kept getting worse and worse and I felt like I had to make up for lost productivity until I got to the point that I was completely immobilized and just stared at my computer screen for 3 hours not accomplishing anything. All my productivity came to a grinding halt and I became a hot mess.
Fortunately, my mom convinced me to go to the women's retreat our church was doing. They still had a few spots open at the last minute. I relunctantly went cause I was in such a bad head space and I didn't even feel like being around a bunch of people, but as it turns out, it was just what I needed.
I didn't even know what the retreat was about. My mom signed me up and picked a random break out session for me. When I finally heard what they were on the way there (Lead, Serve or Rest) I said to her, "I hope you signed me up for Rest." She said that she didn't remember but thankfully when I signed in, sure enough, and by the grace of God, I was assigned to Rest.
Everything I heard during that initial session felt like it was a custom tailored message from God directly to me and it was everything I needed to hear to get my life, and my overall health and wellbeing back on track.
I decided to write a post about what I learned in this session to further process what I learned, to remember it and to be able to share it with others.
I hope it helps you too!
Take Aways from "Made to Rest" Session with Dr. Kimberly Alexander
As a speech language pathologist, minister, professor, speaker, Pastor's wife and mother, Dr. Kimberly Alexander definitely has figured out how to find balance and rest in her busy life.
As a self-proclaimed former "Queen of Multitasking," Kimberly shares how she laid down her crown and learned how to "Mono-task" and do only one thing at a time, being fully present.
With the growing trend of interest in Mindfulness, it is clear there is a need in the world to slow down, and to savor life more.
We live our lives in a flash, cramming more and more into everyday and we don't allow ourselves to rest or recharge. We push ourselves to run faster and faster and we expect everyone and everything else to run with speed, we don't even like the internet to be slow.
With stress becoming the #1 root cause behind both physical and mental health issues it is imperative that we learn how to slow down and make time for rest.
Kimberly points out that we treat our cellphones better than we treat ourselves. We plug them in at night to recharge the battery for the next day but we don't seem to understand that we need to recharge our batteries so we can keep on functioning.
When we are out and about and our phones start running out of battery, we know how to put it on low power mode to conserve the battery, we make adjustments in the brightness and we may even delete some apps. But we don't know how to make similar adjustments in our own lives to be able to make it through our busy days without losing it.
There is a season for everything
The bible says in Ecclesiates that there is a time and a season for everything. There is a rhythm to life, just like there is rhythm to music with rests, beats and pauses. Music wouldn't be as harmonous without these things just like our life can't be as harmonous without embracing the rhythm, rests, beats and pauses.
There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for everything under heaven.
A time to give birth and a time to die; A time to plan and a time to uproot what is planted.
A time to kill and a time to heal; A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance.
A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost; At time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear apart and a time to sew together; A time to be silent and a time to speak.
A time to love and time to hate; A time for war and a time for peace.
There is rhythm in nature with day and night, seasons and harvests, lunar and tidal cycles, breathing and heart beats, and even with female monthly cycles. If we paid attention more to the world around us, we might notice more beats and rhythms. Wouldn't it be nice to savor and embrace these things?
God's perfect plan
After God created everything in this world including mankind on the 6th day, the bible says He rested on the 7th day. Have you ever thought about why an all powerful, everlasing God needed to rest?
He obviously didn't need to rest, but He chose to rest. He took the time to sit back and consider all that He had made... to savor it, and He declared it good.
He demonstrated the value of rest.
He created us to be human beings, not human doings.
I personally believe it is God's greatest pleasure when we stop, pause and take notice of all the things He has created and all the things He is doing in and around us, and all the ways He is providing for our every need.
When we are so busy, going, going, going, we get so stressed and focused on all the wrong things. We think we just don't have time to stop and rest. But the issue isn't that we can't afford to rest, the issue is we can't afford not to rest.
Resting is about trusting
Here comes the big mind blowing moment for me when I listened to Dr. Kimberly speak.
She said that rest is about trusting and that if we have trouble resting, then we have trouble trusting. Pause... now let that sink in.
I had a bit of a hard time digesting that bit because in my heart of hearts I believe that I am trusting God 100%. I give all my cares over to Him each and every day and I feel like I am trusting Him. I even feel peace that He has everything in His hands.
But when I was confronted with this point and really thought about it, I realized, oh my goodness, she is right! I'm running myself ragged because deep down, I think I have to make things happen on my own.
Wow, I was really disceiving myself and thinking that I was trusting God when in reality I was trusting in myself.
Key Takeaway: Resting is About Trusting
- When I am doing nothing God has everything in His hand, He is holding up everything.
- He is more than enough
- God is soveriegn and we must rely on Him.
- Acknowledge the fact it doesn't depend upon us. God is in charge!
- If we do nothing, accomplish nothing, are nothing... God still loves us.
How to incorporate more rest into your life
Who makes your schedule? We do. We are responsible for the chaos we create in our lives by overcommitting, overscheduling, and overachieving.
There is a good quote by Anne Lamont that has been going around that says "Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you."
So if you are at you wits end, tired and depleted. Wave the white flag of surrender and take some time to unplug. Then start scheduling rest into the rhythm of your life.
Schedule daily rest, weekly rest, monthly rest and yearly rest.
- Daily rest: set an alarm for noon everyday and stop for a few minutes of silence and thank God for getting to the half way mark of your day, daily quiet time, a daily walk or maybe even a daily nap.
- Weekly rest: choose a day to take a "Sabboth Rest" to unplug for the day, get outside at least one day a week in nature, or schedule time to do something that fills you up.
- Monthly rest: get away from your home for at least a day, do a spa day, or go to the beach or mountains for the day.
- Yearly rest: go to a woman's retreat, or a couples retreat, take a vacation away or a staycation at home where you do nothing but rest.
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After the retreat I filled out a new Daily Tracker for the clip board in my office and added these things to help me to prioritize rest:
- Daily: Start my day with quiet time, journaling and prayer, go for a daily walk and go to bed by 11pm every night (read 30 minutes before to ensure I get sleepy)
- Weekly: Unplug from work/computer at 5pm on Friday, Sabboth Rest on Saturday, no computer or social media, get out in nature for hike or kayaking.
- Monthly: Get away for at least a day or overnight.
Consider the different types of rest needed in our lives.
Sometimes we need:
- physical rest
- mental rest
- spiritual rest
- emotional rest
- sensory rest
- creative rest
Remember to take time to reflect, to rejoice, to be thankful, to savor, to embrace play and to enjoy life!
I hope this post inspires you to take time to incorporate more rest into your life.
Do you have any favorite ways to refuel and recharge your batteries? Please share in the comments. We could all use more inspiration and ideas.
Wishing you JOY in your journey,
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