Summer brings thoughts of slower, less hurried days. But for many of us, this isn’t reality.
Busy vacations, endless yard work, and/or messy kids at home most days can make rest feel impossible.
But the truth is, you can find rest in the midst of this. In Matthew 11:28-30, Jesus invites us to rest. But, he doesn’t say, “Come to me, all who are weary and burdened…take my pillow.” No…he says, “take my yoke.”
A yoke is tool used to carry a load. It’s used for work, usually hard work.
You see, Jesus’s rest isn’t about kicking up your feet. It’s about submitting your spirit. It’s about laying your emotional, physical, or spiritual weariness before him and letting him refresh you.
So how do you do this?
Well first friend, pray. Ask God how you can find rest for your soul.
Then partner with him. There are many places in the Bible where God releases his blessing and power when we act (Exodus 14:14-15, Philippians 2:12-13). So, in this post, I’m sharing three ways you can take action and open yourself to the rest Jesus is offering you.
I’m including an “In Real-Life” example for each one. That way, you can see how I’m incorporating these habits into my summer. My hope that these examples give you ideas for incorporating them into your own summer.
THE ONE-MINUTE PAUSE
In the book Get Your Life Back, John Eldridge suggests that the key to finding peace in a crazy world is to put one-minute pauses in your day.
We often focus on what drains us. This spiritual habit is an invitation to refocus on God.
A pause could happen at a literal time such as 10:00 a.m., or after a reoccurring event such as arriving home from your evening commute.
You simply stop, breathe, and acknowledge God through silence, gratitude, prayer requests…really anything. The point is that you make time during the day to recognize your need and love for God.
In Real-Life: This summer, I plan to practice the one-minute pause at the beginning of our family’s afternoon down time. Around 1:30 each weekday, my kids are required find something to do independently so that I can work on a project (or nap). Instead of jumping into work, I’m planning to pause and listen. It will be a chance to see what God may want me to prioritize during that hour.
Lisa Woodruff, professional organizer and productivity expert, coined this term that I love: planned neglect. Basically, it’s identifying something you think you should do and deciding in advance not to do it.
Sweet sisters, we can’t do everything. Too often we live with guilt over what’s not being done. Instead, we need to remember that the Bible tells us there are seasons for doing (and not doing) certain things (Ecclesiastes 3:1-12).
So, take some time with God and ask, what truly matters for the next three months and what doesn’t? If you want help discerning this, check out our Abide Daily printable workbook.
Planned neglect can be stopping something all together, or significantly reducing its complexity.
For example, you could decide to let that jungle in your backyard go for the entire summer. Or, you could choose two plants to care for and ignore the rest. Your neglect…your choice.
In Real Life: This summer I’m putting a hold on home projects. I’ve been on a mission to make our main living space more organized and welcoming. However, the hours it takes me to gather ideas and deals online is mentally draining. And typically, mental drain makes me irritable. That’s definitely not what I need when I’m at home with two young kids everyday. So, goodbye Pinterest. See you again in the fall. I’m choosing mental space to love well and find rest.
I saved this one for last because I honestly think this is the hardest. But I also believe it’s the one that can cultivate the most love. It’s using less words. Specifically, less nagging words, less complaining words, and less critical words.
In Abundant Simplicity, Spiritual Director Jan Johnson says this is one way to embrace a more simple and loving life. She writes, “using fewer word and speaking slowly—made it more likely that my words ‘impart grace to the hearer’(Eph. 4:29). ”
It’s good to speak truth. However, we need to pay attention to whether the truth is helpful in the moment and necessary in the situation.
It’s also important to notice if you’re using your words to control situations, instead of trusting God or asking him to control the situation.
I encourage you to try this with a roommate, a spouse, a child, or a co-worker. Ask, where could hold my tongue to trust God and show more grace?
In Real-Life: I’ve started to implement this recently with what I say to my kids. I’m reminding less and repeating consequences less. Instead, I’m trying to let situations unfold naturally. Is it hard…really hard! But here’s what I’m finding. The less I nag, the less tension I feel between my children and me. And, when heated emotions arise, using fewer words means I’m adding less fuel to the fire. The result? My child and I usually recover faster from the conflict.
I encourage you to get good sleep and find moments for yourself this summer. But remember, Jesus invites you to rest even when stillness isn’t possible. Seek him first. Then, try one of these practices to rest your mind and soul this summer.