“If I can just do one more thing, then I’ll go to bed.” My plans for a restful evening after a busy day at work evaporated when I walked in the door and saw the mountain of unpacked boxes still in my living room. Instead of taking time to relax and unwind, I kept driving myself to do one more thing. The next morning I woke up feeling drained and discouraged instead of refreshed.
How to cultivate peace and joy when life feels like an exhausting hamster wheel?
Two months after our move into a new house, it still feels like my to-do list never ends. I just keep adding more things to it. How can I live the abundant life Jesus talked about when I ran out of energy to tackle my list?
Even if you didn’t just move like I did, you’ve probably also experienced seasons when you had so much to do that you ended up exhausted and irritable.
While the world calls us to hurry and hustle, God calls us to rest in Him. In the face of constant pressure to do more and work harder, God commands His people to observe Sabbath rest one day a week, so He can replenish our souls and renew our joy. Not only that, but He also desires that we work with an attitude of spiritual rest and peace that come from abiding in Him.
An Invitation to More Peace and Joy (and Less Stress)
Friend, if you feel exhausted, pulled in 10 different directions, or anxious about how to get everything done, maybe it’s time to heed Jesus’ simple invitation, “Come to me.”
His command comes with a promise: “I will give you rest.”
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
I see two keys to more peace and joy:
Accept God’s Gift of Rest
Physical Rest: God calls us to physically rest from our labors, so He can restore our strength and renew our hearts. I don’t know about you, but nothing zaps my joy faster than exhaustion. God gives us weekly Sabbath rest as a gift, and He designed us to be rejuvenated as we sleep each night. (I’m learning I’m a lot more fun to be around when I get enough sleep. Anyone else?)
Spiritual Rest: Even as we are working, we can find spiritual rest through abiding in Christ. When we do our work for Jesus, with Jesus, and trusting in Jesus to help us, He lightens our load and lessens our stress.
Take Jesus’ Yoke upon You
Most of us struggle to understand the concept of a yoke, but in Jesus’ day it was an instrument to ease the work of farm animals by enabling them to work in partnership. When we are yoked to Jesus, we are working with Him. Whatever life circumstances face us now, we are facing them with Jesus.
Our sense of peace grows when we trust God with our concerns and surrender to the circumstances—or the yoke—God has fashioned for us.
Practical Tips for Resting More and Stressing Less
- Take breaks while you work. A 5-minute walk can lower stress levels during a busy day.
- Try to get 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Take one day off each week to relax, worship God, and enjoy your family.
- Cultivate contentment through gratitude. (Instead of continually striving to buy more or improve your home.)
- Say a breath prayer, like “I am yours, God,” “Lord, I love you,” or “More of You in me” throughout the day.
- Meditate on the Scriptures each morning and rest your mind in the promises of God. (If you would like to receive my reading plan, Breathe: 7 Days to Receive God’s Gift of Rest, subscribe to FaithSpillingOver and hit reply to my welcome letter to ask for it.)
What if we focused on practicing the spiritual discipline of rest during the summer season?
How would our lives change if we made more space for allowing God to renew our sense of peace and joy? How could you respond to Jesus’ invitation today? Which one of these practical tips do you resonate with? (Leave a comment and let me know.)
Need ideas on how to get more out of your quiet time? I wrote More of God: A Distracted Woman’s Guide to More Meaningful Quiet Times to help overwhelmed and distracted women recover a fresh sense of God’s presence, learn to hear His voice, and grow their prayer lives. Click on the image below for more info:
Note: This post contains an affiliate link. If you purchase, I earn a small commission towards the maintenance of this site at no extra cost to you.
Photo by Dale Aceron on Unsplash
Donna Edsell says
I liked the part about the “yoke” sharing the burden…taking Jesus’s yoke allows Him to be a part of our “struggle”. Links us together. Also provides a sort of direction also.
Hi Donna, I have been thinking about this a lot lately. I never had thought about what “yoke” meant to Jesus’ listeners. until recently when I heard it on a podcast. Let’s walk in tandem with Him!
This is a timely post for me. I’m helping my previous employer while someone is out on medical leave and working 7 days a week this summer. I am also caring for my parents with dementia, while maintaining my own household. Needless to say, I’m stretched pretty thin. I get up at 4:30 every morning so I can have some quiet time with God to pray and do some Bible study. Although it would probably be more beneficial to get an extra hour of sleep, I find that this gives me a different calm that sleep just can’t provide. I am reminding myself that this is only temporary and I can clean the house in the fall!
Thank you for a wonderful reminder of His promise of rest.
Oh Brooke! It sounds like you have a lot on your plate. I am so sorry to hear about your parents. May the Lord give you grace, strength, and joy for each day. I know what you mean about the “different calm that sleep just can’t provide.” Praying for you now.
I needed this! Yes, we can get through the day, doing things for Jesus, with Jesus, and in His power, trusting in Jesus! What a difference it makes to do this, and I sometimes forget to completely trust in Him, to walk with me through my day. Thanks!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Holly. Believe me, I forget to walk with Him throughout the day as well. Writing for myself here. 🙂 Blessings.
Carmen Valentin says
Hi Betsy…I find it hard to relax ,even though Im retired.
Mentally Imexhausted and also physically.. Please pray for me..
Praying for you now, Carmen. That sounds hard. May the Lord give you the grace you need to rest in Him.
I love the “More of You in me” throughout the day and KNOW that’s the mind set and maybe a t-shirt I need.😁 It’s strange, I seem to have become more of a grumbler even as some of my burdens carried for so long have lighten. I have to say, I don’t like it! It’s like I want a break from ALL responsibilities for a while and not just a Sabbath rest. I know its not just a knowledge of Jesus in every moment but an active pursuit of Jesus in every moment, but somehow He always gets lost somewhere between morning bible time and the never ending to-do-list and I know that’s on me. Life is great, many things to be thankful for, clearly this is a season of weariness and change is on me! Blessings for your new home and unpacking, thanks always for your thoughts, stirring my thoughts.🙂
Hi Cindy, I know what you mean about becoming a grumbler. It happens to me so easily as well. I know also the wish for a TOTAL break, and sometimes we just don’t have that luxury. For me, I try to ask the Lord to give me joy in my work and help me to rest and abide in Him, even on busy days. Easy to pray, harder to live it out! May the Lord give you grace and peace in the midst of your to-do list. (I also try to shorten mine to 3 things. When I finish those, I add mroe!)
Thank you for this reminder to take time throughout the day. Yes, somewhere between morning Bible and prayer time and life continues, I drift back to feeling like I want to dump all volunteer responsibilities. I love to be involved and help others and sometimes don’t really take care of me. As a retiree, I am learning that I can enjoy volunteering only if I ask Jesus along. Otherwise, I tend to grumble, also. I am also learning it is okay to enjoy the fruits of my labor and relax. I thought I’d have it figured out by now, but I need that constant Biblical reminder that I am not in charge!
I know what you mean about not being able to enjoy our work (paid or volunteer) if we don’t take Jesus along. It has taken me a long time to give myself permission to rest, relax, and just have fun. I find rest helps me fill my well and let God renew my peace.
Word Peace says
Very nice… i really like your blog. Very useful informations. Thanks
Jeanette Glashen says
I just happened on this website by chance and really love this devotional. It was a few days ago I was saying to myself that I really don’t know how to rest. I work 6 days per week and have church on Sunday. My work hours are long and the pandemic has made the whole situation worse. I am glad though that God offers us rest and that I can rest in him. I do sometimes do the breath prayer when situations get overwhelming. Thank you for this devotional and I would love to get the seven day plan. I also wants to know if the book is on kindle. I live in Jamaica and would have to pay cost for shipping through Amazon.
Jeanette, I’m so sorry I missed this comment until now. I’ll answer via email later this week. Blessings.
Sharon M DeMarah-Bowen says
Enjoyed reading this today.
So glad, Sharon!
Dara Gunnell says
Hi Betsy, I’m thrilled to find you! I ADORE DevotionaI writings and love yours! I hope you get this Beause I believe this devo was written by awhile back. But I loved 2 things especially: “How could you respond to Jesus’ invitation today? ” And Cultivate Contentment!
Now, with the Christmas holidays upon us NOW, I emphasize again! It’s more difficult to rest for sure. I told my husband how unlike what Christmas be should really be about, all this hustle and bustle! But again just posting a comment to your wonderful DevotionaI I just found today, lope to find many more. Yes may God help us all to focus on THE REASON f it r the be Season!