“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:
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Photo by Dale Aceron on Unsplash