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A Decision to Simply Rest

This rule-following, dream-chasing girl is learning to live a life that is not governed by do's and don'ts.  I'm learning to hear God's voice and do whatever He says is holy.Busy.  Busy.  Busy.

If there is one thing I’m good at, it’s being busy.   My brain shifts gears on a dime … people often comment on how much I can get done … I’m an expert at multi-tasking … a time management hero.

So when I heard Glynnis Whitwer was releasing a new book called Doing Busy Better, I thought this would be awesome!  I’ll learn some great tips and strategies to handle even more load.  I could get even better at busy.

I should have known better, and I realized it within the first chapter.  This book was not the enabler I wanted it to be.  Instead, it laid me bare in some of my most tender spaces.

Like in Chapter 1:

Adreneline at the excitement of something new fueled me for a while, but reality quickly set in … And with that stressed reality came weariness.  The kind of soul-deep weariness that hits when the adrenaline is gone.  The kind of tired that makes a productive woman dissolve into tears because there are simply too many choices of plants at the garden center.

Or in my case, it was too many choices of cereal boxes that had me fleeing WalMart in tears, afraid I would disappoint someone by choosing the wrong one.

Also in Chapter 1:

I like to work.  I’m driven to achieve.  I like responsibility and being in charge and bringing order to messes.  I like being needed and someone asking for my help.

Ouch.

By the time I got to Chapter 3 and read this:

Responsibility is a good characteristic to have, especially when it’s in other people.  They are the ones who do what they say, and you can count on them when you have a problem.  But when you are the responsible one, it’s hard to draw clear boundary lines between what is your responsibility and what is not.  So everything feels like your responsibility.

I was done.  It was too painful to see myself described in such detail on the pages of someone else’s story.  I had to close the book and put it away.

Because, you see … I had read the chapter titles in the table of contents, and I knew what was coming.  Something that God has been working on me about for a while.  Something I wasn’t ready to face.  So I stepped away to put some distance between myself and those words in the first few chapters, until I could gather up the courage to face the S-word in Chapter 9.

Sabbath.

As Glynnis explains in Chapter 9, Sabbath isn’t about just laying around and physically resting.  It’s about trusting God to free us from a slavery mindset.  I’m not a slave to the things I think I must do to be successful.  God gave me this gift of one day a week set aside for rest.  To trust him to make what I can do in six days enough.  The seventh day is for Him, not to further my own goals and achievements.

I wanted to reason with God on this.

You know that I work four days a week at my job and that is pretty much fixed.  For two years, I’ve worked Friday, Saturday and Sunday at this ministry-minded business you’ve asked me to do. So by resting on Sunday, I’m not just trying to do in six days what needs to be done in seven … I’m trying to do in two days what needs to be done in three. Do you get that math???  That’s twice as hard!

Yes, God gets the math, and he’s still calling me to a Sabbath reset.  And God knows me so well, He knew he would have to hit me over the head with this message.  Almost every speaker I heard at the She Speaks conference last week talked about rest in one way or another.

Don’t just do something.  Stand there. ~Karen Ehman

Wear the undergarment of rest in your soul.  The wisdom of life consists of the elimination of non-essentials. ~Chris Hodges

Rest is not bad.  Rest is worship.  ~Crystal Evans Hurst

Sit at His feet and abide in His presence. ~Liz Curtis Higgs

So God wants me to rest, and specifically, to honor the Sabbath.  For two years, I’ve done the hard work to create something useful and valuable and now it’s time to trust Him for the growth.

My biggest question about Sabbath rest has always been, “But what do I DO all day???”  Do I just lay around, read books and eat Oreos? Are there rules about what I can and can’t do? What exactly counts as work?  I found my answer in God’s original rules for righteous living.

Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Exodus 20:8 (NIV)

What is holy?  Worship with my local body of believers.  Time spent with my family.  Serving others in ways that encourage and uplift.  Making space in my heart and head so the coming week is more productive and peaceful.

Will that sometimes look like “work” from the outside?  Yea.  Will it sometimes involve my business or volunteer ministry?  Maybe.  But this rule-following, dream-chasing girl is learning to live a life that is not governed by do’s and don’ts.  I’m learning to hear God’s voice and do whatever He says is holy.  That will be a better kind of busy.

What would rest look like in your life?  Any tips to help me honor the Sabbath?  I’d love to hear from you in the Comments!


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31 thoughts on “A Decision to Simply Rest

  1. This is so timely! I did this for the first time yesterday and didn’t know what to do! Haha. I think I have to get that book. That describes me. After She Speaks, I put all the books away and have just spent time thinking. Re prioritizing so I can choose my best yes! Excited to read the comments!

    • Get the book for sure. I love the comment farther down about reading a chapter of a book about Sabbath every week on your Sabbath. Great way to reinforce the idea. This would be a perfect on for that!

  2. As I read this Christa I was shaking my head in agreement. I too am a rule following girl who sometimes feels like she has to do everything and make the best possible choice in order to please everyone. It’s exhausting isn’t it?

    This year at She Speaks I kept hearing the same message too. Everywhere I went God reminded me that He can do a lot with a little–I just have to trust Him. Your words in this post confirm God’s message even more. So thank you for sharing your heart and reminding us to be still and trust God.

    • That was definitely a recurring theme at She Speaks. God can surely do a lot with a little … and won’t necessarily do more with more!

  3. I. Love. You. And I totally need to read this book! I would work 25/8 if I could! LOL my husband is actually the best at getting me to rest. And our new church situation could be a huge help in keeping the Sabbath holy, too. We have about 30 minutes to drive and our church is much closer to the “big city” so we’re using that day as a day away from home for the most part. Just family. Yesterday I read to the boys both ways on the commute, after service we went out to lunch and then we played tennis! It was glorious! You see, if I’m home it’s hard to simply be, to rest, to soak in His presence, because there are so many reminders of all I have to get done. Have you ever tried to send a tweet or compose a blog post while swinging a tennis racquet? Instead I can focus on enjoying the family a God has given me!

    • God has an amazing sense of humor! If we won’t find a way to obey, He will find a way for us! You would love this book, because it’s not about resting INSTEAD of working … it also talks about the value of work and how to balance it in a God-honoring way. Good luck with that tennis game!

  4. Oh Christa, you have no idea how much this blog post came right on time for me!! The Lord has been smacking me upside the head (in the most loving ways possible, of course) with this message! Glynnis’s Doing Busy Better wrecked me. Kathi Lipp’s “Overwhelmed” a few months ago got me started thinking more about Sabbath rest. And now you’ve shared what’s on your Heart which mimics what is on mine. Thank you 1000x’s over! You are not alone! God bless you for your transparency and I’m praying God will help you be obedient to His call for rest. It truly can be worship

    • I think it takes a little more smacking upside the head for us go-getter girls to get the message! God has definitely had to use multiple avenues to get my attention. I’ll be praying for you, too, Kristin, as you explore what Sabbath means in your life.

  5. A couple years ago, I discovered Mark Buchanan’s book The Rest of God: Restoring Our Soul by Restoring the Sabbath, and I read one chapter each Sunday til I finished it…that was a helpful resource in helping me to begin learning how to rest in God more. I highly recommend the book, and I might do well to re-read it.

  6. If we were neighbors, I’d bring my Coffee cup so we could talk more. For roughly 6 years, God has given me this Life verse
    ““In repentance and rest is your salvation,
    in quietness and trust is your strength,,”
    Isaiah 30:15
    This came a couple of months before I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation & had surgery. This verse shows up many times when I am doing too much. Besides the surgery, other health issues sprung up. No pity here, but living in toxic molds for 4 & 1/2 years, this verse I held dear! I went from working to staying home. I truly thought I had done something wrong. Last August as the kids left for school, I sat on my rocker, totally surrendering to my health. I confessed I didn’t like it, but I knew him too well! If this brought Him glory I would still tell of His story! Within days, we discovered for 4 & 1/2 yrs (No Pity Here) we were living in a privatized home full of toxic molds. We walked Hand in hand filled with the Spirit so many things were revealed. This issue has brought much help to my former neighbors.
    (Did this a comment become a blog?💁🏻🤦🏻‍♀️😂)
    Our last year living there, my devotional was “Jesus Calling.” My birthday is in July— Guess what was the introduction verse for that month
    —- Isaiah 30:15.
    Your post today again reminded that this verse will always have to be rehearsed!
    May God continue to bless YOU and your ministry….. You have played a huge part as I begin the ministry God is leading me in!
    All glory to Him!

    • I LOVE that verse! I did a word study on it last year. The word for “rest” there means “a laying down, as setting something on a table.” Isn’t that beautiful? Resting is laying down my dependence on myself on Christ’s table.

      It has been a pleasure to walk your ministry journey with you, Heidi!

  7. For me, taking a Sabbath rest means not getting on social media (I try to schedule things ahead of time) and not doing any blog work on Sundays. This is my day to watch a leisure DIY show, take a nap, or read a book. Yes, I do have to do things to get ready for church on Sunday morning and again in the evening to prepare for the start of the week on Monday, but my goal is to have an attitude of rest by doing refreshing things I normally wouldn’t do on the other days. I’ve also been contemplating making Sundays a media/screen-free day as well, but I haven’t committed to that yet. A lot of my friends do, though, and love this added layer of Sabbathing (if that’s a word). Thank you for reminding us to set it apart as holy!!!

    • I love that honoring the Sabbath and keeping it holy can look different for each of us. You are right that the attitude of rest is the key. Thanks for these great ideas to consider!

    • Hi, Julie – I love how you have approached the Sabbath. As I studied this idea of Sabbath rest, Jesus kept pointing to our hearts. So me trying to find the loophole was not pleasing to Him. That just made it about rules. I think you’ve got it right!

  8. Thanks Christa for recommending this book – I will have to get it. God has been dealing with me for the past 2 years on rest and being still before Him – it takes me a while to come around to His thinking!! Last year my One Word was PAUSE and I am still learning it’s principles. Thanks for being the vessel to remind me to rest.

  9. Thank you for sharing – this book has been calling to me and I’ve been avoiding it. Afraid, I’m sure that it will hit a little too close to home. Rest is something I’ve always struggled with and have made the same arguments you did. Time to place an order I think . .

  10. We do love to talk about how busy we are, don’t we? I feel like we wear our busyness like a badge of honor, but it isn’t the best or healthiest. There is a reason God gave us Sabbath!

  11. Oh yowzers, Christa. Some of what she says is exactly what I have gone through and am writing about. I need this one, and Shelly Miller’s book Rhythms of Rest has really blessed my heart too. Thanks for sharing this!

  12. I loved this book too, Christa. I only finished it 5 weeks ago, but maybe I need to read it again. I’ve also started making Sunday into a more restful day. Was convicted by this because I gave a talk on Sabbath rest during the same time frame as I read Glynnis’s book. I used to create graphics for my FB page on Sunday evenings. But I dropped that.

    I think we overwork ourselves. 🙂

  13. I hope you have been enjoying your Sabbaths, Christa. It was an honor to enjoy a dinner with you at She Speaks. Thank you for your timely encouragement to rest in true faith.

    • I know this sounds weird, but I am working hard a Sabbath! Not perfect, but I’m definitely making more time to relax and to spend with my family. Thanks for keeping me accountable!

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