Feeling overwhelmed with the chaos of everyday life? I believe there’s a better way. That’s why I started this four part series on how you can choose rest. If you want to learn more about how to choose rest, be sure to sign up for the Christian Stress Management 101 by clicking below!
“New study says American families are overwhelmed by clutter, rarely eat together, and are generally stressed out about it all.”
This headline popped up in my Facebook newsfeed. I couldn’t resist clicking because this topic was so familiar to me. The reporter interviewed families and researchers to get a snapshot of the typical middle class American home: frantic schedules, more toys than people know what to do with, and a general attitude of “well that’s just the way it is.” I was sad to reach the end and see that there was no solution or hope offered; so many parents are simply feeling defeated.
I’ve been caught in that cycle myself.
Not too long ago, I was feeling overwhelmed as a mom of small children and just accepted that this was my lot in life. In 2013, I had three of them under the age of four. As they got older, the demands on my body, time and energy changed, but the stress level really didn’t. The clutter piled up throughout the house; our schedule got fuller with activities and demands. And I saw the direction we were headed as I watched some of my friends with older kids get swamped with life.
In 2016, I decided to make same changes. It started with cleaning out my closet and it’s still in process as I grapple with the biblical concept of rest.
To be honest, I can’t say that I’m completely out of the woods when it comes to everyday overwhelm and I doubt I ever will be. But there’s a difference in mindset that has made a profound difference in the way I look at my life.
Rest is a choice.
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Why To Choose Rest When You’re Feeling Overwhelmed
Rest is not a new concept, but it is unfamiliar to many of us in the way we live. In Present Over Perfect, Shawna Niequist writes about the trap moms fall into; we “fake rest.” There’s no such thing as a lazy Sunday afternoon; we pack productivity into every margin of the day: folding laundry, wiping counters and catching up on phone calls. If we get that special moment to collapse into a nap it’s out of sheer necessity and we feel guilty afterwards.
Or maybe that’s just me.
Fake rest is the way of the world, friends. It is not the way of God.
What do you mean, Gina? I hear you say. The Christian life is one of self-sacrifice, is it not?
Yes it is. And that’s why maybe we need to sacrifice the old way of thinking: that I will work myself to death for my family and community, and somehow be more righteous in the end.
God instituted rest from the beginning. In the creation account (Genesis 1) he rested. A weekly holy day of rest was one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20). He commanded his people to even let the land rest every seven years (Exodus 23). He has built cycles of rest into nature: days, nights, seasons.
Perhaps when we choose rest, we acknowledge that we can’t do it all or be it all. If Jesus himself had no qualms about taking naps, sneaking off by himself, and shutting all but his inner circle out from time to time, why do we treat self-care like it’s some luxury or guilty pleasure?
Related post: Should Christian Moms Prioritize “Me Time”?
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30).
Perhaps when we choose rest, we give God the opportunity to show us how he works.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with life, I want you to know that there’s hope, that you can break the cycle, that you can choose rest. Rest is physical, mental/emotional and spiritual.
It isn’t easy. In fact, choosing rest takes faith. But I can tell you from experience that the rewards are abundant and everlasting.
Next in the series I’ll be digging into the ways we can choose rest physically, mentally/emotionally, and spiritually. Click to read: Always Tired? How To Choose Rest for Your Body.
Don’t forget: if you love this topic, don’t miss Christian Stress Management 101.
Are you feeling overwhelmed with life? What do you think are some ways you might choose rest?