By Desiree Micheels
What is rest?
Rest is more than a good night’s sleep or a midday nap. Rest is more than uninterrupted REM cycles or hitting the pillow before 10pm. Believe it or not, rest has more to do with our souls than our sleep.
How did I learn about the importance of rest?
Rest recently became a priority for me after I found myself an anxious and overwhelmed mom of 2 toddler boys. I had become fixated on the concept of my kids’ sleep and nothing anyone said or did could convince me to escape the exhausting thought cycle I was in. My soul was crying out for rest.
I would constantly be thinking things like: Will they fall asleep quickly? Will they wake up in the middle of the night? If so, how many times? Will I EVER sleep again? How can I create a schedule that guarantees perfect sleep? To say I was obsessed would be an incredible understatement. It was all for the sake of rest, right? At least that’s what I told myself.
Here’s what I didn’t tell you: at this point, my kids were great sleepers most nights. They napped during the day, too. AND I slept through the night almost every night for 8 or 9 hours.
So I know what you’re thinking: what was the problem?
Rest was the problem. My unrested, unrelenting soul had not truly rested in countless months, if not years. I let the idea of not enough sleep, the past months of interrupted sleep, and the information overload of sleep training culture to take a stronghold in my soul, creating an anxiety powerful enough to bind up my joy, peace, and above all, rest.
I thought I was prioritizing my rest, when in reality, I was completely betraying it.
Is your soul tired, too?
Are you feeling burnt out or overwhelmed? Are you stressed, afraid, or confused but don’t know how to begin to fix it?
A soul without rest may:
- Have difficulty focusing or making decisions
- Lack joy or peace in everyday moments
- Be easily frustrated, angered, or defeated
- Experience anxious or fearful thoughts
- Feel distant from God
Why do we need rest?
Rest is grounding for our souls; it is taking time to enjoy big and small moments and then reflecting on these moments, too. Rest is the luxury of experiencing our lives with our senses alert and awakened, as opposed to rushing numbly through each day.
How do we rest?
Rest is not just a one-time event. It’s a day-by-day practice of pausing, embracing, and experiencing our lives differently. Rest is not just self-care but soul care.
Some common rest practices are:
- Prayer or meditation
- Quiet time alone
- Routine mindfulness
- Time spent outside
In my search for rest, I made time to sit in the presence of God. I quite literally sat at His feet and soaked in His peace. For months, when I didn’t know what to pray and continued to fight a vicious thought-cycle, I silenced my mind and sought His face. Eventually, His truth broke through and gave my soul permission to rest.
Do you make time for rest?
Finding patterns of rest may take time. Think about your routines. What would have to change for you to take time to rest? Perhaps you have to say “No” to something else to say “Yes” to rest.
For me, I’ve made a commitment to wake early in the morning (before my kids awake) to do a daily devotional, memorize scripture, and talk to God. Starting my day with this rhythm of truth and gratitude has allowed for a major shift in my spirit.
Rest is known to improve:
- Connection with God and others
What does rest do for your soul?
Here’s an easy way to remember what REST truly means for your soul to do:
R – Restore
E – Energize
S – Satisfy
T – Thrive
As we enter the summer season, I encourage you to prioritize rest and consider how you can incorporate it into your daily life.
And sis, it doesn’t have to look perfect. The whole point of sacred rest is that it will be unique to your soul and your life. Trust me when I say it’s a practice that – in time – will routinely restore your soul.
“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.”
Desirée Micheels is a passionate wife, mom of two, and follower of Christ who, alongside her mom, Christine, published their true story Just Believe: Every Summer Has a Story. With a degree in communications from New York’s FIT and experience in the worlds of publishing and advertising, Desiree seeks to combine her love of writing and creative arts with God's call on her life to empower women and girls to find their true identity and value in Christ. You can connect with her at @desroccs and @justbelievebook and follow her blog at www.justbelievebook.com.
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