With three littles under four running around, my life is loud, chaotic, and messy. I frequently feel more like a jungle gym than an actual human being. Dirty dishes perpetually crowd my sink, dirty diapers don’t always make it to the trash, and more toys than I care to count litter my living area just waiting to pierce my bare feet (ouch!). In the midst of all the madness, it can seem next to impossible to find rest.
Many of you have recently shared that you have similar struggles. That’s why I’m excited to share my top 5 go-to strategies for finding rest (even while being a human jungle gym). Here we go!
- Look past all the things that you haven’t had time to deal with. It is truly impossible to rest if we allow the perpetual to-do list in our heads to be “on” all the time. If you are anything like me the list is never-ending and always growing. Funny how that works, isn’t it? Finding true rest means embracing our limitations. There is truly only so much one person can do, and that’s okay! It’s by design, actually. When we recognize our limitations, we acknowledge our need for Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit within us. We simply cannot, nor are we designed to, do this life on our own. So, embrace those limitations and press pause on the never-ending stream of tasks in your head. It will all be there when you’re ready to come back to it. I promise!
- Focus instead on the blessings surrounding you. No matter which of your many hats you are wearing when you feel the need to rest (we all wear so many hats these days don’t we?), one thing is guaranteed to be true: you are blessed. Spend some time thanking and praising the Lord for those blessings. For me, this most often looks like thanking God for the little hands and feet responsible for the messes I’m trying so hard to ignore. Haha! But that simple shift in mindset is so powerful!
- Do something that brings you joy. Even if it’s something small, doing something that brings us joy helps us connect with the Lord and celebrate the blessings, giftings, and desires He’s given us. So, eat that piece of dark chocolate. Light that candle. Make that cup of coffee, even if the voice in the back of your head reminds you that you’ll most likely reheat it 5 times only to find it abandoned in the microwave tomorrow. If it brings you joy, it brings the Lord joy to see you enjoy it. Just make sure to give Him a quick thank you!
- Put on some music. Maybe this is only true for me, but something about throwing on music in the background of whatever I have going on makes me feel like my life is a movie. I want it to be a good one! Anyone else? No, just me? Anyway, the music becomes the soundtrack and suddenly I have renewed energy and a fresh lens to view my circumstances. So, if you need to shake off a funk or a quick energy boost, crank up some worship music or Shania Twain (a personal fave of mine) and leave your difficulties behind for a bit. I mean really, is there any hurt a dance party can’t make at least a little bit better?
- Take yourself and life a little less seriously. Y’all, we put so much pressure on ourselves, don’t we? Keep a clean and trendy home. Cook meals for everyone you know who just had a baby, lost a loved one, or is just generally going through a hard time (is there anyone I know who doesn’t fall into that category?). Work out. Meal plan, grocery shop, meal prep, and have that healthy dinner on the table every. Single. Night. Throw that Pinterest perfect birthday party. Go to all the Pinterest perfect birthday parties. Let your kids be on all the sports teams. Do all the fun things together as a family. Post on social media about all the fun things you did together as a family. Don’t spend too much time on social media. Don’t let your kids watch too much tv. I mean the list could literally go on forever, couldn’t it?
Sometimes I just have to look at myself in the mirror and say, “Chelsea, from dust you came and to dust you will return, the whole world is not counting on you for everything. In fact, very few people actually care about whether or not you are doing (or not doing) all the things on this list.” Talk about positive self-talk. Am I right? Ha! But seriously, Jesus describes His yoke as easy and His burden light. When we are feeling heavy and overwhelmed by all the life we’re living (or trying so desperately to live), chances are we’re carrying more than is ours to carry. I think the enemy is working hard to keep us distracted by all the things “everyone” is doing, in order to keep us from walking well in the things the Lord has for us individually to do.
We’re called to rest. We’re called to sabbath. It’s not just okay, it is good and right and necessary. So go ahead and let some (or all) of those plates you’re juggling fall and see what happens. I dare you! I’m willing to bet life will go on and you’ll be better at juggling the ones God actually called you to juggle.
If there is one encouragement I hope to leave you with today, my tired friend, it’s this: In Jesus, you have the freedom to rest, to just be, not just sometimes but on a regular basis. Mary of Bethany did this well and was praised for having chosen the better portion that will not be taken away from her (Luke 10:42). And that’s what we’re all about here at Modern Day Mary. Choosing the better portion- the things eternal, over the things of this world.
I keep thinking of the Home Depot slogan in my head- More saving. More doing.
But for us let’s think of it as More resting. More freedom. Because the more we embrace our limitations (aka humble ourselves) and truly rest in the Lord, the more we’ll be freed up to do the works the Lord has for us to do. Hallelujah!
Praying rest and freedom over all of you this week!