Being a busy momma and wife is exhausting especially when you add work, serving, social activities and ALL THE THINGS! Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith has a better way of doing things. Please welcome Saundra to the blog today!
A Call to Return and Rest
By Saundra Dalton-Smith
Pictures don’t always tell the whole story. I’ve spent hours looking at the smiling faces of my social media friends, wondering what secret they know that I don’t. How do they do it all and do it well, while I feel like I’m struggling to keep it all together. It didn’t take long before my comparisons lead me down an unhappy and unfulfilling path. One that brought me to the end of myself and propelled me into a new relationship with God.
It began with a post from a woman I’d never met. She too had been looking at all the pretty pictures, feeling less than and left out. Her question was simple.
When do I get to be happy?
She went on to describe her role as a wife, mom, daughter, prayer partner, Sunday school teacher, chauffeur, cook, tutor, and cheerleader. She elaborated on her to-do list. She commented on how everyone else had the perfect life.
I, for one, was not judging her rant. Rather, I secretly applauded her braveness and vulnerability.
My life was full of activity, but activity is only productive if it’s taking you to a place you desire. My activity was moving me closer to my career goals and further away from the people I love and the moments I treasure. Something had to give. Either I could stay fixated in my bitterness or I could be transformed by the beauty of His Word.
The Bible challenged me to exchange my daily hustle to daily hush in the presence of God.
It offered rest for my weariness and promised in the process I would see His goodness.
In Isaiah 30:15 (ESV), God says “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” This verse came to me like an outstretched hand, willing me to grab hold. The final words of this verse, however, stood before me declaring the truth about my current situation. “But you were unwilling…”
I was unwilling. Unwilling to be still and know. Unwilling to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. Unwilling to trust God to carry the load while I rested in Him. I needed to remember that rest is not optional. Rest is a necessity for living well and loving well. Rest is required to fully give of myself and my talents. Rest is needed for creativity to bloom and purpose to be realized. Rest is sacred. It’s a gift from a holy God to a fallen people. It’s His strength poured out in small portions. It’s a gift.
As God worked in my spirit, He also whispered to my mind to redefine how I see rest. Rest was no longer an afterthought in my day. It became a part of my day. I began to see the connection between my cluttered mind and my unsettled spirit. My to-do list was no longer my master. I learned the freedom of saying a heart-felt no over a yes out of a sense of obligation. I started listening to my tense body and found the time to prayer walk. I started noticing the flowers, trees, birds, and laughter around me. In it all, I could see the love of God and I was strengthened.
Are you tired, weary, broken, or lonely?
Take a moment and evaluate the thoughts filling your mental space. What emotions are you feeling? Do you feel any tension in your neck and back muscles? Do you feel alone in your busyness, surrounded by activity but unseen and misunderstood?
Every day you use you used physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative energy to accomplish much. With each type of energy used, you make a withdrawal from personal account. For every depleting activity in your day, there is a counter reviving activity to restore balance. Failure to replenish your supple will result in burn-out. If you answered yes to any of the questions above, you are already feeling the effects of a burned-out life. It’s time to return and rest.
Just as work is valuable, rest has great value. It is by definition restorative. What needs restoring in your life? If you are unsure of the area of your life most in need of restoration, visit RestQuiz.com to find your personal rest deficit. Once you know what type of rest you are missing in your life, begin purposefully including that type of rest. If you are lonely, you will benefit from the social rest of sharing authentically with others in small groups or with a trusted friend. If you are tired, you will benefit from the physical rest of muscular stress relief and the mental rest of de-cluttering your mind. If you are broken, you will benefit from the spiritual and creative rest of spending time with the Healer.
Matthew 11:28 invites, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (New King James Version). It is an open invitation to all to receive whatever type of rest is required. It includes rest to your mind, your body, your emotions, and your relationships. It is an invitation without restriction; an offer for rest in every area.
What type of rest do you need today?
As a busy physician, author, and mom, I understand that life’s demands can leave you feeling mentally overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and physically tired. Daily I help the overstressed deal with their work-rest imbalance and find actionable answers to the thriving lifestyle they desire.
For more on rest check out By His Grace Podcast with Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith.
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