Quieting the Busy Mind

So far in this series, the articles have covered why rest is important, what type of rest suits you best, and how to distinguish your worth from the things that rest keeps you from completing. But how do we actively practice restorative rest when our brains never stop? How do we turn ourselves off enough to experience the benefit of doing nothing when there is still so much to be done?

I’d love to say I’ve mastered the art of resting without guilt, but the truth is, rest is something that some of us may never master. The important thing is to not let this stop us from trying. I work continually to get better at rest.

Here are a few things I have learned along the way that help me quiet my busy mind.

Make time to rest a gift.

Rest is a gift you give yourself… which can be hard if you aren’t the kind of person who finds it easy to gift themselves. I’ve learned to ask my loved ones for this time to myself as a gift. It’s rare that I’ll treat myself to time at the salon for a massage or facial, but if I have a gift certificate, I’m not going to let it go to waste!

But the struggle doesn’t end there. If you tend to be a natural helper, as I am, I’m sure you are no stranger to being in helper mode even when you’re there to be helped. If you don’t want to spend your “me” time counseling your manicurist through her recent divorce, be proactive in establishing clear boundaries and expectations before your service. It is okay, even beneficial, to focus on yourself. Let the provider know you are really looking forward to this time of rest and you’d like to use it to remain quiet and focused.

Practice obedience by making your needs a priority.

We cannot serve others when we are depleted. Jesus Himself modeled for us the importance of solitude and rest and invites us into the rest He gives (Matthew 11:28-30). When we care for ourselves with physical and mental rest, we are being obedient to His example.

The enemy does his best work in our minds and bodies when he is trying to prevent us from doing work for the glory of God, but guilt is not from God. Ignoring our needs is not from God. Exhaustion is not from God. God wants us to have abundant life (John 10:10).

By giving priority to moments of peace and solitude, we can best serve the One that matters most. The world says busy is better. The Word says rest is best.

Reprogram your perception of rest. 

Many of us understand rest to be the opposite of being productive, when in fact, it’s a critical part of being productive. We are inundated with messages to do more. Products for how to make doing more even easier. There are countless apps to help us organize our to-do lists… but where is being still on that list?

Busyness is not a badge of honor. Life happens fast and it can easily get away from us if we allow it to. We can stop this cycle by engaging in R.E.S.T. – Release, Enjoy, Surrender, Trust.

Living a spiritually healthy life requires us to put caring for ourselves at the top of our priority list, directly behind God, but in front of those in our life that we need to care for. This isn’t an easy idea to accept, but it is a worthwhile one to pursue.

Rest isn’t something we should feel shame or guilt for. Ultimately, rest helps us be the best version of who we were created to be.

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