Disconnect. Recharge. Slow down. Focus on being present.
If you’re like me, these are lines you’ve heard from friends, authors, speakers and influencers more times than you can count. I typically acknowledge them, but politely move on to the next activity on my to-do list. After years of half-heartedly giving rest the time it deserves, it finally has my full attention.
For the past few years, I’ve looked straight into the eyes of tired friends who have let their lives and schedules get the best of them, and I ache for them. I ache because I know the struggle of feeling like you have nothing left to give at the end of a long day. I know what it feels like to lose sight of your purpose. I know how hard it is to say no to loved ones. I ache because nobody wants to dig themselves into a hole of emotional, spiritual, and physical depletion, but I think you and I arrive at this destination more times than we’d like to voice.
Recently, Kyle and I spent time in a secluded treehouse just outside of Charleston. There was no Wi-Fi, spotty cell phone service and no TV. To some of you, this sounds like a nightmare! For us, it was a peaceful, welcomed dream. I went into our treehouse experience knowing the tech-free details, but had no idea how much God was going to teach me through them.
We spent the better half of 3 days restoring and connecting with minimal distractions. The silence, stillness and rest were medicinal; healing my heart and mind in ways I didn’t realize needed healing. My eyes were opened to my deep need for more regular, undistracted down time in order to fulfill the unique roles God has gifted me with. It took me 31 years and a few days in a treehouse, but I finally understand the richness and power found in prioritizing stillness.
I realize your day to day life probably requires more from you than just resting – not every day is spent in a treehouse with no Wi-Fi. I get that. What if little by little, 5 minutes at a time, you prioritize stillness? What if you were to schedule rest in the same way you schedule working out, going out to dinner or seeing a movie, even if you don’t feel like you need it? What if God desperately wants to grow you through your stillness?
Here is what I’ve learned: if you and I can muster up the courage to give rest our full attention, we will save ourselves the pain of burning out and having to climb out of the physical, emotional and spiritual holes we dig.
Stillness has a way of bubbling up fears, but it also has the power to breed clarity and centeredness in spite of them. We are broken, but we are loved. We have fears, but our Father is fearless. With every fear that bubbles up, God has a confident truth to pop it. I imagine Jesus experienced the same fears and anxieties you do, yet He embraced the gift of rest. Jesus bravely restored in stillness.
My hope in sharing this is to encourage you to disconnect so you can fully connect with the Lord, and the valuable people in your path. I want you to have the courage to prioritize rest in a culture that is always on. Most importantly, I want you to remember your purpose and return to it often.
Do you use busyness as a way to avoid stillness? Are you afraid of what God might reveal in that space?
Why is honoring rest in a busy-focused culture brave?
Do you feel like you get enough rest during the week? If not, what activities can you remove from your schedule so that you can?
When was the last time you completely disconnected?