Slow living. The thought appeals to many of us. It sounds cozy and inviting. But when the rubber meets the road, how many of us actually choose this route? If the choice is slowing down and resting or checking the next thing off your to-do list, which are you going to choose?
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
1. Check the Box or Rest?
I’m naturally much more likely to choose the next item on the to-do list, and the next one, and the next one, and… You get the picture. Productivity is an important part of life – but it’s not meant to control us.
Last weekend I pushed myself too hard to finish something on my to-do list, resisting the still, small voice urging me not to push like that. It was the next day when I watched a short video about resting in Jesus. His burden is light. Unlike the burdens I place on myself.
To-do lists can easily become burdens when we let them control us and run our lives. It’s also possible to check something off the list and totally miss the point for why we are doing it. The Lord helped me get to the point where I could release the tight grip I had on my to-do list instead of doing whatever it took to finish. I rested the last two days of the month instead of frantically working to meet my last two monthly goals.
2. Ice Storm Pause Button
The Lord’s timing for getting me to rest this week was perfect. We’ve been having a major ice storm. Life has shut down as no one has been going anywhere. Even the vehicles have been frozen shut. We’re very blessed that our power has stayed on, and it’s been the perfect week to snuggle up in the house, let go of long to-do lists, and rest. Sometimes it takes getting to the end of ourselves and our physical and emotional reserve to stop and rest. Don’t wait that long.
Rest is important. Taking the time to refuel actually saves time in the long run.
3. Restful Productivity
But what about when you actually need to be working? There are projects and jobs that we have to do. Work is part of life. That is true, but we can still come at work from a more restful perspective than we do. Write shorter to-do lists. Don’t pressure yourself to finish everything you write down. Work from a place of rest, trusting God to give you the strength that you need. His yoke is easy. His burden is light.
This week has not been all fun and games. I’ve still been working. This post you’re reading right now is proof of that. But when I stop letting my to-do list and deadlines burden me down, then I can work without it being a weight. When I am taking times of real rest instead of only guilty breaks when I feel I should be working, then I can come back more refreshed and ready to make progress. You can find a restful way to do your work. This blog post has been written at more than one setting, but I’m currently typing in bed with the light out. I’m facing the window where I can look out at the moonlight on the white, icy ground.
If you’re in a season where you’re letting your to-do list pressure you too much, maybe you could try reverse planning. At the end of the day, write down what you got done and check it off to celebrate. A hybrid method would be to write down the most important tasks at the beginning of the day, waiting until the end of the day to add the extras you completed.
I don’t know where you’re at right now, and it’s entirely possible you may not know either. You may be pushing yourself and checking one thing after another off your list, little realizing how close you are to a crash and burnout. Slow down. Rest. It may look as drastic as taking a day or week off or as simple as writing a shorter to-do list and taking off pressure to complete so many things, while giving yourself a few, genuine breaks.
4. A Fresh Perspective
For me, my week has been a blessed mix of a cozy blanket, audio books, hot chocolate, writing, puzzle time with family (Hometown Collection puzzles are some of our favorites!), eating delicious homemade soup my mom prepared, working on this blog post, admiring the beautiful, icy landscape, doing a dot to dot, cleaning house, and listening to music. Life should be a blend of work and relaxation, but it should all be lived from a heart at rest. A heart resting in Jesus. Resting in His sufficiency and the truth that His strength is made perfect in our weakness. A heart waiting on God and letting Him help you soar on eagle’s wings.
It may be time for something fresh. Is your relationship with God just a check-list? Do you spend time with Him just because it’s the thing to do? It may be time for a fresh perspective. Routines are wonderful, but switching up a routine at the right time is needful. Ask God to give you a fresh perspective of the relationship He wants you to have. Rest in His love. You may not always feel it, but it’s always there. Remind yourself of that truth.
What kind of thoughts does a girl have when she is iced in? Well, I guess it all depends on her season of life as much as it does the season of the weather. Slowing down and getting rest is easier in this season than in some of the others, but rest isn’t just for a season. Resting in Jesus is a way of life for eternity. Cast all your care on the Lord. Has your to-do list become a care? Give it to God. Trust His timing for its completion.
You know those two things I didn’t get to fully check off my to-do list last month? In some ways, they may have been just as big a victory as the things I did mark off. Learning to say no to yourself and rest instead of pressing through is worth celebrating. God calls us to work, but He also calls us to rest. Don’t put down God’s calling as unimportant or something to be squeezed in if you have the time.
I actually stopped writing once, and lay at the foot of my bed watching the moonlight. (I think this picture is from a different night, but see how the fence reflects off the ground? Our whole yard was like an iced over pond!) But I thought of more to write and turned on my booklight again. I should probably go now. Rest includes sleep sometimes, and I need to get some. Whether it’s day or night, I hope you will incorporate some rest now, be that giving a weight over to God or getting some sleep.
- Don’t wait until your to-do list is finished to incorporate rest.
- Instead of carrying your tasks as a burden, give them to Jesus!
- Trust God to give you strength for the things He calls you to do.
Do you find it easy or difficult to take time to rest? Do you live somewhere that life comes to a standstill in a winter event, or do you have weather like this all winter long?
Until next time, continue resting in the Lord!
Aw, beautiful post, Bethany! And the most precious reminder to rest in Jesus, even when life is forced to be busy. 🙂
Thank you so much, Vanessa! Yes, I’m so glad we have the invitation to rest in Jesus during every season of life!
Congratulations on 100 posts. May there be many more to come.
Thank you so much, Dad!! Lord willing, I hope to write many more!
Ah, I’ve never tried reverse planning before; thanks so much for the idea! And the pictures of the ice are amazing! Though, I hope you get to enjoy warmer weather soon 🙂
You’re welcome! I’m glad I could share the idea with you! Reverse planning can be very helpfu. So glad you enjoyed the pictures! I enjoyed taking and editing them. We did have some warmer weather to melt the ice. It was almost 70* Sunday!! Texas weather is a crazy yo-yo sometimes. 🙂 It’s been chilly and rainy a lot of the week so far. Thank you for commenting, Lily!
Congratulations on the 100 posts!! Glad that y’all made it through the ice storm too! Sounds like you had a great resting time. Sometimes I wonder if I rest too much. Ha! My age is catching up with me. Some days I wish I had more than 24 hours a day, when I have so much to do. But I’d probably not do anything different if I had it. Lately though, I’ve been trying to listen to God speak to me, and obey Him. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful Heavenly Father. And speaking of blogs…I love your’s!! I need to get back to my blogging soon. Have a wonderful week
May God Bless,
Thank you so much! Yes, the ice storm was very nice. It was a blessing that the power stayed on the whole time! It doesn’t sound like you rest too much. 🙂 There are definitely seasons of life where we need a lot of rest, and that’s fine! I recently heard a good sermon on obedience, and I want to grow in being obedient to the voice of the Lord – whether He says to rest or to work! Aww, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy the blog. Thank you for being so encouraging!! God bless you!
I so love this post, was a confirmation to me in the paragraph about switching up how we spend our time with God. And the photos too, beautiful. Thank you Bethany. Just … sigh… lovely ☺️ xx
Aww, thank you so much for the sweet comment, Jane!! You’re a blessing to me. I’m so glad God used the post to speak to you and direct you in how to spend time with Him. Praise the Lord!! Thank you again for your kind words. xx
Congratulations on your 100th post! We ( my family) were iced in as well, it was so lovely. Thank you so much for this post
It’s a reminder I always really need. 🙂
Thank you so much, Hannah! Yes, the ice storm was a lot of fun. It was nice to stay inside and enjoy being cozy! You’re welcome! This is a reminder I continually need as well. And I find it helpful to write about things I need reminders about!