Why can't I rest?

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Why can't I rest?

by Alyssa Robinson

There is a room in my house that has no modern technology in it except for a record player. I sit and look out the window in my leather chair, with my feet propped up on a canvas ottoman. A bluejay swoops into my backyard for an afternoon snack as it picks through seeds and dirt embedded in my lawn. A stack of books and poetry sits on the small table beside me, softly lit by a pink lamp. My dogs quietly snore at my feet in the safety of this sacred space. It’s my own little oasis, and I’m grateful for it.

And yet, my fingers itch for my phone to check emails, scan notifications, and scroll through TikTok.

Why can’t I rest?

My mom told me she used to feel guilty when she’d rest. The to-do list would enter her mind. She could be using this time to fold laundry, do dishes, or get ahead on the bills. She felt like rest meant laziness. It’s taken her years to train herself out of this mindset and rest guilt-free.

My trouble with rest is a little different. I don’t feel guilty or lazy when I’m resting. I’m more likely to feel I’m missing out. If it’s a beautiful, sunny day outside and I’m sitting inside watching movies, I convince myself that I’ve wasted the day. If I don’t check my phone, I could miss messages from friends, fall behind on the latest news, or miss a really funny meme that’s gone viral.

Maybe you struggle with rest for a different reason. I’ve had friends tell me that their resting time isn’t actually restful because the truth is they’re procrastinating on something. It’s not true rest. It’s avoidance. During their time of “rest,” stress and anxiety builds and their brain is clouded.

I really want to figure out this whole resting thing, because I believe God calls us to rest. Rest isn’t just about taking a break; it’s about spiritual renewal and restoration.

Matthew 11:28-30
“Come to me, all you who are weary and are carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” 

Mark 6:30-32
The apostles gathered around Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught. He said to them, “Come away to a deserted place all by yourselves and rest a while.” For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat. And they went away in the boat to a deserted place by themselves.

Hebrews 4:9-11
So then, a Sabbath rest still remains for the people of God, for those who enter God’s rest also rest from their labors as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one may fall through such disobedience as theirs.

When I think of the times that I feel most rested, it usually includes spiritually grounding and centering practices. There is no better feeling than savasana at the end of a yoga practice, when you just lay still in darkness for as long as you need. When I do a simple breathing exercise, feeling my heart rate slow down and regulate gives me rest. Sometimes I sit on my front porch and close my eyes to hear the birds and rustling of trees. Honestly, just visualizing each of these moments makes me feel at rest.

In the coming weeks, we will explore how we can take Jesus with us daily through spiritual practices that bring us rest, renewal, and connection. Rev. Gracie Millard will get us started by exploring what the Bible says about rest. I hope you’ll join us for Take Jesus With You. Take the first step in your spiritual wellness journey by creating a Blueprint for Spiritual Wellness.

Posted by Alyssa Robinson at 6:00 AM
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