How To Rest In God When You’re Running On Empty

Finding the elusive balance of rest is challenging in a society built on a paradigm of busy = success. But what if God never intended us to operate like this? What if he knew our tendency to overdo just about everything, including work and play, and He built in a period of rest for our own benefit? Here’s why it’s so important to find rest in God.

Time To Rest In God

Do you ever feel like you are running on a hamster wheel with no end in sight? Around and around you go until one day, your body decides it’s had enough stress and tosses you off the wheel with a chronic illness, heart palpitations, anxiety or disease.

Often, we forget our bodies weren’t designed to run on Starbucks, limited sleep and 18-hour days of cortisol-fueled adrenaline. When you feel like this, it’s time to slow down and take stock. It’s time to get off the hamster wheel and just breathe for a while. It’s time to rest in God.

Running On Empty

I know the battle for rest is real because it’s a struggle I constantly face. Every time I find a semblance of peace, there is something new vying for my attention. Often these distractions are good things, like my kids’ activities, volunteer work or extra writing jobs. But every new thing I add to my schedule takes away from my ability to do something else. There is an economy of energy that we often go into for debt for without realizing the true cost.

There’s an old saying that goes, “If the Devil can’t make you sin, he’ll make you busy.” Why busy? Because busyness steals opportunities for me to say yes to the spontaneous work of the spirit. If I am too busy to notice people suffering around me, I lose perspective. When my bucket becomes dangerously low, I have nothing left to give to others and my greatest ministry (to my family) suffers.

Where Are We Placing Our Value?

“The thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” —John 10:10

It’s hard to avoid buying into the world’s idea of what success looks like. I have three kids and I certainly want them all to reach their God-given potential. I do my best to provide them with all the education and training they will need to reach their best. But at some point, when the games and activities threaten to interrupt our Sundays at church, serving together or our family meals, I have had to put my foot down and say, “NO.”

For years, we have eaten dinner late because of football and dance practice, but we still make it happen, even if it meant feeding the little one in her jammies and popping her into bed as we cleared the table. I believe relationships matter more than a sports practice and I know I would have lost valuable memories and connection if everyone grabbed food on their own because it was easier.

I’m not rigid about missing an occasional service or meal, but these things are of high value in our home and my kids know it matters. Our priority is first God and then work, school and sports. When one tries to take over God’s spot, it’s time to reassess what truly matters. No sport or job will ever sustain us like God will, and pushing him out of the way for a busy schedule is self-defeating. Instead we make it a priority to rest in god and remember what He does for us.

What Does Sabbath Rest Look Like?

When we look to the Bible, the Sabbath is more than just taking time off. After creating the world, God looked around and saw that “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31). God did not just stop creating (or working); he ceased laboring and enjoyed what he had made. So how does this translate into our lives?

The Sabbath is an invitation to stop striving and enjoy the goodness of God and his creation. It is a day to enjoy the fruits of our labor. The Sabbath is time to reflect and rejoice on what God has done. This may look differently to each one of us based on our personality, but generally rest includes a time of worship, relaxing recreation and pastimes that draw you close to God. To facilitate a restful and restorative Sabbath, try unplugging the phone, going outside or playing a game with your family.

Consider how you are spending your time. Do you have space for worship, reflection, rest and restoration, or are you on a fast track to burning out? Maybe it’s time to incorporate Sabbath rest and let your spirit pause and breathe in deeply. Rest in God regularly, and you’ll be amazed at the wonders you notice.

You may also be interested in The Importance Of Finding Quiet Time With God