by Jennifer Dukes Lee
I know how this noisy world can get in the way of me hearing God’s still, small voice. So, in the past few years, I’ve been intentional about quieting the outer noise in my life.
My biggest challenge is silencing the inner chatter.
I know the value of resting in Jesus, but it’s like my brain won’t stop moving in fifteen different directions. Corralling my thoughts is like herding a nursery full of fork-toting toddlers who just learned how to walk and are weeble-wobbling their way toward electrical outlets on opposite sides of the room.
Take, for instance, one of the places where I go to escape the noise: my bathtub. I’ll toss a bath bomb in the water and sink into the warmth. There’s no TV. No iPhone. Yet even here, my mind is running on high gear. I often receive some of my best writing inspiration in the bathtub, which is why my friend Cheri gave me a set of child’s bathtub crayons. (Yes, part of my latest book,
was written on the walls of my tub.) So while it might look like I am resting, I’m actually still working.
God is reminding me that my brain needs rest as much as my body does. I loosen my mind by simply dwelling with him: “Abide in me, and I in you” (John 15:4).
If I have a lot of noise around me—even in the form of the silent iPhone scroll—I can’t hear God.
My friend Lindsay Sterchi, mom of twin toddlers, learned the hard way what happens when she doesn’t get the rest she needs. She told me, “Without rest, I’m not very fun to be around— just ask my kids and husband. I get irritable way too quickly. I lose perspective on the bigger picture of life, and the little things seem bigger than they really are. I get in this fog where I’m going through the motions of life but not really living intentionally.”
The answer for her: finding rest in small pockets of time each day. “Rest means that when the kids nap, or after they’ve gone to bed, I’m not going to zone out on TV or scroll through social media, which might seem restful but ends up being draining.” Instead, she does something that feels life-giving—without feeling guilty. Her escapes: reading a book, journaling, or simply being still, alone with God and her thoughts.
Maybe your escape is Netflix, and if that’s the case, you do you. But make sure it gives you life instead of draining your energy.
No matter what: make rest a priority. It’s vital.
Resting in God serves two purposes: First, rest allows you to intentionally connect with God. God wants to meet with you, not simply to give you the day’s marching orders. He wants to be with you because he likes you.
Second, rest calms the noise around you so you can hear God’s clear direction.
Here are a few ideas to incorporate more rest into your life.
Instead of scrolling, go strolling. Everybody has time for rest. How can I be so sure? Because that’s the time we use to check social media. Put down your iPhone for the fifteen minutes you would’ve spent on Instagram and take a walk instead.
Don’t let your “yes” encroach on your rest. If you say yes to something new, evaluate everything else on your list to see what might have to go. Refuse to put rest on the altar of sacrifice.
Let your work assignments flow from soul realignments. If “everybody is looking for us,” our souls and agendas need realignment so we can hear clear directions from God.
Protect the freed-up time you have already created. God prunes all of us, but achievers try to immediately fill those pruned spaces. Protect the space that God created for you. Downtime is okay; in fact, it will make you more productive in the work you were designed to do.
Jennifer Dukes Lee is the wife of an Iowa farmer, mom to two girls, and an author. She loves queso and singing too loudly to songs with great harmony. Once upon a time, she didn’t believe in Jesus. Now, He’s her CEO. Jennifer’s newest book, It’s All Under Control, and a companion Bible study, are releasing today! This is a book for every woman who is hanging on tight and trying to get each day right―yet finding that life often feels out of control and chaotic.
Adapted from It’s All under Control: A Journey of Letting Go, Hanging On, and Finding a Peace You Almost Forgot Was Possible by Jennifer Dukes Lee, releasing this fall from Tyndale House Publishers.
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