rest

Community Brew #3 - Thoughts on Rest

It is time yet again for Community Brew! So excited to create space for all your ladies to share your hearts and lives with one another. Most of you know this by now but if you are new, Madison and I are the hosts of this little monthly get together! 
Madison of The Wetherills Say I Do // Rachel of Oh Simple Thoughts 

Each month we have a co-host as well! Some months we post topics and others will be a free topic to talk about whatever has been on your heart. There is only one rule to what you post...this link up is a place for vulnerability. So whatever you write about, we hope that it helps us to get to know you better and for us all to grow in fellowship and our walk with the Lord.


This month was a free topic month so we are excited to read about what the Lord has been teaching you and doing in your hearts and lives. Before I  dive into my post here is our lovely co host for this month. Christin of Quirky Anthems. She is a super awesome gal and has a heart for the Gospel. She loves coffee as much as I do (which is big) and even as her own coffee business with her husband and a few others called Sweet Aroma Coffee (you should all check them out!). 

I'm Christin Eastman and I'm so excited to co-host with my sweet friends, Madison and Rachel! I started Sweet Aroma Coffee in October 2013 after I'd traveled around the world on an 11 month mission trip called The World Race. The brokenness I experienced in each country was unlike anything I'd ever encountered. During this time, the Lord planted a dream in my heart of starting a coffee company that would fund ministries who work with survivors of sex trafficking. Sweet Aroma Coffee raises awareness through social media and by partnering with folks who have a heart to see the captives set free. We share about our monthly coffee subscription at Sweetaromacoffee.org and we donate 36% of the gross profit to ministries working with sex trafficking victims in Kenya and The Philippines. I blog about life, coffee and missions at quirkyanthems.com and I'm so looking forward to hearing everyone's heart today! Thanks so much for having me!

So we are just sitting down and chatting now, and being really honest. So friend, honestly, August has kicked my little tail thus far. It has been a whirlwind from starting a new job, Ben having some big deadlines to meet at work, Piper having surgery, and I have been working a ton on a secret project that I hope to share soon. But I have felt like I have been barely able to keep up. 

Ask anyone that knows me and they will testify to this. I have taken more naps, responded to fewer text messages/emails, and hardly had time to read my favorite blogs...It has been crazy

So in light of all the crazy, I have been thinking about the idea of rest a lot. One thing the Lord has shown me is that rest goes much further beyond the boundaries of sleeping and laying in bed. Rest encompasses much more. I found myself just trying to take another nap, or go to bed earlier, but found I was still in need of rest. (I will speak on Ben's behalf and say he was feeling the same way). We were so tired, so empty, and so overwhelmed with the feeling of being behind. 

I kinda felt like I was watching myself from above, like I wasn't really myself and unable to really live into the moments in which I found myself daily. Does this make any sense?! I pray it does. 

So what is rest? And how have I begun to practice it?

Well I know what rest is not, or at least what it is not only. Like I said, it is not only sleep, and it is not only being still. It is stopping to thank the Lord for sunlight streaming in and making rainbows on the wall. It is saying a prayer as I begin to work on a long to do list for my secret project, it is slowing down, while still working efficiently. Sometimes it has even been saying no to some things like TV, Pinterest, Instagram, and blog reading so that I can say yes to fully listening and loving my husband at night when he gets home. 

Another things that rest is...it is God ordained. Sounds crazy huh? Well one thing our pastor has pointed out to Ben and I in the past few weeks (when we have been at the end of our ropes and ready to crumble) was that the Lord instituted patterns of rest for his people. He created the Sabbath day, the Passover feast, and other yearly, monthly and weekly times of rest. Times that everything stopped and the Lord's people rested. 

So if the Lord wanted his old testament people of Israel to practice this, why would we think it would not apply to us? We are called to rest. We rest so that we can work harder for the Lord during the week. We rest so that we can pour ourselves out more fully and intentionally. Without rest and being refilled how can we pour out? We rest so that we can love well and not selfishly. 


I can think of so many times when I came home from a sleepover party in elementary school, middle school and even in high school, and was just out of my mind tired. More than likely I had stayed up way too late with friends doing silly things like prank calling the boys in our class or playing truth or dare.My mom would always say the same thing when I would come home cranky, ill and tired..."You need sleep"...I tell this story because I think this is what happens to us in life when we do not rest. We turn into that cranky and delirious middle schooler that cannot love selflessly if they wanted to because they are so sleep deprived. 

So friends, I was so discouraged last week, and so worn down. But now I feel more relaxed and at rest because I am simply stopping during the day and resting in the Lord and all he has done for us. I am working hard but trying to make time to stop and set everything aside. 

How are you doing today? How is your heart? 

Big thanks to Nikki Mckenzie Photography for these lovely shots. They are a part of her Coffee Project. Check out more of her work here




5 Ways to Find Rest (and stop the stress)


I know I am not the only one out there who struggles with stress. I am a planner, organizer, champion to do list maker...and this is my personal blessing and curse. I am constantly finding myself being crushed under the weight I place on myself. When changes or unexpected events come my way, I tend to panic and slowly spiral downward into a tragic, emotional mess. This is not a healthy way to live, for myself or for anyone who can relate. So as I have been reflecting on this idea of rest, I am forced to face the enemy of it...stress. I feel as if stress just breeds doubt in the Lord's faithfulness and ability to provide. When I am stressed it is usually because I am wanting control or have lost control...I sink deeper and deeper into my flesh in order to "try harder", "do more", "be better", in attempts to regain control. All the while I am ignoring the authority and control of my gracious Heavenly Father who promises to clothe me as he does the flowers and care for me as he does the birds. These 5 ways to find rest are a result of reflection on one of my biggest struggles. 

1. Go outside 
I have been learning so much about the role Creation should play in our spiritual lives. It should be something we turn to in order to learn more about Jesus, the Gospel and salvation in the same way we turn to our Bibles. Everything in creation points beyond itself to something deeper. The trees show us the order of the gospel--plant seeds, water, nurture, allow for growth, then drop more seeds and multiply...that is the core of the Gospel. The bird's song reminds us of the Lord's promise to provide. The wind reminds us of the Lord's presence...it all points to him. So go outside, and rest in the Father's world that he has created for us and bring him glory by stopping to delight in that world. 

2. Put away the planner/to do list
I love my planner. I love my lists. I get true joy from crossing things off of my lists. Sometimes this really can become oppressive. I can find myself being ruled by or enslaved to these practices. I want to have freedom from my own self inflicted agenda. So I challenge myself and you to set your planner down from time to time, throw away the to do list...and rest. 

3. Unplug + Retreat
Ah, this is so hard for me. I love my social media, I love my blog friends...I love the good that can come from the Internet. However, I can often miss the here and the now because of my nose being glued to my iPhone. The other night my phone just randomly cut off and stopped working for a few hours...I was so distraught about it. You could ask my husband, I really was upset. Ben reminded me in the midst of my panic about my phone that it was just a phone...and that this happening was a good reminded to me of what place it needed to hold in my life. So let's unplug from time to time and retreat. Retreating does not have to mean going on a trip somewhere (though it could mean that). Last night, unplugging and retreating for me meant, going to our church's monthly women's gathering, putting my phone away for the whole time, sharing my struggles, burdens and praises with godly women of all ages...and resting in their community and fellowship. It was so good for my soul. So...step back from techno world and live in the right now. 

4. Find a hobby
This is huge. My hobbies or passions help me to set aside my anxieties and focus on my gifts. Whether that is crocheting, baking or working on some type of design in Photoshop, my hobbies help me to rest. They help me to remember to praise the Lord for the ways he has gifted me. Most of all they help me to step back from whatever is stealing my peace and rest and to refocus my mind and spirit on something else. 

5. Remember the Gospel
This is the most important way to find true, genuine, and lasting rest. The Gospel of Jesus Christ frees us to rest. It tells us that it is not through anything we have done, not one single thing, that allows us to be called a child of God. So running around like a chicken with your head cut off attempting to conquer the world apart from Jesus and his Holy Spirit is like trying to sail across the ocean without a boat...it can't happen. When we separate ourselves from the Gospel and begin sinking into our flesh...we will be stressed. (If I am sounding kinda preachy it's because I am talking to myself. I still have to preach the Gospel to myself DAILY) So let us rest in the victory of Jesus, he has died for our sins, become our ransom, atoned us, and calls us his own. That is a reason to sigh a deep breath of relief. He has accomplished it all! I mean, can I get an amen? 

So let's seek rest, and not chase after stress. (poetry? haha) I love this quote that our pastor used on Sunday. Stress is the enemy of clear thinking. I would go a step further and say setting our minds on the things of Jesus will lead to rest and clear thinking. 


Happy Wednesday friends! How do you find rest in your life? 

P.S. I have added an online address book to my 101 in 1001 list next to #79- Send 50 handwritten notes! I would love to send you some snail mail, happy mail...any kind of mail. The address is totally private and only I can see it! I would love for you to add yours today! Click to add your snail mail address!! :)

XOXO,

Rachel