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Choosing Rest Over Stress



You Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call on you.

Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy. When I am in

distress, I call to you, because you answer me.

Psalm 86: 5-7



After a friend confided in me that she was “too stressed to rest,” it was easy for me to recall the times in my own life, where sleep had also been a challenge. 


I knew, as she spoke, that the thought of navigating responsibilities, balancing relationships, and just the idea of staying ahead could be downright troublesome, overwhelming, and feel next to impossible at times. 


Add to that the uncertainty of one’s health, family needs, and the ongoing outrage in the news where concerns creep in with little warning, I wholeheartedly agreed, and perhaps you do, too, that viable solutions to slow down are vital for us all.


Paul encourages us to, “not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6:9).


You and I want to be there for others, but it is essential to take care of your own needs first. Proper diet, sleep, and exercise along with keeping daily appointments to pray encourages and equips us with just the right tools for each day.


Choosing rest over stress is the most important key to recharge your soul.


Walking in God’s presence makes it possible to slow down and shift your perspective. In fact, the Bible reminds us to, “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7). 


Together my friend, let’s give it a try by praying a special ‘Guided Meditation’ to experience the type of rest that only God can give.  


Begin to unwind by taking a R.E.S.T. in your sacred space. These letters are an acronym for four simple ingredients to deepen your prayer. 


With a grateful mindset, acknowledge, and appreciate what is going well, and allow your body to sink into the floor, your cushion, or if you are outside allow the energy of God’s glorious world to help you Relax.


Remember your imagination can take you anywhere. Visualize yourself opening a door, and amazed by the beauty before you. 


Dropping your bags at the door, your shoulders begin to Relax. 


Follow your breath by inhaling and exhaling through your mouth. Breathe in the love of God, the beauty of nature, the treasures in your heart, and all that surrounds you that sparks joy. Repeat slowly at least four times, and on the exhale release anxiety, stress, and anything which no longer serves you. 


Next focus on God’s powerful presence. Reflect on your life experiences. Breathe in tranquility of these moments. Look within your heart for the sacred silence you crave, deep inside of you. 


Dwell in possibility. Allow God’s peace to awaken and energize your soul. View life through a new lens asking God to help you examine your daily events. Seek his advice on what to do, and what is required of you at this moment. 


Visualize your calm-whether you are going through a dark season of challenge and frustration, feel alone and afraid, or are in a season of gladness and celebration; earthly news and views, illness, and evil are real, and should be acknowledged. Everything from the outside is constantly competing with who you are becoming on the inside as a child of God. So each day, whether it’s a light load, or heavy burden, imagine yourself laying your concerns at the foot of the Cross, and leaving them there.


Now close your eyes. Relax and recreate the beauty of a spot in God’s creation that enlivens and excites you. Thank God for the gift of this place, and begin to Envision being there with the Lord, who knows your every joy, struggle and sorrow. 


As you confide, accept His comfort, and know whatever it is you need, you will discover solutions with Jesus. Lean inward to pray and listen with your heart to Envision limitless possibilities. 


After listening to God’s timeless Wisdom in conversation, and as you read his Word, the third step to R.E.S.T. is to Speak from your heart, remembering, “God knows everything about you before you say a word” (Psalm 139: 4).


You pause, then pour through Scriptures, allowing a time of R.E.S.T. for God’s promises to sink in. Concentrating on your inner energy field to follow the Light of Christ, you Envision He is right there with you. Whether He Speaks in a whisper, a strong voice, remains silent, or nudges you in a particular way, maybe with a more subtle sign, you firmly believe that it is God, through the gift of the Holy Spirit, who orchestrates your life.


Finally with complete Trust and surrender you R.E.S.T. in calm expectation, and take action the way God responds. With confidence and clarity, your inner guidance from the Holy Spirit will lead you. Whether God says, “yes, or “no,” and even when He says, “wait,” you trust God’s perfect timing.


After finding R.E.S.T. in the arms of your Heavenly Father, you conclude your time by singing praises, thanking Him with a prayer of gratitude from the heart. 


Savor this experience, my friend. Know that pausing to R.E.S.T. in God’s care can be done anytime, and anywhere. For the Lord says, “Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know” (Jeremiah 33: 3).


Until next time…


May the Spirit of God lead you, the Word of God sustain you, and the promises of God grant you the gift of everlasting peace.


With love and blessings...


To share your experience of finding R.E.S.T., or to submit your praises, and prayer requests email me at sue@faithfirstwomen.com, and I will email you back to keep the conversation going.


For greater reflection and to dig deeper use the R.E.S.T. guided meditation during your prayer time this week, and later create your own acronym to cultivate closeness with the Lord. Next join us on 

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A portion of this reflection was first published in Reflect, Recharge, & Reclaim Your Life: 10 Keys for Women to Deepen Their Faith Through Prayer


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