By Alaina Brown
If the enemy cannot do anything else in your life, he will do this:
Keep you busy. Distracted. Rushed. Frenzied. Scattered.
A few weeks ago, I found myself overwhelmed, overworked, and over-scheduled. I finally sat down and processed all that had been going on. As I was talking about this with my husband, he said, “Sometimes you have to say ‘no’ to good things so that you can rest. Like really, truly rest.” He wasn’t talking about just lying down kind of rest— he was referring to my soul having no room to breathe.
As Emily P. Freeman says in her book The Next Right Thing, I have to “create space for my soul to breathe.” How do I do that? DURING CHRISTMAS?
Creating space for your soul to rest is going to look diﬀerent for me than for you. We have diﬀerent schedules, routines, jobs, etc. So I will just share with you what has helped me and my soul to breathe.
- Creating a morning rhythm
I just want to be with Jesus when I wake up. I love the slow, quiet mornings. When I miss that time, my soul really misses it too. I love mornings, especially right now— sitting by the Christmas tree before anyone else is awake. Here is a rhythm that works for me and that I enjoy: I sit in silence for a few minutes, asking God to meet me here and listening to see if He is speaking. I read scripture. I write. I pray. I listen. Like Emily (can you tell I love her?) says, “it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just needs to be.”
- Saying no to good things
Jesus does not expect me to volunteer/serve at every event or to fill every need my church has. No one expects that of me actually. In the same way, I cannot meet every need for everyone I love or want to help. I just can’t. And that is absolutely okay. Don’t let the fear of disappointing someone else hinder you from being obedient to Jesus in His invitation to give you rest. Ask your friend Jesus what your best yes is and trust Him to take care of the rest.
- Limiting time with technology
Technology is a wonderful tool, but it should be just that- a tool, a resource. It should not be all-consuming. I don’t really watch a lot of TV, but I do love to look at DIY projects on Pinterest and to scroll through Instagram to keep up with what all the bloggers are posting.
A few months ago after a pretty disappointing meeting, I found myself coping with my phone—not wanting to feel or deal with the feelings that come with disappointment, I caught myself mindlessly scrolling. Unintentionally avoiding the feelings no one likes to feel. I knew then- something has got to change.
Now, my notifications are turned oﬀ and my screen time limits are turned on. No more interruptions during the quiet moments of my day. Now, I catch myself asking, “Why am I looking at my phone right now?”
A new nightly rhythm is reading before bed, setting my alarm on my alarm clock, and diﬀusing lavender on my nightstand. These things have helped my mind and body to slow down and rest. Instead of charging my phone by my bed, I charge it in the kitchen. This has helped me to not mindlessly scroll, and my overall sleep has improved too!
I feel it’s important to add that I am not a pro at these rhythms and that is okay. There is room for mistakes and for growth. Your rhythms may and probably will look a lot diﬀerent than mine, and that is okay, too. Remember, it doesn’t have to be fancy, it just simply needs to be.
As you are praying and figuring out ways for your soul to breathe this holiday season, remember the invitation Jesus so kindly oﬀers:
“Come to Me, all who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear and the burden I give is light.” Matthew 11:28-30.
“Come away from rush and hurry
To the stillness of God’s peace;
From our vain ambition’s worry,
Come to Christ to find release.
Come away from noise and clamor,
Life’s demands and frenzied pace;
Come to join the people gathered
Here to seek and find God’s face.”
May we come away from rush and hurry this season and come to Jesus.