The Secret Art of Restful Living

Are you weary and worn? Tired of rushing through life and desperately in need of rest? There is a secret art of restful living hidden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this life, but it comes at a cost.

Are you weary and worn?

Tired of rushing through life and desperately in need of rest?

There is a secret art of restful living hidden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this life, but it comes at a cost.

A dear friend and mentor taught me the value of  restful living when I was in my teen years.

I am grateful that he took the time to explain true rest to me at such a tender age because the conversation left me forever changed.

Because of my underlying health issues, my body craves rest and often demands it.

This used to frustrate me to no end.

It made me feel weak, less-than, incapable, a burden to others.

 

I used to push through all of the signs of fatigue, striving to be the person I thought everyone needed me to be.

 

I denied my body of the rest it was yearning for and I found myself in a tailspin.

My life was spiraling out of control and something had to change.

Are you weary and worn? Tired of rushing through life and desperately in need of rest? There is a secret art of restful living hidden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this life, but it comes at a cost.

When we feel tired, we have the tendency to do whatever we can to push through in order to accomplish the task of the day.

 

When we succumb to fatigue, we beat ourselves up for not being strong enough.  

 

This has to stop!

It is not the way we were created to live.

The most difficult thing I have ever done is to accept my own physical and emotional limitations.

I spent years fighting for the life I thought I wanted, only to find myself in an exhausted heap on the floor.

 

The need to be needed, to be valuable, to be somebody drove me beyond myself.

 

It pushed me to say yes when I should have said no, to stay up late when I should have gone to bed and  take on others burdens when I was drowning in my own.

I knew exactly who I wanted to be, the life I wanted to have, and it all required that I push through the fatigue that was closing in on me.

Then everything changed.

 

I pushed my body to a place where it began to break down and could not recover.  

 

I over-extended myself to such an extreme that I was no longer capable of completing the simplest of tasks.

I came to the end of myself, and that is the place where I remembered the advice of my mentor.

 

Are you weary and worn? Tired of rushing through life and desperately in need of rest? There is a secret art of restful living hidden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this life, but it comes at a cost.

 

Restful living requires complete trust.

We must know and understand that we have both physical and emotional limitations, and trust that God can use those limitations to teach us the beautiful art of rest.

 

 

Restful living can only be achieved when we fully surrender body, mind and spirit to our Creator.

 

In a practical sense, this means that we must carve out time to rest.

And I don’t just mean physically; we must also learn to rest our mind and our spirit.

In order to accomplish this kind of rest in my own life, I have established one simple rule for myself:

It doesn’t count if only one part of me is resting.  The physical body’s need for rest is easy to understand.  But what about our mind? What about our spirit?  Resting the body takes time, resting the mind takes discipline and resting the spirit takes faith.  Without all three components, we will never be able to achieve a truly restful lifestyle.  And true rest is the only way to heal and restore a burdened life and a broken body.

 

Are you weary and worn? Tired of rushing through life and desperately in need of rest? There is a secret art of restful living hidden in the midst of the hustle and bustle of this life, but it comes at a cost. Christian | Woman | Encouragement | Prayer | Bible | Hope | Truth | Verses | Women Inspired | Healing | Faith

 

Finding true rest requires effort.

It is not easy, and it does not come naturally.

Only by the grace of God are we ever able to achieve it, and when that happens we find ourselves completely transformed.

 

 

When we stop pushing ourselves and start resting in the Lord, we will discover the kind of  life we were created to live.

A life full of peace, hope, understanding and purpose.

It is my prayer that this article is just the beginning of our conversation on the Secret Art of Restful Living, what do you have to add?

 

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This post has been shared at many of my favorite Faith & Family Linkups.

This article was originally published on August 12, 2015, it was updated and re-published on November 30, 2015.

Sarah Koontz

About Sarah Koontz

  Sarah Koontz invites Christians of all ages to explore the beauty of God’s design. She is a passionate storyteller who enjoys using illustrations to communicate deep spiritual truths. Sarah lives on 13-acres in South Dakota with her husband, two daughters and a rowdy flock of 30 chickens. She revels in their simple, uncluttered life. Follow Sarah on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and Pinterest. Read Sarah's full Bio Here.

51 thoughts on “The Secret Art of Restful Living

  1. Great word – and so many of us women (myself especially) need to hear this word. And I love your words “True rest requires complete trust.” So true and is difficult. Thanks for this refreshing word!

    1. Rest is such a refreshing subject, isn’t it Clare? When we see this simple truth of the necessity of rest laid out before us, we find ourselves desperately longing for it. I pray that you find the strength to trust the One who can teach you how to rest in a way that brings true restoration. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by and share your thoughts with me.

  2. Hello Sarah,
    I know you wrote this post a few months ago but I can so relate to purpose behind your site and your topic here in this post. I did not truly understand what it meant to be a Christian until I suffered a massive stroke 5 years and 2 months ago. Throughout my recovery, I realized that God has kept me here to be an example for Him not and just live for myself. I have a burning desire to help people know Him as I do and to encourage other believers in their faith from my experiences. I really love your writing style so I am now a subscriber. I am always encouraged when I read someone like yourself using their talents to spread the “good news ” of the gospel. I am absolutely thrilled that I found your link via Grace and Truth today. I hope we can keep in contact. Thank you for sharing your God-given talents with us. May God continue to bless you and yours. Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Horace, thank you for stopping by and for your kind words. It is so nice to find community through blogging, and I am inspired by the story you share about your life on your own blog. God does have a beautiful plan for all of us, and He uses us in spite of our own weakness and shortcoming. Thank you for subscribing and I look forward to getting to know you better.

  3. Oh, Sarah, I love every second of this! I so needed to hear this. I have been there where I pushed too hard for too long and didn’t respect my body’s health limitations, only paying the consequences after. I’m trying so hard to embrace the rest and realign my life, but feeling the guilt when I don’t accomplish all that I know “needs” to be accomplished. I know the guilt is a lie, though, so I just keep repeating that to myself!!! Thank you for this beautiful post! I’m posting this on my Facebook page right now!
    Blessings and smiles,
    Lori

    1. Lori, that is awesome to hear. True rest is such a difficult concept to embrace in our culture. There was a season where I had to make a rule that if I was worrying or thinking over a problem it didn’t count as rest. I needed to do this because I would often find myself trying to rest my body while my spirit and mind were battling with something. Often I was battling guilt and feelings of inadequacy because my body was forcing me to rest rather than doing what I was “supposed” to do. But rest is a huge part of God’s plan for our lives, it’s our culture that is pushing us to the brink….not our Savior! Gosh, I am so glad I made that rule for myself. In time, I have learned to rest my whole self and recognize the signs and symptoms when I am not. I have been seeing your beautiful face at a lot of the same linkups lately, and I am excited to know you better through your writing. Thank you so much for taking the extra time to share this article, it means a lot!

  4. How I wish I knew the true meaning of rest when I had my babies back to back, two of whom were sick/needy babies. I pushed and pushed myself for years and never truly rested. I’m just discovering it now. I can’t wait to read more!

    1. Anastasia, I had babies back to back also. Man was that a challenging season for us! My babies were healthy, but this mamma was overwhelmed and tired. I think the season of life where we have young children is a marathon no matter how much we strive for balance and rest. I pray this article was an encouragement to you and hope to write more on the subject in the future. If there is any specifics you would like me to share about in a deeper way, please don’t hesitate to drop me an e-mail and let me know. Rest is a topic that is so close to my heart.

  5. Thank you Sarah for this..I’ve written often about resting in God instead of the world — I spent so many years in a demanding career that went against my natural need for a more introspective, restful life..I’ve needed more downtime than most–because that’s how God made me..but it’s still a struggle in this fast paced world..but we must take the narrow way! Beautiful post and reminder! Visiting from #TestimonyTuesday next door today!

    1. It is difficult for those of us who were created to thrive in a slow-paced environment, isn’t it? The world is constantly telling us to do more….while Christ is calling us to be more. So glad we were neighbors at today’s linkup, I appreciate your perspective on this post!

  6. Sarah,

    I so needed to read this, and how interesting that I had started out to read this hours ago, but suddenly decided to decorate the house for Christmas, even though I have a million other things to do and I am exhausted already, but I pushed through. And then I sit down a few minutes ago and read your words… Words that spoke relief to me, encouraged me and gave me new insight into rest…

    I especially found interesting your statement, “The physical body’s need for rest is easy to understand. But what about our mind? What about our spirit? Resting the body takes time, resting the mind takes discipline and resting the spirit takes faith. Without all three components, we will never be able to achieve a truly restful lifestyle. And true rest is the only way to heal and restore a burdened life and a broken body.” The three points you shared on what it takes to rest each aspect of ourselves was like an ahh haa! moment for me. These are all so true!

    I will be featuring this blog post on my Feature Friday post this Friday, December 4th. Please feel free to stop by and grab my button.

    Praising God for His words through you that brought me such encouragement.

    1. Karen, what a blessing to know that the words God spoke to my heart about rest were also an encouragement to you. I am so grateful you took the time to read this article today and will be praying that the truth about restful living will have a lasting impact on your life. Thank you for featuring me, I will be sure to swing by!

  7. “Restful living requires complete trust.” _ YES! This is the key to rest: Trust. We worry because we don’t trust our Father. Oh, that He would increase my faith.
    Sarah (www.sarahefrazer.com)

    1. It is so amazing how much we struggle to trust our Creator….but it is a battle! My mentor once told me to get busy at the work of rest. I giggled at the time, but as I have grown older (and hopefully more wise) I have discovered the layers of truth in that statement.

  8. Sarah, my word for 2015 is REST, so your title pulled me in. It’s so true that rest requires trust. Trust that says, “I’ve done what I can, and now I need to rest. I’m leaving the rest to God right now, and I’ll get back to what I can do later.” Thanks for your encouraging testimony today.

    1. Rest is a beautiful word to choose to define a year by, I hope that by focusing on rest in 2015 your life has been enriched. I am learning that a key element to my own rest is surrendering the outcome of my work to the Lord. What tends to push me over the edge is my desire to somehow shape the outcome with the veracity of my efforts. Nothing wears me out like trying to be God of my own life….

  9. Just as I loved this post when I read it months ago; I needed the reminder today Sarah. Thanks for sharing it again. As I deal with a recurring injury from the stroke, it has frustrated me because it has become more difficult to write. I was praying tonight asking God to give me peace/rest and to see what He wants me to learn from this going forward. I truly believe when we seek to find rest in Him, He will give us the peace, wisdom and understanding we desire. Thanks again for sharing. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! God bless

  10. I hit the jackpot by stopping by your blog today. I truly mean that! I have fibromyalgia, too, and I loved reading your story. Fibromyalgia has also taught me complete humility and trust in God, but also in my husband. I have to pause and say, “yes, I could use a little help folding the clothes” even though my busy bee self would love to do it all 😉 How blessed am I to have someone who encourages me to rest? Thank you for sharing your heart. I loved reading!

    1. Mary, I am so glad you feel that way! I owe so much of my health to my faithful husband, and I agree that it is so difficult when you wish you could do it all but know you can’t. I would love to keep in touch, but couldn’t find any social media buttons on your site. Are you on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram? Give me a follow and I will definitely follow back. It’s nice to know we aren’t alone….

      1. I just followed you on my personal instagram (marycecilias) and Pinterest 🙂 I’m a brand new blogger, so I don’t have a Facebook page or insta for my blog quite yet- maybe one day!

        1. Great! I followed you back. Social media is definitely an overwhelming aspect of blogging. If you ever need another blogging friend to seek encouragement from, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. Blessings!

  11. I wish I had learned the secret you learned long ago, but I am grateful for His grace and the way He meets me each and every time I find myself at that crossroads of decision. Now, I am learning more, to stop and rest and allow myself to leave things unfinished and to not feel guilty about it. I wish I had learned that earlier, but then I wouldn’t have been able to value the lessons now as much either.

    Great words of wisdom, Sarah!
    Blessings,
    Dawn

    1. Isn’t that how life works, Dawn. There are so many lessons I wish I would have learned sooner, but it seems that God teaches us in His perfect timing. Leaving things unfinished is a challenge for us women, isn’t it? I may just have to write a blog post about that very subject. “The Hidden Beauty of an Unfinished Life.” Of course, that would mean I would have to come to terms with the concept myself first. 🙂

  12. This is such a critical concept! With my husband deployed and doing the role of both parents, I constantly have to remind myself to put it into practice. Thanks for this beautiful post!

    1. A Restful approach to life is hard work! Deployment definitely exaggerates the situation as you truly are wearing two hats (and often worrying about the safety of your spouse at the same time). I hope you have a good support system, and am praying that your family will be reunited soon. Thank you for stopping by, I hope you visit again soon.

  13. Saw your post through Twitter. LOVE the title of this post so much. Really like your acronym for REST. ?

    I totally embrace the whole REST thing you described. My blog is called Rest Stop for the Soul. My life verse is Matthew 11:28 where Jesus tells us to come to him for rest. It is truly a moment by moment decision to trust God in all things. You can’t really rest if you don’t trust. May God continue to use your words of wisdom and insight to encourage others on this weary journey we call life!

  14. So beautiful Sarah! This is the very thing I’m learning! I’m learning to put my mind at rest–even when I am overwhelmed with tasks I still need to accomplish. God is so good and is teaching me to enjoy the moment I am in rather than fret about what’s ahead. Thank you for this encouragement at #100HappyDays!

    1. Learning to rest my mind was one of the most difficult challenges I ever faced, phew! And the whole restless mind thing creeps back into my life when I’m not being proactive. I am proud of you for investing energy on this skill, it is well worth the effort.

    1. Resting requires far more effort than we realize, and once we succeed for a short time, temptation to worry or fear swoops in and steals our peace. Thankfully, God is more than worthy of our complete trust.

  15. This post speaks to me, Sarah. I have been grappling quite a while about how to prioritize my life and slow down the pace. I have said “yes” to some things that I know I need to say “no” to because they are costing me rest and energy–not to mention, productivity, ironically! Thanks for reminding us all of this important balance. I’ll be chewing on your words for a while!

    1. There is always loss when we have to step down from a commitment. The loss is often accompanied by regret and feelings of inadequacy. But if we are serving in all the wrong areas, we are preventing the right person from being able to step into that position and our fruitfulness is limited because we’ve sprung a leak! Plug up those wholes with boldness and faith, say your sorry for letting them down, and move forward with confidence to the life and commitments Christ has called you to. Praying for you, sister.

  16. Sarah, your words resonate with me. I’ve taught and written on rest because I’m still learning how to rest. My body has been through a crisis brought on by being exposed to black mold. I think I’m on the mend, but it has been way too slow for me! I guess I need lots of practice in the area of rest. I love the beautiful pictures and clean layout of your site. Beauty restores my soul.

    1. Debbie, Rest is near and dear to my heart also. I am so sorry to hear about your experience with black mold. I had a similar experience with chronic low level carbon monoxide exposure a few years back. When it was all said and done, my body was on the mend for a full 2 1/2 years. Can you believe it? But God was faithful and taught me so much through that challenging season, as I am certain He is also doing for you. If you are interested in supporting your heqaling through diet, supplementation and exercise, I encourage you to check out my father’s books on Amazon. Specifically Bionutrition by Dr. Ray Strand. Praying for a speedy recovery for you, dear.

  17. So true Sarah- true rest is such a gift. Resting my mind is probably one of the hardest things for me! Even when I tell myself I am going to have a restful evening, I so easily am thinking of all things work related. Thanks for these wise words.

    1. I think most women would agree with you on this, Keri. That is why I absolutely had to set up the rule that it didn’t count as rest if my mind was still working. It took a lot of practice and persistence, but now it is relatively easy to turn my mind off at the end of the day (most of the time, anyway).

  18. “Restful living can only be achieved when we fully surrender body, mind and spirit to our Creator.” Amen, sister! What a beautifully written post. And there is so much freedom and peace in surrender! All the pressure is off and we can live with full confidence that God’s in control. 🙂

  19. Such wisdom Sarah! And why does it sometimes take coming to a breaking point? Mercy! My greatest take-away (and personal challenge) is the component of trust. I needed this reminder! (Have a blessed Easter friend!)

    1. For me, it seems that the only way I know how to grow is in spurts, and growth always comes on the heals of me realizing I can no longer make it on my own strength. Guess I’m just stubborn! Trust is an important part of restful living, and I am grateful my words were an encouragement to you. Can’t wait for the warm SD breezes to bring summer to us, and hope to see you soon.

  20. Sarah,

    Rest seems to be a revolving theme that the Lord keeps bringing to my doorstep this year. Your words are always a breath of fresh air and a inspiration to look beyond the chaos and just settle into the hope and the blessing He has waiting for us. You said, Rest requires us to trust. Oh, yes… trust that God is fully in control! Thanks for the wonderful reminder, friend. It is always a blessing to see you at #GraceMoments!
    Bless you,
    Dawn

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