31 Days: Some practical ideas for ways to rest

I’ve been writing about the importance of rest for three weeks now, so let’s get practical for a few minutes. Rest is good. We need rest. But how do we make rest a priority, when it feels like we’ll fall off the treadmill of life and hurt ourselves if we try to slow down or even stop?

There’s always something (usually a lot of things) demanding our attention, our time and our energy.

Well I can’t tell you what you should do. I don’t know what your situation is like, what commitments you have, whether you’d happily curl up with a good book or stare at the ocean if you had the time, or whether you get antsy if you sit down for longer than five minutes at a time. Only you know that.

Making time for rest is not likely to come easily or naturally, and it will probably mean that you have to make it a priority over something else. You may need to sacrifice something you like doing but that doesn’t actually refresh you, or something you think you ‘need’ to do before you’re allowed to rest. You may need to leave some things undone or unfinished until after you’ve rested. If you aren’t used to giving yourself time to rest, you may need to start small as you get used to giving yourself permission to make rest a priority.

(Just quietly, if your skin started crawling at the very idea of leaving something unfinished or undone in order to rest, it just may be the most important thing you need.)


So here a few ideas for ways to rest. Use whatever is helpful for sparking your own ideas. One important thing to consider when choosing ways to rest, is whether they are life-giving for you, whether you feel refreshed. You might love watching movies and back-to-back episodes of your favourite tv series on Netflix, but if they’re not refreshing you, maybe that’s entertainment and not rest.

Some of these ideas may take a few minutes during your work day, some could take a whole day on the weekend. It’s up to you.

  • take a walk along the beach or in a park
  • sit on a bench and watch the world go by
  • read a good book
  • pray, read scripture, and listen for how the Lord might be speaking to you
  • sleep – yay!
  • cook something you love to eat – share it with friends or family
  • write in a journal (maybe in your favourite coffee shop)
  • stretch
  • lay on the floor and listen to your favourite music
  • catch up for coffee or a meal with a good friend
  • take a break from your electronic devices (yes, mobile phone, tablet, laptop, computer – whatever is dragging you along at warp speed to keep up with the world)
  • sit in your favourite chair, close your eyes and listen for the Lord’s whisper (you might need some solitude for this one)
  • do something creative – draw, paint, take photographs, sew or knit, play music (however you like to express your unique creativity)
  • drink more water (note to self!)
  • take regular breaks at work (use an egg timer or an app to remind you to stop and stretch or do something else for a few minutes – try the Pomodoro technique)

I’d love to hear some of your ideas for rest. Drop me a line in the Comments.

Happy resting!

The Rhythm of Rest

This is Day 22 of The Rhythm of Rest series (Write 31 Days challenge).

Image credit: morguefile.com

31 Days: Come away to a quiet place and rest

Image credit: morguefile.com

Mark 6:30-32 

The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place. 

Jesus made rest a priority. He and the disciples left in a boat while there were still so many people coming and going. He knew rest was important.

Things didn’t quite go according to plan because people recognised him and ran on foot to meet the boat at its destination. It must have been hard to find a crowd waiting for them when they really just needed some rest. Jesus had compassion on them though and so he taught them, and the disciples fed them. It was late when Jesus sent the disciples off again in the boat while he went up a mountainside to pray. Rest was still important.

Is Jesus inviting you to come with him to a quiet place and get some rest? Does it feel like your rest is being delayed by the needs of others? Ask him to show you how and when to make space to rest with him.

The Rhythm of Rest

This is Day 10 of The Rhythm of Rest series (Write 31 Days challenge).

31 Days: When only one thing is needed


The day started badly, thoughts swirling and coiling in on each other and spiralling down into a place of shadows and dark corners. Challenging conversations, looming deadlines and a lot of work to be done.

Tonight is good; calm and peace is restored. I feel at rest. Tired but not exhausted.

I didn’t do all the right things to incorporate rest or rhythm into my day. I worked while I ate lunch. I ignored my computer’s software that reminds me to take regular breaks – more than once. Yes, I’m definitely a work in progress.

But I did one thing well. I made a very short list of the the most important things for the day and I worked until they were done. I didn’t overestimate what was achievable. I didn’t get distracted by other things. And when I logged out of my computer, picked up my bag and left, I felt a weight lifted and a lightness restored.

And I’m reminded of Martha’s story in Luke:

Luke 10:38-42: As Jesus and the disciples continued on their way to Jerusalem, they came to a certain village where a woman named Martha welcomed him into her home. Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught. But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.” But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.” 

Mary was distracted with so many things to do and it made her worried and upset, especially with her sister Mary. I wonder if Martha was preparing an extravagant banquet when Jesus would have been happy with a sandwich and her company.

I wonder if Martha was trying to do everything except the one thing that was most important in that moment, being with Jesus.

What if we let go of the many things we’re worried about getting done, and focus on the one thing that is needed right now?

The Rhythm of Rest

This Day 9 of The Rhythm of Rest series (Write 31 Days challenge).

31 Days: Putting down Roots

Photo Credit: John Pretty via Compfight cc

Today I returned to Alan Fadling’s book, An unhurried life: following Jesus’ rhythms of work and rest. In it he describes how early in his ministry Jesus visited the synagogue in Nazareth and announced his purpose by reading these verses from Isaiah 61:

Isaiah 61:1-2

The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…

And if Jesus had kept reading he would have come to these words in verse three:

They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

I was struck by this image and Fadling’s explanation that we are “these oaks of righteousness planted by the Lord [to] put his splendour on display, a display quite different from human excitement, enthusiasm and thrills. Splendor is quieter, stronger, less hurried and more deeply rooted.”

As I read this I was reminded of a gorgeous picture book called Tina the Tree by Andrew McDonough. You can read the whole story on the Lost Sheep website, but if I may summarise here, Tina the tree lives by a life-giving river in the hot dry climate of Australia. Tina loves to show hospitality to all the living creatures around her. But soon Tina is running herself ragged trying to help everyone.

What they really need is for Tina to stay by the river and sink her roots into the water. Strong and healthy, she can provide food, safety and shelter for the creatures who need her.

We are designed to display the Lord’s splendour, and we can’t do that by constantly running around in a hurry trying to get more done. As we are planted by the Lord we need time to be still, to send down roots and to grow in him.

The Rhythm of Rest
This is Day 5 of The Rhythm of Rest series (Write 31 Days challenge).

Write 31 Days – The Rhythm of Rest

The Rhythm of Rest

I’ve had plenty of days when I just want the world to stop so I can get off. There’s too much happening and it’s happening too fast. I can’t keep up, and I’m tired of trying.

Do you know that feeling too?

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)

When I was introduced to the Message version of these verses a few years ago it struck me in a fresh way. The invitation to learn the unforced rhythms of grace from Jesus, to live freely and lightly. Doesn’t that sound good?

One of the things I noticed in this passage is that a real rest includes walking with Jesus and working with him. Rest isn’t just about stopping. It isn’t just about sleep, or about holidays or the Sabbath, although all those things are good. There is also rest offered in the rhythms of life, in the way we walk and go about our work each day. What does it look like to rest in the Lord, to follow his unforced rhythms of grace? That’s what I want to discover.

It’s October again and that means the Write 31 Days challenge is on, and so I’ve decided to explore The Rhythm of Rest.

The irony of writing and posting everyday on the subject of rest hasn’t escaped me, but thinking, writing and sharing about it may actually help me to make space for rest. And I need some accountability. I guess we’ll find out if the experiment works.

I’m looking forward to what might happen this month. I hope you’ll join me on the journey and share some of your own experiences and insights.

I’ll be adding a link here for each day’s post, so there’s one place to find everything together. And there will also be a button on the home page so you can easily check back here any time during the month.

Day 1 – The Rhythm of Rest
Day 2 – Rest in the Beginning
Day 3 – Slowing Down to Rest
Day 4 – My Soul Finds Rest in God
Day 5 – Putting down Roots
Day 6 – Take a Moment to Breathe
Day 7 – Giving myself Permission to Rest
Day 8 – A prayer for rest and renovation
Day 9 – When only one thing is needed
Day 10 – Come away to a quiet place and rest
Day 11 – And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy
Day 12 – The gift of sleep
Day 13 – Restless
Day 14 – Nature knows how to rest
Day 15 – Learning to rest through trust
Day 16 – When I can’t ignore my need to rest
Day 17 – He lets me rest in green meadows
Day 18 – A day of delight
Day 19 – The rest of wild flowers
Day 20 – Rest in the present
Day 21 – Made for rest
Day 22 – Some practical ideas for ways to rest
Day 23 – Remaining in the vine
Day 24 – A blessing for rest
Day 25 – Refreshing the soul
Day 26 – Resting in His presence
Day 27 – no post, just sleep!
Day 28 – Rest in the rhythm of the ebbs and flows
Day 29 – Sleeping in the storm
Day 30 – Make every effort to enter God’s rest
Day 31 – Practising the Rhythm of Rest