Devotions

Detox from Stress? Say Yes to Rest!

March 28, 2018
“Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NASB)
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I was good at taking care of others and getting things done. But, I wasn’t good at nurturing my own heart or taking care of my well-being. So I became overwhelmed with stress, although you couldn’t tell, because I was good at working hard, pleasing others, surviving and pushing through.

But, in my honest moments, I longed to find my spark again: to experience God’s peace and joy in a fresh, intimate way.

Women are heroes when it comes to loving and caring for others. But I wonder … Why is it so hard to give ourselves permission to rest and refresh, especially when we’re stressed and need it most?

Jesus says, “Come to me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

Notice Jesus does not say, “Come to me strong, cheerful, calm and untroubled.”

It’s the opposite. We’re invited to come to Jesus when we’re weary — whether confused, anxious, angry or stressed. Jesus tells us to come as we are. Imperfectly His.

God doesn’t want us to do more for Him. He longs to take care of us and whisper words of love and peace.

Let’s Get Practical
Maybe you find yourself asking: How can I get practical about rest? How can I take better care of myself and draw close to God?

These are questions I asked myself, too. I began researching the answers and, to my delight, God helped me discover 40 ways to detox stress from my soul with uplifting Scriptures, simple soul care to spark joy, and prayers to feel God’s peace again. Here are three:

1. Breathe and rest.
When you feel too stressed to pray, rest knowing Jesus is interceding for you.

Nothing can separate you from His love. Not even your unrest. He’ll never get tired of you. Sometimes, the greatest prayer we can experience is God’s complete understanding and compassion. And His presence.

“Who then is the one who condemns? No one.
Christ Jesus who died … is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
(Romans 8:34, NIV)

 

Soul Care Tip: Are you a tea or coffee lover? Research shows even the act of brewing tea and the aroma of coffee is mood-lifting!

Take a sip of coffee or tea today and breathe. As you do, rest in the thought of Jesus interceding for you.

2. Journal your prayer.
When you feel tired, instead of struggling to reach Jesus, invite Jesus into your world. Research in a New York Times article shows the power of writing your personal story; it leads to behavioral changes and improves happiness. Even writing 10 minutes makes a difference!

“For the word of God is alive and active …”
(Hebrews 4:12a, NIV)

 

Soul Care Tip: When we journal with God, we give Him space to rewrite our stories. Don’t you get “aha” moments as you write? Where will you journal today?

3. Stop and get some TLC (Tender Loving Care).

It’s OK to have limits. Everyone does. Be honest if you’re discouraged.

Remember Elijah? He did everything right — even defeating the prophets of Baal. Yet his problems didn’t go away. Although his faith was strong, he was stressed.

Elijah ran away and slept. God in His loving kindness, didn’t lecture Elijah. God took care of him. Elijah woke up to fresh bread and water that God left just for him.

Not only that. God sent an angel — to touch him twice.

God knew Elijah needed physical rejuvenation first in order to hear God’s gentle whispers in a breeze. God gave Elijah TLC.

Soul Care Tip: Instead of layering on guilt, let God love you by getting some TLC. Do you need sleep, something yummy-and-healthy to eat, a friend’s touch, emotional safety or physical rest?

Getting TLC may feel selfish. Yet God’s Word says we comfort others with the comfort we first receive ourselves. (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

God understands. By injecting pockets of rest, you arrive at the doorway of God’s love for you.

Rest in your loving Savior’s arms. Take one day at a time. God will provide.

Dear Jesus, I don’t want to distract myself with busyness anymore. Bring peace to my heart as I rest and refresh. Thank You for Your love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

TRUTH FOR TODAY:

Zephaniah 3:17, “The LORD your God is in your midst, a Mighty One, who will save. He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will renew you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” (MEV)

RELATED RESOURCES:

Want more encouragement and practical tips to experience God’s peace and spark joy? You’ll love Bonnie Gray’s new devotional, Whispers of Rest: 40 Days of God’s Love to Revitalize Your Soul. Get it for yourself or a friend on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and all bookstores.

CONNECT:

Stop by Bonnie’s blog today and download free resources like the Whispers of Rest 6-Video Book Study Series or Peaceful Prayer Podcasts. You can also follow Bonnie on Facebook and Instagram.

Enter to WIN a copy of Whispers of Rest by Bonnie Gray. In celebration of this book, Bonnie will give away 5 copies! Enter to win by leaving a comment here. {We'll randomly select 5 winners and email notifications to each one by Monday, April 2, 2018.}

REFLECT AND RESPOND:

What’s urgent to others doesn’t need to be urgent to you. Give yourself permission to prioritize nurturing your heart with God. What are your favorite ways to rest and refresh?

© 2018 by Bonnie Gray. All rights reserved.

Proverbs 31 Ministries thanks Bonnie Gray for sponsoring today’s devotion.

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