Rest and Release

If you were to walk into my home at any given time, I am willing to bet one of the first things you would notice is my giant color-coded calendar on my refrigerator. Keeping my family’s schedule keeps me busy. Some days, I obsess over the details. Different colors denote which family member any given item is for on the calendar. When I am not reviewing and editing our calendar, I am constantly making lists. Gift ideas, shopping lists, chore lists, items to take on vacation, and, of course, general to-dos. It’s what we moms do, right? We are the calendar keepers and guide our families through each day’s events. The job feels like it never ends. We serve our families day after day. While I would even claim planning and list-making as strengths for me, this never-ending job can become overwhelming so easily. Especially as a new mom, I would often find myself fixated so deeply on my ability to execute these skills during the steep learning curve of having our first child. The more I felt like things were not going the way I wanted them to, the more I would cling more tightly to the hope that if I tried harder, I could eventually do it perfectly. Chasing perfection is what I like to call it. And honestly, I still suffer from the tendency to do it.

Satan’s lies convince me that all my self-worth comes from doing the job perfectly. That if I forget even one thing, it will disappoint my family. The Devil loves to do things like that. If he thinks he cannot draw us away from God, he tries to distract us instead. Keep us busy and fixated on things that do not really matter. He has been successful in distracting me in this way. Satan has a way of taking character strengths and turning them against us. Keeping us so busy trying to do better—is enough until we drop into exhaustion. But scripture tells us that we find freedom in Christ. He is where we find restoration and strength. Romans 6:22 says, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.” As we release our worries and struggles to Him, He replaces them with peace and hope.

Rest for restoration.

One day, while talking to another friend who had kids the same age as mine, we were swapping tips and suggestions. I was exhausting myself and telling her I just couldn’t ever get it all done, even by utilizing the kids’ nap time to work on chores. Her advice was to take nap time to rest and restore myself. The concept was so simple, yet one I had never permitted myself to be okay with.

Society idolizes the idea of the perfect family with a perfect, clean house. Never showing any struggle or weakness. We are convinced that resting is not productive, and therefore, we must only do it when socially acceptable. Rest is good. It is productive, and even Jesus rested. Throughout His ministry, Jesus would stop and go off by Himself. Pray to the Father and rest for His upcoming travels. Rest is necessary for God to restore our souls for our next steps (Matthew 11:28-30). Give God space in your schedule to tend to your heart and encourage your faith. We must pursue our relationship with Him. As He pours into us, we can then pour into others as He leads.

Release your burdens.

As things in life get stressful and I feel like I have less control over circumstances, I try to self-soothe by controlling other things (or even other people) in my life. Clinging to the most insignificant situation, I can become stubborn and try to control things that do not really matter. My hope becomes engulfed in the idea that having full control will eliminate all my worries. Holding so tightly to my plan and my expectations cloud my mind. In the end, I cannot see what God wants from me amid my tunnel vision. Although my human instinct is to think that having more control will bring me peace and freedom, the reality is that it never works.

Maybe you do the same when life’s struggles come along. Or perhaps your instinct is to utilize other strategies to calm the stressors that come along. However, true peace and freedom are found when we release our burdens to our heavenly Father. As we lift our fears, worries, and pain to Him, He replaces them with peace and hope (Philippians 4:6). If we are willing to unclench our grip on our plans, lifting our open palms to God the Father, then He can fill our hands with His will and wisdom for our lives giving the Holy Spirit space to work in us for His glory.

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