Our God is an amazing teacher. He instructs us on how to live and gives us opportunities to do so practically.

So, in keeping with His desire that His children live out their faith, when it came time to write about rest, God had me in a season where I had to put everything He taught me about rest into practice.

What does it look like when I need to pause?

How do we know that we’re in a season that God is calling us to pause and rest? Here are a few telltale signs that I have learned.

  1. I forget who God truly is.
  2. I forget God’s faithfulness in the past and what He’s done.
  3. My prayers become all about what I need and what God needs to fix. I pray less and less for others.
  4. I can only focus on the things that must be done but haven’t been done, and a feeling of utter helplessness and frustration sets in.
  5. On busy, tiring days, even when good happens, I can only focus on what didn’t work.
  6. I stop listening to those around me because I am too tired to stop and listen. I begin to feel as though every time they need my attention, they need something from me, and I just don’t have the capacity to deal with those requests.
  7. Driving becomes really hard. Drivers who seem to actually enjoy the ride as opposed to trying to get somewhere on time—drivers who slow down anticipating the light to turn amber—in short, drivers who appear to be ‘slowing me down’, aggravate me. I’m not proud of this, but it’s true.

This is the season I’m in. Every single day, at some point, I have to pause, reset and continue. Several times a day.

Read This Next: 28 Ways to Connect With God When Your Brain Won’t Quiet Down

When we talk about rest, we envision vacations, getaways, spa trips and idyllic breaks away from it all. But how do we rest when finances don’t allow for vacations, leave days have been used up taking care of sick kids, unpaid leave is not an option, or we have to work through illness and fatigue to make ends meet?

We go back to Scripture.

The God of all mankind had a master plan for His creation from the beginning, and it included rest.

“And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” – Genesis 1:5 KJV

Dr. Anita Philips expounds on this idea so well, by reminding us that our days begin with us at rest. God works while we are sleeping. When we wake up, we step into what God has already started.

God has made provision for rest every day. This may require some radical changes in our lifestyle.

Winding down in front of a screen is the norm. Do we need it, though? All the time? I don’t think so.

After a busy day at work, school days and after school activities, my family falls into the
house—literally. We make dinner, do homework, eat and head to bed. We read in bed or fall asleep. Sometimes the kids just lie in bed until they fall asleep. We need to wind down to sleep properly, at least this is what I have found.

At every start of the day and week, God made provision for rest and worship. One of my favorite verses is Psalms 46:10 (KJV), ‘Be still and know that I am God.’ Be still (rest, stop, pause) and know that I am God (worship).

Our inclination, though, is to do more.

“‘For thus saith the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength; and ye would not.’” – Isaiah 30:15 KJV

Why do we disregard and disobey God’s command to rest? Possibly because true rest requires sacrifice.

Giving up favored ‘wind down’ activities, e.g. late night screen time and social media binges. Giving up approval from bosses and coworkers to stay late and appear driven. Skipping some of our kids’ activities, so the family can go to church. Pursuing rest and in turn, worship, is a discipline.

There are seasons of pushing through busier than normal times, but this should not be the norm.

In an article titled ‘Resting’ by Pepperdine University, the author noted, ‘Rest is an act of resistance to the empires and kingdoms of this world and within our own lives. It is an act of reclamation and an act of redemption in bringing God’s restoration to the world’.

A.W. Tozer, in his book, A Cloud by Day, a Fire By Night, says,

‘“We need to relax a bit, turn away from the noise of the world, and listen to the voice of God because He has everything put together. He has prepared a place for service and ministry… I need to quiet my heart in order to hear God’s direction. This must become a daily discipline for all of us.

It is too easy and convenient to trust human inclinations. We gravitate towards earthly methods. We want human understanding… But those who refuse to trust in these human inclinations and devices are the ones who have the ears open to hear the voice of the Lord.

When I surrender myself to God, when I accept nothing less than God’s way revealed to me through God’s voice, I will get to the Place He wants me to be.”

– A.W. Tozer

Isn’t that what we desire? To get to the place He wants us to be? So then, let’s all take time to rest and worship.