Part Two- Refresh: Rest In Our Everyday Lives And In His Promises
Last week we looked at the first thing to do to lessen anxiety, refocusing: turning our mind back to God + His Word. This week in Part 2, we’re going to look at the second thing that makes anxiety more managable: refreshing our bodies + souls, by resting in our every day lives and in His promises.
When anxiety looms large in our life, it can seem hard to focus on anything else. But caring for our bodies is so important in managing anxiety. One way we can refresh our bodies and lessen anxiety is through rest. I know that when my focus is solely on my to-do and my must-do list, life seems more overwhelming and I feel more drained. When I feel drained, anxiety gets worse. When we focus on accomplishing as much as we can seven days a week without pausing, it isn’t good for our bodies and souls. God knows we need rest and that’s part of the reason He made the Sabbath. The Israelites were instructed in Exodus 20:8-11 to:
8 “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
The ancient Israelites were so serious about keeping the Sabbath that they were told that anyone who descrated the Sabbath or did work on that day was to be put to death (Exodus 31:14-15)! They were that serious about honoring God and resting.
While we don’t want to be legalistic about keeping the Sabbath, what if we made it more of a priority? What if we set Sunday aside as a day to rest, focus on God, and enjoying quality time with our family, instead of running around doing all our errands, home improvement projects, and cleaning after church? What if we ate sandwiches for lunch and pizza for dinner on Sundays and didn’t stress about cooking?
What if we napped on Sundays? Seriously, naps can do wonders for our souls. Tell your kids it’s “quiet time” for 30 minutes or an hour, give them an activity to do in their rooms, and then go take a nap. (Ignore the laundry pile on the way to your bedroom!)
Are you a sleep-deprived mom with a newborn? Being a new mom brings many anxieties; the sleep deprivation can magnify these. Is there anyone you can ask to watch your baby for an hour or two on Sunday while you sleep? Or, if you know a new mom who is tired, can you volunteer to come over and hold her baby while she sleeps? She might be too shy to ask or might not want to feel like she is inconveniencing you. Snuggling a baby can help lessen your anxiety, and a tired mom gets some rest– it’s a win-win!
What are some ways that you can build rest into your Sundays (and other days)? What are some ways you can “keep the Sabbath holy” with your family? (Or a different day, if you work on Sundays?)
(Pause here if you need to and jump back in when you can!)
You’re back? Ok, good! The second type of rest that lessens anxiety is spiritual rest. This kind is harder to do. It can be easy by comparison to carve out some time to catch up on sleep or read a good book, but spiritual resting can be harder to do: it’s less tangible than naps or novels; it’s a mindset to practice.
1 Peter 5:7 says:
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
We can give God our worries and our spirits can rest in knowing that the Creator of the Universe cares for us. (Stop and think about that for a moment!)
What does that look like though? It could look like:
- Studying the best you can for a test and then trusting that God will help you to remember what you studied on test day
- Applying for jobs every day and then trusting that God will open a door for you at the right job
- Researching doctors, medical treatments, and hospitals, and then trusting that God will lead you to the people and places that you need
God also promises that He will never leave or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). When you feel alone in your anxiety, remember this promise. Even though yes, it can be hard to feel His presence sometimes when we have anxiety, God is there in the midst of our anxious thoughts.
What does “resting in God’s promises” look like to you? What is one way you can practice this today?
Closing thoughts as you finish Part Two:
There are many other promises that God makes to His people in His Word. When you are feeling anxious, do a quick online search for the “promises of God” and read what comes up in your results.
Write 1 Peter 5:7 on a sticky note and leave it on your mirror or in your car. When anxiety overwhelms you, read this verse and focus on the fact that the One who created you cares for you.
Verses to pin:
Did you miss Part One? You can access it here.
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All verses taken from the New International Version of the Bible (NIV), accessed from: http://www.biblegateway.com