When we come into contact with stress, [for some of us,] our natural response is to push through. We don’t want to be in need or fail to meet others’ expectations, especially our own. We beat ourselves up for not trusting God.
But, God offers us a different response.
Rest. Kindness. Comfort.
These words are from Bonnie Gray’s Day 9 blog post (part of her 21 Days of Rest blog tour). You can find so many more words of encouragement and heart-to-heart conversations from Bonnie in her book: Finding Spiritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest.
In today’s post, she shares Three Unexpected Ways to Make God Known: 1) By presence, not project; 2) by nurturing your heart rather than ignoring it; 3) by your ambition to rest.
I think this post can be helpful for anyone, but particularly for those in ministry who tend to care for others more so than for themselves. Bonnie starts her post on FaithBarista.com, but continues it on another website: Catalyst: A Community of Change Makers. (Catalyst is an annual conference for leaders in the Christian ministry. After reading today’s post, you might want to check out their website for other helpful ministry resources.)
Most of us would prefer not to be known for our “brokenness,” but sometimes we find ourselves going through difficult circumstances in our lives that simply wear us down to the point of exhaustion. As much as we may be tempted to push these feelings aside and keep going, there are times when we need to recognize that God may be using these moments to wake us up … to open our eyes to some changes we may need to make.
Kyle Idleman, author of AHA: The God Moment That Changes Everything says, “… the number-one contributor to spiritual growth is not sermons, books, or small groups; … [it] is difficult circumstances. … it sometimes takes a painful experience to make us change our ways. … Sometimes it takes cancer to awaken us to things of eternal value. Sometimes it takes unemployment to awaken us to a deeper prayer life. Sometimes it takes a broken heart for us to finally let Jesus in.”
Sometimes, when we are dealing with stress or troubling times, we might retreat into ourselves, feeling that we don’t have anything to offer others. But these are the perfect times to be real, to share our feelings and our needs with those we trust. By doing this, we are able to offer them something special—the same thing that “God offers us: space to be real and rest.”
“If you’re in need of a startling realization in your life, begin with solitude and silence. You may find that God has been trying to get your attention for a while but you haven’t been able to hear Him. Not because He hasn’t been loud enough, but because you haven’t been quiet enough.” (Kyle Idleman)
Rest—we all need it. Our souls crave it. We need spiritual whitespace.
Don’t let doing become more important than being. Don’t allow challenging times or desperate feelings to define you. These are but temporary things. Add joyful moments, comforting rest, and kindred spirits into your journey, and you will discover the courage and strength you need to get through the days ahead … one day at a time.