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Rest: Benefits For the New Year

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On  December 19th, I had a desperate need for someone to push my “Restart” button.

The days leading up to that one found me caught up in daily drama. An overwhelming number of items on my “must do” list pressed the air from my lungs, leaving me gasping for even one breath of joy.

The boys needed just a little more of me, stole my energy with attitudes, and sapped me of strength to do anything beyond surviving.

After weeks of this daily strain, the hues that colored my life began to fade to gray.

The spin of each day caught me up and left me dizzy. I found myself looking to the next moment, expecting the next “bad” thing to cross my path. Living with this mindset emptied me, and set me on autopilot. On the morning of December 19th, I was physically exhausted and soul weary.

Depleted.

I wasn’t even excited to get on the plane that would take me to Hawaii.

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It took a couple days before I finally relaxed into the slower pace of Hawaii. Spending time with family, sleeping in past 5:00 a.m., trying to soak in all of God’s amazing creation (especially the powerful waves!), and laughing with my family were wonderful doses of a much needed medication.

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It was called rest.

Rest restored my reserves to handle the relationship dynamics that always happen when family gets together.

It renewed my perspective about circumstances in my life.

Rest re-infused my spirit with joy. 

I didn’t realize I had a “Restart” button until I came home again.

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A few benefits of rest I’ve noticed since jumping back into real life:

  1. I have a clearer picture of what’s most important for me, my family, and the callings God’s placed on my heart.
  2. I can see more clearly what’s “good” in my life and what’s “best” as far as how I spend my time.
  3. I’ve made some good changes (more sleep, different diet, etc). Without the pressure I felt in December, it’s much easier to follow through with them.

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I came home with an internal peace, better able to handle the stresses life has thrown my way.

Stepping out of my normal schedule pressed my “Restart” button. It encouraged me to slow down. I’m beginning to think I need to do this more often.

Okay. Maybe not go to Hawaii.

But be intentional about getting out of my daily routine so I can rest my mind, spirit and body. I didn’t realize how worn down I was until I settled into life with a new focus and a peaceful spirit.

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I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but I plan to incorporate more rest into my year. When my Restart button is pressed, I am much more productive than when I power myself through to the place where everything becomes gray.

What about you? What presses your Restart button? How do you give yourself rest in the course of a year?

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16 thoughts on “Rest: Benefits For the New Year”

  1. I’m so glad for you, that you were able to step out of the rapids and into the gentle balm of rest. That is so important.

    But not for me. My life’s on a 24-hour-a-day clock, and rest is only enforced by exhaustion. Then it’s back up again.

    Part of this comes from my current situation – I don’t have an indefinite horizon any longer, and I want to make the time I do have count. It’s getting harder to be as physically effective as I was even a few months ago.

    But part of it is nature. When Barbara and I married, I tried to slow down, and it was simply awful for all concerned. I was full of nervous energy, almost giving off sparks. Barbara would make me go for a run, and lock the door so I couldn’t come back early.

    On the whole it’s not a good way to live. You do a lot…but you miss a lot, too. A lot of the stuff you do wasn’t worth doing, and I’ve learned that a lot of what I missed should not have been missed.

    Besides, it puts people in mind of the famous Malaysian Concentric Bird, which flies in tighter and tighter circles until it disappears into its own…uh, never mind.

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    1. Andrew, you always bring an added perspective, and I like that. 🙂 You’re right. We’re each different, wired differently, have different back stories that filter how we see the present.

      I like your determination to make each moment count. I don’t always live that way, but it’s a good outlook.

      I am praying for you. The prayer that came to mind today was that you would be able to let what you accomplish today (and each day) be enough. For that day. Praying for peace in the pain too.

      You bless me with your honesty. Thank you for that.

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      1. Jeanne, thank you. The prayers are felt – and they are needed.

        Letting what can be done today be enough is exactly right.

        And there is peace in the pain, as long as I remember to offer it up as a sacrifice to the Almighty. I don’t know – and can’;t know His reasons, but I can accept them, and stay secure in the knowledge that He is with me through it all.

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  2. Oh, the elusive thing called rest. LOL. It’s funny. Mike and I have been talking lately about needing more of this in our lives. And yet, right now, life seems to be flying by, and I’m not sure what to cut out…what I can cut out. Ever had a season like that? It can be hard to find my footing. For now, we’re trying to make Sundays more restful and not fill them with a bunch of stuff off the to-do list. That means other days might be busting at the seams, but perhaps having one day to recuperate will make it worth it…

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    1. Hey Lindsay, Yes, I KNOW those seasons. If I’m not careful, my whole life is that season every day. Figuring out what to cut out is difficult. I’ve cut out a lot so I can write, but I’m still BUSY. I’m figuring out my priorities for the year, and I think I’ll let those help me determine what needs to go.

      Your idea of making Sunday a day of rest is a wise one. I hope you can do it. 🙂

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  3. So encouraged by your words. I took my first blogging break over the holidays. It was so very needful. I need to do it more often too. I’d love to hear your system of blogging/writing breaks during the year if you have one.

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    1. Hey Lisa,

      I wish I could say I’ve got this all figured out. 🙂 I took my first break over the holidays too. What I’ve had to do is figure out how much time I have for blogging. I cut back to Tuesdays because, as much as I love blogging, it takes time. I want to make sure I have time to write in my book as well. 🙂

      What I usually do when I’m going to be short on time, or on vacation, is write up posts and schedule them ahead of time. That way I mostly need to just check in and comment on the days the posts go live.

      But, if I’m going on vacation and I just don’t have time to prepare a post, I let my readers know I’m taking a break that week/those weeks. I think the most important thing is letting my readers know when I’m taking a break. But then also coming back when I say I am. 🙂

      I like the idea of taking a couple weeks off at Christmas, and I think that will become my tradition each December. I don’t know if this helps much, but there you have it. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by!

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  4. Jeanne, I really look forward to summer. I homeschool, so I greatly enjoy the summers off. That is a great reset for me … and I work hard to keep my summers free. I have to say “no” to much. Also, we have been going once a year to Disney … it is not rest … we walk 90 to nothing and exhaust ourselves … but it is a reset in the fact that I push everything to the side … and only spend time with my little family of four. No phones, no email, no nothing. Just us and Mickey! We leave in two weeks … and I’m getting ready. As far as sleep … I can’t make myself stay awake when I’m tired … my body just simply shuts down for sleep. I can barely sit through a movie at home anymore! Grin.

    I haven’t been to Hawaii since my 10th grade high school year. I might be missing it!

    Thank you for such inspiring and encouraging words.

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    1. It’s fun to hear about what presses your Reset button, Shelli. It sounds like you have good priorities. Family first. Meet their needs. Replenish with shared time making memories.

      I can push through the tiredness most of the time. But it’s almost always to my detriment. 🙂 My husband, on the other hand, hits his wall, and he’s out for the night. 🙂

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      1. And Jeanne, I don’t have anything pressing on me momentarily. I have articles to write, but the due dates are toward the end of 2014 … so I don’t plan to focus on those until after March. I have a speaking engagement in March … when we get home from Disney, I’ll probably focus on that. My MS … no contracts, so no hurries … writing when I can. I finished Chapter 9 today! Woohoo!

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  5. I usually recharge on vacation to the beach. For years we’ve gone to Holden Beach, NC for vacation to rest and recharge.
    This year we took an amazing trip to Spain and London. We had a great time, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. But I never got my “recharging” vacation. I hope we find time to go to NC this year for a little rest and relaxation.
    But for now….time with God and good music help recharge me on a daily basis.

    Thanks for sharing Jeanne. I think it’s time to put a Harry Connick Jr. CD on now.

    Have a great day!

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    1. I love that you have “recharge” vacations, Jackie. Most of our vacays revolve around visiting family in one part of the country or the other. Those aren’t particularly recharging, at least on the front end.

      Yes, time with God. Good music. those refresh me as well. 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

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