Finding soul rest is at the top of several of our to-do lists for the upcoming year. But how do we get to rest? How can we find rest in everyday practical ways?
Today I’m sharing what I’ve learned about rest and giving you my ten favorite resources for finding soul rest.
WHAT YOU'LL LEARN:
- [2:26] Why soul rest is important
- [8:04] What rest is and what rest isn’t
- [13:19] How to make soul rest a priority
- [14:38] Resource #1: Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
- [17:33] Resource #2: Draw Your World by Samantha Dion Baker
- [20:07] Resource #3: Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
- [23:13] Resource #4: 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal
- [24:56] Resource #5: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
- [27:23] Resource #6: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
- [29:43] Resource #7: Take Back Your Time by Christy Wright
- [31:02] Resource #8: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber
- [32:37] Resource #9: Self Compassion by Kristin Neff
[2:26] Why soul rest is important
Before we get into these ten resources, I want to dig a bit more into why rest is important, what rest is and what it isn’t, and what God has taught me about rest over the last few years.
First, rest is important because it allows us to get clarity and a new perspective on a situation. From a brain-based perspective, when we are in a constant state of stress or survival mode, we are not operating from our logical mind in the prefrontal cortex. Instead, we’re operating from our amygdala and other parts of the brain involved in our “fight or flight” response. These parts of the brain are subconscious, and we just respond with our patterns of fight, flight, freeze, or fawn. We spend our lives reacting versus thinking through things.
Our bodies are also more likely to go into survival mode when we are tired or run down, and this doesn’t allow us to live the full human experience. We are so much more than just responding to our environment. We have been given a soul and a mind, and God has called us not to just exist in this world but to grow and to live as a light for Him. In order to get to that place, we have to get clarity, perspective, and true soul rest.
Rest is also important because it gives us the ability to live in the moment. I believe soul rest is a spiritual practice, and when we engage in this practice it becomes easier to stop and appreciate all of the incredible things that happen every single moment. We can lean into gratitude and happiness, and appreciate the little things.
In addition, rest keeps us dependent on God. As an Enneagram three, I am someone who wants to be able to figure everything out. I’m motivated by accomplishing things independently, so the biggest surrender has been recognizing that I cannot heal myself. I cannot provide everything I need. God is my provider, and there are things in my life that only He can fix. So I need to be at a place where I can let go and depend on Him to be the king of my life.
When I rest, I actively stop my to-do list. I am committing to take a break from all the things that I think need to happen. If you’re a to-do list kind of person like me, it can feel kind of weird to do this. We don’t want to stop because we feel good when we finish things, and we feel rested when we are done. This, however, is a different kind of rest. This is operating from a glass that is already full, versus trying to throw water in because our glass keeps depleting.
The final reason why rest is important is that it gives us the gift of being human. I’m working on this idea of living as a full person, and recognizing all of the ways that God wants me to experience this world, be an impact on this world, and enjoy this world. That can be everything from ways He is challenging me to new habits He wants me to create, skills and talents He has given me or being bold to speak out or try something new.
We can’t enjoy life if we’re just battling all day. When we operate from a place of rest, it gives us the ability to see beyond the everyday battle, see life in its totality, and be present.
[8:04] What rest is and what rest isn’t
First of all, rest is not easy – especially if we haven’t seen it modeled or if it isn’t our natural inclination. I have never been somebody who naturally rests. I am comfortable with the gas pedal all the way down all the time, and so quite often rest feels weird or awkward. The more I allow rest to be a regular rhythm in my life, the easier and more natural it becomes. I crave rest now in a way that I never did before. My body and my mind will get to this place where I will recognize that it’s time to stop. Before, I would have just kept going and pushing to get things done. My perspective has changed on the kind of life I want to live and the kind of life God wants me to live.
Rest is discipline. It is something I have to actively practice and make time for. I have to pay attention and really consider what I am feeling and how God might be asking me to get relief. It is a regular practice of everyday life.
Rest is also biblical. It’s how God designed us to function most effectively. In fact, I’m more efficient when I’m focusing because of the priority I have put on rest in my life.
Choosing not to rest is not a badge of honor. For a long time, I thought that if I did not rest then I was proving myself to be worthy. I thought rest meant weakness, or that I needed to work harder. I’ve learned, however, that choosing to ignore rest is a mark of ignoring biblical wisdom. It is a sin because rest is part of God’s plan for us, and choosing not to rest is disobedience. God has great love for us and He wants us to be able to experience the full lives He has given us. He wants us to do all the things He has called us to do, and that is only going to happen when we learn to depend on Him through rest.
Lastly, rest is available in every season. Even when we have young children, have to take care of an older family member, or are busy with a career. In every season, God gives us the opportunity to find rest. Rest may look different in these seasons – how I rest with three teens in the house is very different from how I rested when those teens were toddlers. Honestly, I didn’t rest during that season, and I paid for it by almost losing my life about four-and-a-half years ago to a physical ailment that resulted from my lack of rest. You can hear more about that story here.
I had to make rest a priority. God literally said it was a life or death thing. I laid on my back for eight months during my period of resting and recovering from that ailment, and I knew God was telling me to change everything about my life. Literally at that moment, all I could do was rest.
[13:19] How to make soul rest a priority
Rest starts with learning to pay attention to what is going on, and being willing to say it is important and it will be a priority. I had ignored all the warning signs up to that point, so God had to make it a priority for me. I pray that it doesn’t have to be that dire for you to make rest something that is a regular rhythm in your life.
With that in mind, I want to share ten resources that I love that have helped me cultivate a more restful lifestyle. There are tons of resources on soul rest, but these are some that really approach rest from different aspects and give us the ability to make it practical. These resources have really encouraged me, and I recommend starting with these if you are looking for soul rest.
[14:38] Resource #1: Sacred Rest by Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith
This book, I think more than any other book I’ve ever read on rest, defines exactly what rest is. I love that the author is a medical doctor, so she understands the physiology of rest and how it affects our bodies. As someone who went through a near-death experience because of lack of rest, and who understands biology, I think it was really important for me to have this perspective on why I didn’t rest and what impacts that had.
Dr. Dalton-Smith talks about the seven types of rest: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative. We have likely heard of the first four: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health are outlined clearly in scripture. I love that she also includes the other three, and some of the other resources will address those as well.
[17:33] Resource #2: Draw Your World by Samantha Dion Baker
This is a book about watercoloring, but it’s so much more. The subtitle is “How to Sketch and Paint Your Remarkable Life” and it allows us to document our everyday lives. It’s such a simple concept, but so profound. We spend so much time running around and we miss details of mundane things that can bring us joy. The way our coffee cup looks, the way a drink tastes, the way the sun sets over the mountains near our house – these are the everyday moments that shape our lives. Being able to reflect on them gets us out of our box and this promotes that creative kind of rest. If we take this discipline of stopping, recognizing, and just noting, it makes such a difference.
In the book, she outlines what that looks like to be able to draw, paint, and watercolor your life. The focus is not on creating fantastic art, but to create what we see. I believe all of us are artists, and this is a great exercise because it forces us to get out of our preconceived notions of ourselves. Even if creating art is uncomfortable for us, it forces us to recognize that we are doing something for us and not for anyone else.
[20:07] Resource #3: Anxious for Nothing: Finding Calm in a Chaotic World by Max Lucado
I included this book because it is a pretty good examination of the verse we often hear when we’re told to manage anxiety and rest: Philippians 4. In the opening pages of the book, Lucado talks about this worry and ongoing dread that we face and how it steals our ability to rest. Sometimes it’s not that we have a big crisis we’re going through, but rather it’s the anticipation of the crisis that keeps us from being able to rest and relax.
[23:13] Resource #4: 52 Lists for Happiness by Moorea Seal
This is a book that I actually picked up in an airport. It was during a time when we were going through a lot of challenges in our family and I thought it would be helpful for me to focus on happiness each week. Each week Seal provided different lists, such as blockades to happiness, how someone you love would describe you, or things in your life you can actually control. It’s a really pretty book with lots of drawings, and this simple practice can help us to welcome in what is already making us happy.
[24:56] Resource #5: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Resources #5 and #6 are novels that I find very restful. The Nightingale is a historical fiction story, and it is about to become a major motion picture in Fall 2022. It is a chance to escape into a different time and place and to recognize the ways humans are the same throughout cultures. This story takes place during World War II, which I think is a fascinating time in the history of the world. In the book, two sisters were in France during the war. One was very outwardly active in fighting against the war effort, and the other one was at home. Each one had their own private battles and wars they had to fight, as they struggled to keep their families and themselves together. We can learn so much from looking at other people and how they handle certain situations. It’s a wonderful way to take a break from our lives and get some new big-picture perspectives, which can help us discover rest.
[27:23] Resource #6: Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
This is a non-fiction book, and I just finished my seventh reading of it a few weeks ago. I read it every couple of years, because it is such a powerful story about the concept of God’s love for His people. I enjoy reading about deeper, biblical topics, and how we can apply them in new ways. It allows an opportunity to step back and look at life from a different perspective. We have heard about God’s love forever, but many of us seem to have difficulty absorbing it.
This book is a retelling of the story of Hosea. In this story, a man is told to marry a prostitute. She keeps running away and he keeps coming back for her. That is God’s love for us: He doesn’t go away, no matter how much we run. It forces us to think about why we don’t believe that we are loved by God. Why can’t we accept it? How do we deal with the fact that we haven’t always done things right? What do we do about the fact that it feels awkward to surrender to God and His love?
Every time I read this book, I get a new perspective on God’s love and my relationship with Jesus. It’s a chance to refresh the spiritual rest side of myself and to look at some of these truths that I read about in my Bible studies. This book is also about to become a new major motion picture at the end of January 2022.
[29:43] Resource #7: Take Back Your Time by Christy Wright
We featured this book a few episodes back in the interview with my friend, Christy Wright. It fits into our discussion on soul rest because soul rest has to be intentional. We have to be doing the things that matter in order to create a restful, peaceful heart. We can’t just accidentally fall into an intentional life, rest, meaning, or purpose. We have to know what we’re looking for and set these rhythms up intentionally. It involves wrestling with what really needs to happen in life. The kids really do need to get to school. The family really does have to have clean laundry and they have to be fed.
Christy’s book talks about how to identify first what matters to us, what can bring us rest and fulfillment, and then how to set up our schedule to reflect that. She is very matter-of-fact and practical, and I love how she uses that perspective to help us get real about setting up a rest-filled life that is also purposeful and intentional.
[31:02] Resource #8: Try Softer by Aundi Kolber
I am still working my way through this book, but I love what I’ve read so far. Kolber is a therapist and she is also someone who seems to be in line with all that we have talked about here: wanting to work hard and to fix things in her life. She talks about how we are conditioned in our culture to work hard. She suggests, however, trying it from a different perspective. She isn’t saying that we aren’t supposed to make things happen or do hard things, but she suggests that we come at it from a perspective of compassion and understanding, and space to change.
Rest comes into this because she talks a lot about having to sit in that space of the messiness of our lives. Rest allows us to take our foot off the gas to be able to make things happen while also having time to sit back, listen to God, surrender, and let Him show us what rest and change really could look like in our life.
[32:37] Resource #9: Self-Compassion by Kristin Neff
Dr. Neff studies compassion from a scientific standpoint. She is not a believer, or at least she doesn’t reveal that in the book. She does not present this information from a Christian perspective, but we can add this information to this conversation as Christians. Self-compassion can literally change us, especially if we are driven, perfectionist kind of personalities. She discusses all kinds of studies on how self-compassion can bring healing to that “rush, rush, rush” part of ourselves. Dr. Neff helps us to understand how creating this new mindset toward compassion can help us create a different life and welcome in true healing.
[34:17] Resource #10: The Christian Mindset Makeover™
The last resource is not a book. It is the Christian Mindset Makeover™. This is a powerful resource that I’ve shared with you in the past, but I wanted to bring it up now that the course is open for enrollment.
The Christian Mindset Makeover™ is a nine-week course that equips Christian women with the practical tools they need to find relief from worry, overthinking, and perfectionism. I included it on this list of soul rest resources because in order to take care of ourselves and find rest, we have to learn how to get out of the mindsets that have kept us stuck. Many of us, for example, stay stuck in perfectionism. We use that to cope with the pain inside. We want to keep doing what makes us feel good, which means to keep performing. Once we can address these things that steal our rest and our peace, then we can find the ability to make rest that much easier. It won’t feel awkward, but rather it will feel like a natural response to our bodies.
This course gives you the tools, based on brain science and on the Bible, that allow us to get to the root of why we struggle with these things and why we act the way we do. Then it gives us a specific plan to respond differently. The main tool we use in the course is brain priming, which is literally pruning away those negative thought patterns and replacing them with God-honoring truth. It’s more than affirmations, memorizing Bible verses, or positive thinking. It’s learning why we are stuck in these subconscious patterns and figuring out the causes so we can address it from a neurological standpoint that is infused with biblical wisdom.
I loved going through this course and teaching it live, and now we have this amazing ability to offer you the Christian Mindset Makeover™ on demand. You can watch it whenever you want! There is also a private Facebook group, allowing for dialogue between women going through the same process. Additionally, there are live Zoom calls twice a month for questions. Having someone else’s eyes, who knows what to look for, can make such a dramatic difference in our ability to move forward.
One-on-one coaching can be expensive, and limited. I can only help so many people at a certain time. We’ve been able to distill my process into a course to give you a template to follow for the process of brain priming (plus get access to lots of other great mindset tools based in neuroscience and biblical wisdom!). Since it’s on demand, you can go through at your own pace while accessing the 12 weeks of access to live calls. We need that incentive to keep going.
I love this resource because it transforms women’s lives, and I would love for you to be a part of it.
You can click here to join us in the Christian Mindset Makeover™ today.
OTHER PODCAST EPISODES ON REST:
- Ep 9: Creating an Emotionally Restful Lifestyle that Works for You
- Ep 73: How to Cultivate Daily Soul Rest by Growing Closer to God
- Ep 78: Finding Rest + Fun When You’re a Type A High Achiever with Carlie Kercheval
- Ep 89: Permission to Rest, Hibernate + Find Resilience
- Ep 89a: My Spiritual Breakthrough: In Repentance and Rest Is Your Strength
- Ep 121: Finding Sacred Rest + Sabbath When You’re Stuck in Overfunction with Deanna Mason
Please Subscribe to the Podcast + Leave a Podcast Review
- First, please subscribe to the Vibrant Christian Living Podcast in your favorite podcast player (subscribe here on Apple Podcasts or follow on Spotify),
- leave a review (5 stars if you loved it) and comment HERE.
FREE WORKSHOP: Learn How to Transform Your Thoughts to Transform Your Life
Do you find it hard to let go of worry? Struggle with feeling you’re never enough?
Or maybe you’re frustrated because you can’t make the changes you want in your life (lose the weight, start new habits or grow in a certain area)?
Both brain science AND scripture show that every action we take starts first with a thought. If we change our thoughts, we can change our results.
That’s why I want to give you the inside scoop on the most effective ways to change our thoughts at this FREE WORKSHOP!
Sign up now at VibrantChristianLiving.com/mind
At this FREE WORKSHOP you’ll learn:
- Why it makes sense you’re stuck in toxic thought patterns
- The truth behind 3 popular myths on how to overcome negative thoughts
- A simple 3-step strategy to manage negative thoughts in-the-moment (this powerful tool alone is worth coming!)
Plus you’ll get an inside look at the Christian Mindset Makeover™–the only course that equips Christian women with powerful brain-science + biblically based tools to break free from negative thoughts—in only 9 weeks!
Go now to VibrantChristianLiving.com/mind right now to sign up for this amazing FREE WORKSHOP to learn how to transform your thoughts to transform your life.