One day I was driving to take my husband lunch. I discovered the secret to how to find rest, when life is stressful. The car is sometimes a torture chamber. Don’t get me wrong. I like driving, but pile in five kids, nine and under. Not fun, people. Not fun. It’s sometimes enough to drive me insane. The fighting, pinching, pulling, crying, and “MOOOOOOMMY” was about to cause a wreck on the interstate the other day.
This question came to my heart and I almost choked out a laugh:
How can I rest in God right now?
Really?! Holy Spirit? Are you kidding me right now? Rest? in God? In the middle of the chaos, crying, and crazy? Finding a restful heart seemed silly. Then it hit me: resting in God is reflected in my responses.
God wasn’t asking me to find a place of “zen” or some how zone out. He was asking me to respond in a way that would show grace, rest, and peace. So I took a deep breath and didn’t yell. I turned on some music, told the instigator he wasn’t allowed to talk for a little bit, and bit my tongue.
I didn’t have to discipline in the car. I didn’t have to reprimand. I didn’t have to teach a lesson, make things right, or solve their problems in that crazy moment. I reflected a restful heart with my response. I simply sat quietly and they watched me. They were seeing my restful response and stopped.
I’ve noticed a trend in my children lately. They seem easily stressed, easily offended and quick to judge. I wondered what was going on in their little hearts, until I realized: what is going on in my heart?
Do I reflect an attitude of rest with my responses to them? If not, how can I better serve those around me with a spirit of rest? The Lord is still teaching me, guiding me, and leading me to being a rest-filled woman, but here is what I’ve learned so far:
Five Ways to Respond in Rest
- Spend time with God. I cannot stress enough how much less stress I have when I spend my morning time with God. Or anytime, really. If I pray, read Scripture and just reflect, I fill my heart with truth to fight the battles coming.
- Take deep breaths. No, its not silly to just breathe in and out in a moment of stress. I do it a lot in the car. If I catch myself getting riled up, their tiny voices raising to out-shout each other, I begin to breathe in and out. I focus myself on the breathing.
- Memorize a verse to use in the moment of chaos. Today, while driving around, I repeated one of my favorite verses: My God is a very present help in trouble. Psalm 46:1. Most of the “trouble” I face on a daily, ordinary basis is my temper. So it made sense this verse came to me in a crazy moment. I just kept repeating the verse and felt my heart calm.
- Interrupt busy. If telling my oldest to keep quiet didn’t work, I might have had to pull the car over. Sometimes I’m in the middle of making dinner and I need to turn the stove off and engage. I get stressed when I try to deal with craziness while I’m busy. I might have to step aside and put away my busy to be with my children.
- Music. Putting my earphone in and playing soothing music sometimes helps to calm my heart. The crazy isn’t always fighting, but it is loud. The volume of the house gets to my heart and makes me a little restless sometimes. Listening to something quiet helps me to take a break