Finding Rest and Why It's About the Heart | amandabixler.com

FINDING REST: IT’S ABOUT THE HEART

Do you ever feel stuck, unmotivated and overwhelmed? Tempted to give in to the pressures around you and say yes to just one more thing, even though you really don’t want to do it? Or what about those “shoulds”? Like, well I “should”sign up and volunteer for (yet another) charity and I “should” super duper deep clean my home every other day and I “should” work later in the evening so my boss doesn’t think I’m a flake?

I talk a lot about Sabbath around here. I’m pretty passionate about not being too busy and saying no to more things than you say yes to. I also love a good productivity tip, creative ways to get more done with intentionality, thus freeing up evenings and weekends for rest and fun. What if our lives were simply full, but not busy?

But I don’t believe that an organized schedule or completed to do list will solve all of our stress issues (and there are a lot of health problems that go along with stress), because that just simply changes our external circumstances.

No, I believe it’s about the heart.

Do you find a strange comfort in being too busy so that you don’t have to deal with the depression or deep discontentment going on? Does being known as the “most capable” or “most committed” person in a group cause you to boast with pride? What happens if someone more capable or committed comes along? What does that do to your attitude?

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts – murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. These are what defile a person.”

– Matthew 15:17 – 20, NIV translation

Scripture constantly points to our heart as the main motivator to our actions. And while the concept of rest isn’t usually included in the same conversation as murder or theft, what do our actions say? Are we quick to put down someone else’s issues (“murder” their doubts/insecurities/stress) so that we feel more important? Do we look for ways to “steal” from others’ joy or peace by bringing our own tornado of to do lists in, just to pump ourselves up?

It’s a tricky thing to navigate, to say the least. But when God first issued the commandment of Sabbath – to honor the Sabbath day and make it holy – it was a way for all other nations to recognize the Israelites as God’s people.

“Say to the Israelites, ‘You must observe the Sabbaths. This will be a sign between me and you for the generations to com, so you may know that I am the Lord, who makes you holy.”

– Exodus 31:13, NIV translation

The Sabbath rest was given to the Israelites as a way of setting them a part. God is holy. He is perfectly whole. And He calls the Sabbath a holy day, a day to rest and to remember all that God has done. And He lovingly invites us, His children, into that rest so that we might be reminded that He is the one who provides daily bread, provides the opportunities, sustains the world, and counts the hairs on our head.

He is closer to us than we are to ourselves.

And so the Sabbath isn’t about a bunch of rules and restrictions. It isn’t about being lazy every day because, sarcastically, ‘God commands us to rest’. It isn’t about not dreaming or doing or working hard to chase after the things God has placed before you. But it’s about amidst all of the craziness, being reminded of Whose you are, not what you do. It’s standing at peace in the middle of the storm, not buying into the world’s lie that your identity is tied to how busy you are, your self-worth connected to how much you accomplish in a day.

“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their word, just as God did from his. Let us, therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.”

– Hebrews 4: 9 – 11, NIV translation

// Where do you see this in your own life or in the lives of those around you? What’s one small action you can take this week to begin focusing on who God says you are as opposed to how culture might what to define you?

Finding Rest and Why It's About the Heart | amandabixler.com

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14 thoughts on “FINDING REST: IT’S ABOUT THE HEART

  1. I do appreciate this post. I struggle to find a consistent day to be my “Sabbath” because Sundays are so busy! Thanks for the reminder on why rest is important. I’m going to go scroll your posts!

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    • Thanks Rachel! I totally get you on the Sunday thing – maybe try a different day of the week or even a weeknight? For me, it’s about shutting down the to do list, social media, and technology and finding fun and life-giving ways to rest, doing things I enjoy and making time to be thankful for what God has done!

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  2. Man, every sentence of this resonates with me!! I am going to come back when I have a bit of time to explore all the links too! Definitely something I need to work on (and am trying to). One thing I struggle with is that we think of “sabbath” as Sunday and Sunday is anything but restful for me. Getting 4 kids to church, home, fed, and back to church then getting everyone fed, bathed and in bed and helping hubby have time to get ready for the work week is not restful. Period. And there isn’t anything I can do about that. So I’ve considered a Saturday sabbath observance but then it feels almost impossible to “give up” two weekend days when there always seems to be so much I need to catch up on over the weekend. Anyway those are just struggles for me but I agree that we need to learn to not be too busy, not consider “busyness” a virtue and to set aside time to rest.

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    • Thanks for the comment and feedback! I totally get you – for 7 years my husband and I were on staff at our church where Sundays were definitely work days. I’m not sure what your weekdays look like, if your kiddos are out at school or something, but maybe consider just trying to snag 2 – 3 hours one morning (maybe offer to trade babysitting responsibilities with another mom friend), grab a cup of coffee or tea, and take a deep breathe. I think sometimes we can approach this concept with the assumption that if we can’t do a full 24+ hours, then there’s nothing we can do. But maybe there are a couple hours that you can block out the same day every week or an evening after the kids are in bed where you can take a bath, read a fun book, watch a movie, etc. Hope this helps!

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  3. Amanda, good read. Lately, I have felt convicted to not only spend time with Him on the Sabbath and be renewed, but to create an atmosphere of that for my family. I don’t think we focus on this commandment enough; the benefits are beyond rewarding!

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  4. The Sabbath is truly a gift God gave us, and so sad our culture has rolled over this sacred rest day..but as followers of Christ we carve out this time no matter what! Love your reminders of the importance of this holy day..and for not being swayed by the ways of the world. Visiting from Christian Women Bloggers Unite!

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    • Thank you thank you! It really is a great gift that we often avoid or feel unworthy of receiving. But that’s the beautiful thing about grace, it’s freely given and nothing we do can make us deserve it more or less.

      Thanks for reading!

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  5. Incredibly well explained. I always try to stay on top of things and a couple years ago I took a stress test and learned that stress is causing me to gain and maintain unwanted weight. I’ve slowed down now and take it a day at a time. I feel so much better!

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    • Good for you!! I’ve had some medical side affects of stress as well (high blood pressure, poor sleep, hair loss) and it’s really caused me to take my health and stress management seriously – it seems surprising that our emotional well-being has physical implications on us, but it’s so true!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Amen!! Such beautiful thoughts and actions right here. I recently shared a few words on rest and the state of the heart at my church. Definitely a topic on point for me in my current season. 🙂

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