How do you find rest for your soul?

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  Matthew 11:28
I just finished my junior year of college yesterday and now I am with some of the family at a lake house. As I was kayaking with my 11-yr old son, it was absolutely quiet on the lake. I could see pretty far down in the water. Various birds were circling around overhead, some would come down to the water and swim for a bit. 

As I closed my eyes and leaned back on the seat to rest a bit, I realized how long it’s been since I’ve deliberately taken a deep breath and heard the sounds around me. The idea that I have a few days where nothing is pressing is amazing. 

This is what I’ve been missing. Chillax time. Quietness. Breathing deeply. Listening to birds and the wind through the leaves. Walking barefoot on the sandy beach. Feeling the cool water on my feet. Watching the waves on the lake. This restores my soul. 

I look forward to reading a book and getting in some knitting and napping. Unwinding is good. 

What do you do for self-care? Hiw do you manage to take care of yourself when you are worn thin, emotionally and spiritually?

How do you find God during these times?

15 comments on “How do you find rest for your soul?

  1. I am glad you are finding a place of rest and restoration. This is an excellent topic, in part, because I think we are taught to disregard our own needs as somehow related to selfishness and “the flesh” – It’s all about “giving” and tithing of our time, income, and talents (and giving over and above the tithe, giving sacrificially, and being a cheerful giver).

    Even Jesus took himself off, apart from the crowds, sometimes.

    I remember hearing a speaker at a women’s conference talking about pouring herself out, and pouring herself out, and if she didn’t take time to be refilled, she could pour herself out to the point where she could come up empty, and be no good to anyone, including herself.

    Do you have to fight down little nagging voices of guilt when you do nice things for yourself, pamper yourself, or are simply kind to yourself, instead of “recreating” in the “church”-approved manner (prayer, organized retreats, mandated scripture reading, etc.)?

    One of my problems is that after negating myself for so long, I don’t even know what I like. (For years, I knew what I “ought” to like, as a Titus2 woman, and felt guilty for secretly not enjoying those things.)

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  2. I just finished an intense ESL program with foreign students. I have a blessed week off before school starts. I read, take myself out to lunch, watch some Masterpiece Theater, catch up on some fun projects around the house, and sit in my recliner and talk to the Father.

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  3. I like yoga for the deep breathing, calming aspect. I like that your picture is of water, because water has a similar affect, particularly ocean. Sadly, I’m land locked!

    Something refugee said on the other thread made me remember I used to get that calming feeling from playing guitar, but I fell out of the habit after a bad breakup and haven’t really picked it up consistently for a while…

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  4. Lea,
    We have a membership at a gym that offers yoga classes. I think I will check them out, after reading your recommendation. Thanks.

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  5. Funny, my wife and I were just talking about that. Her idea of vacation is experiencing lots of stuff – visiting people and sightseeing. My idea of vacation is pretty much vegging and not feeling guilty doing it. The problem being that “vacation” for me is a limited resource, so the few days I have off often get packed with trips and family activities without much time to veg. In fact, it’s more vacation for me to have my family go off on a trip while I stay home and work than it is to not work and do the visiting and sightseeing.

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  6. Its not about finding god for me, but singing with my local chorus is an important stress reliever. Losing myself in a great piece of music and joining with other voices helps me stay sane. Knitting is good on occasion. Rereading a book I love. And getting a pedicure! If it’s not busy at the salon, I can get away with spending an hour in their wonderful massage chair.

    And it’s odd, but when I find things spiraling out of control, I clean. I really hate cleaning, usually it’s not a chore I would normally choose to do. But when life feels like it’s just too much, I turn to something I know I can take charge of and improve. I can’t say I enjoy it, but it helps.

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  7. refugee, sure! I am aware that some people dislike yoga or think its not properly Christian. I tend to think this is one of those conscience things, and mine is ok with it. You could also just take some time out to do quiet deep breathing. (but I find the stretches in yoga beneficial for other reasons)

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  8. My mom used to clean house, particularly closets and cupboards, when she was stressed. She would sometime get my sister and me involved, and it really did help to diffuse the tension. We would start talking about whatever-sometimes a family issue, sometimes an important transition point, or a job issue-and we would finish with an orderly home and often a resolution to the issue. I have no idea why it worked, except that it brought us all together and we would start to chat to fill the silence. I’m currently putting away my summer school stuff, which means I need to clean the cupboard/closet it came from, and it helps me unwind as well.

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  9. I try to jog regularly, in the local park. Often (but sadly not often enough) it calms me and gives me time to enjoy fresh air. Last week it was on the beach while on vacation, and that is always good, especially early in the morning before the fog burns off. Or late at night after everybody is already in bed. I sit alone in the dark. It is often calming. But “finding God,” that’s the difficult one.

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  10. Good for you Julie Anne! I’m so thankful that you had the time to go kayaking (great sport by the way) and to simply enjoy yourself. And even more importantly, not being led to feel guilty for treating yourself to some wholesome relaxation and true enjoyment of this life. After working so hard in every area of life, it’s important to remind yourself that it is a true blessing to have that peace, love, and contentment deep down within your soul that comes from spending time away from the busy-ness of this life.

    My daughter and I recently had a conversation concerning loving your neighbor. Matthew 19:19 ” ‘ Honor your father and your mother,’ and ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” (Jesus speaking) And also these famous Scriptures found in Mark 12:30-31 “And you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.’ ” {Jesus speaking again here.)

    My point being, neither of us admitted to ever hearing a sermon about the latter portion of Scriptures concerning “loving yourself.” And I asked my daughter, “How can we love others if we don’t or can’t love ourselves? And if we don’t love ourselves in the process, how can we exhibit the true fruits of God, the Holy Spirit, in ministering to others.” Perhaps more people need to spend time away, learning to love themselves again (not in wicked and evil narcissistic ways) in enjoying the unique individual our LORD created them to be.

    There is such freedom in your picture and in your experience Julie Anne! I’m with you, a trip to the lake, or in my case, it’s one big slough hole, where I love hiking the trails, singing hymns as I go, stopping to listen to the wind, the geese, ducks, and seeing a few great blue herons in the mix, watching the bees, the butterflies, and just simply pondering the goodness of our LORD in the private chambers of my heart. It is a peaceful minder of how much I am loved by our KING, and how much I can love Him back, AND how much I can love myself as well, and feel thankful for this short life that He has freely given unto me.

    What a super great post! Hope you enjoy more of these experiences, Julie Anne. And it’s wonderful to read of the experiences from others in how you all enjoy or treat yourselves. Quite a mix here!

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  11. I really like this post and the comments. I realize more and more how important self-care is in recovery from trauma.

    I could list things that I enjoy doing that inspire me. I’ve recently discovered that the most important thing for me is to stay away from (or severely limit) social media. The tension, the conflict, the strong emotions start to get to me after a while. I need to reconnect with what’s happening in my real life as opposed to the virtual world. This is especially true if there are very intense real life situations. I can only manage just so much anxiety at one time.

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  12. When the weather is nice, which isn’t very often here, I like floating in my pool. I also enjoy loom knitting and going to the gym. I recently started running. Exercise has been scientifically proven to raise your serotonin levels which does wonders for my anxiety and depression.

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