Something happens when you find yourself lying in bed unable to fall asleep. Sometimes life enters seasons of uncertainty and stress that keep you awake. You feel restless and search your heart for glimmers of what once made you feel alive, young and innocent, refreshed.
Jesus understands and sees that longing in us — to find a way to feel safe, loved, and held again.
As sunlight first warms you in the morning, Jesus draws near to whisper: I am here. I am making a way. For you. With you.
I heard this whisper from God as I lay on my bed, unexpectedly finding myself in a season to heal from anxiety and depression. And it happened during Lent. I remember it well because it was raining so much.
Lent in Latin means “spring,” yet I did not feel new. As the rain poured in sheets against my window pane, I felt weary and tired.
When I realized life was never going to be the same for me again, I stopped wishing to be rescued. I began to pray for courage to rest, to heal, and be loved instead. I started learning how to love myself the way God loves me. I began researching ways to pray, spark joy, and take simple soul care actions to prioritize my well-being.
Starting with Lent, I spent the next forty days reflecting on new ways to pray and practice soul care as I reflected on Jesus’s love for us on His way to the cross. Little did I know Lent would lead me to share my journal of forty discoveries in a book I wrote called Whispers of Rest.
A life refreshed with God’s peace and joy is possible — even if we feel overwhelmed with everyday stress.
God understands. God doesn’t want you to do more for Him. God longs to love you deeper.
Jesus longs to refresh and take care of you. He invites you to simply come and rest so He can whisper words of love and rest to you and fill you with His peace and presence.
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 (NASB)
We often struggle with slowing down because life is so busy. But have you noticed that when you find a pocket of quiet, you can finally breathe. You realize that your heart really misses talking to God. You miss His peace and presence.
Letting God love you takes courage. It takes courage to believe you are really worth loving. It takes courage to make space for you to be you. It takes courage to rest.
But you may ask me: How can I get practical about rest? How can I take better care of myself and draw close to God? Today, in celebration of a new Lent series on my blog starting Wednesday this week, I am so happy to share three simple whispers of rest to draw closer to God’s love:
1. Breathe and rest.
Your silence will not drive Jesus away. Nothing can separate you from His love. Not even your unrest. He’ll never get tired of you. When you don’t have words to pray, rest knowing Jesus is praying for you.
Soul Care Tip: Are you a tea or coffee lover? Sip a cup of tea or coffee and breathe with God today. Prayer is like sharing an intimate moment of quiet with a loved one. No words needed. Research shows that even the act of brewing tea and simply the aroma of coffee is mood lifting! Take a sip of coffee or tea today and breathe. As you do, rest in the thought of Jesus praying for you.
2. Journal your prayer.
Instead of struggling to reach Jesus, invite Jesus to enter your world. Too tired to pray? It’s okay. Writing is good for the soul. When we journal our stories with God, we give Him space to re-write our stories with us. Don’t you get ah-ha moments as you write?
Soul Care Tip: Research in a New York Times article shows the power of writing your personal story leads to behavioral changes and improves happiness. Even ten minutes of writing makes a difference! God uses everything living to speak into our lives, including journaling.
3. Pray a breath prayer.
Breath prayer is a simple way to pray using the natural rhythm of your breathing. It is a contemplative prayer practiced by the early church to experience God’s peace and practice the presence of God.
Breathe in God’s name, and open your heart to Him — Jesus.
Breathe out your request and how you’re feeling. Let God touch you — Help me.
If you’re feeling weary, it’s okay. God loves you. Rest in your loving Savior’s arms, and hear Him whisper, “I am making a way for you.”
See, I am doing something new. I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
Isaiah 43:19 (NIV)
How is God’s inviting you rest and let Him love you deeper?
Three fun things! Want to celebrate Lent in a deeper, loving way with God? Get a copy of Whispers of Rest. Then, sign up for Bonnie’s six-week Special Whispers of Lent Soul Care with a giveaway, podcast, and Lent webinar! Starts Wed March 6th. Don’t miss it! Sign up here & invite a friend!
A life refreshed with God’s peace and joy is possible – even if we feel overwhelmed with everyday stress. - @thebonniegray: Click To Tweet