It had been nearly 5 years since we had been able to do this. For once, I was not pregnant or breastfeeding and could fly away from my little ducklings for a few days with my husband.
Every time I was stressed out, burned out, and overly exhausted I would say, I can’t wait to be on vacation. The idea of rest motivated me through all the delightful happenings of pregnancy and post-baby.
What I didn’t like, was my husbands response to my yearnings: Vacation will not fix your problems. …I thought for sure it would. I kicked every inkling of knowing he was right straight out the back door of my mind.
“I’m done”, is typically a statement that is followed by: “I need to get out!” I am going to share what God has done in my heart since that vacation; When I get to the point where I feel like there is a circus of wild monkeys in my brain and I need to get out…I actually need to get in.
Some of us work until we are completely stressed out of our minds. To the point where stress is a normal part of our life and we don’t know how we’d operate without it. A constant high of cortisol (stress-hormone) for an extended period of time, can actually result in a constant level of it and medication might be deemed necessary.
I had in my mind, that 3 days and 3 nights spent kid-free, at a small beach town in Rhode Island, was going to be my cure. Cure of all the pain and stress from raising little ones and working outside the home. It was indeed relaxing, peaceful, and added some salve to our relationship, I kept asking myself, how can I feel like I’m on vacation when I’m back to reality?
The reason why we all love vacation is because there is little to no stress. We come down from our busy lives and remember to play, be flexible and read a book that is not for the sake of learning or downloading more information to our overloaded minds.
Coming back home from our sweet time away, I pulled for those vacation-vibes to stretch into our life back home. I was holding onto with all the strength I could, and then God showed me over the span of a couple months that that was exactly my problem. I was trying to use my own strength and will power to earn and to live in rest.
For years I thought that I needed a vacation. The thought that “getting out” could resolve my uncontrollable situation at home blinded me from what I really needed. My heart was being clouded out by stress. It was being pulled by a desire to be free, which I thought looked like vacation. When, what I really needed for that freedom, was Jesus.
How can I feel like I’m on vacation when I’m back to reality?
Why do I want to be on vacation all the time? It’s because I don’t want to feel stress. The feeling of needing to “get out”, runs us into a wall that we end up coming back and running into again. When we feel like we need to get out, we need to use that as a reminder to “get in”. Get into the heart of the matter, get into the conflict of our soul with the redeemer of our soul.
“And they remembered that God was their rock, And the Most High God their Redeemer.” Psalm 78:35
It wasn’t easy, beginning the practice of stillness. But, if you pull anything away from this blog, I hope that it is to learn to be still. That is where true strength and resilience to emotional-stress is found. Finding resolve, losing weight, eating clean, restoring relationships, finding joy and peace…doesn’t start after vacation. It begins by a renewing of our mind, remembering God’s promises, release of control, and a faithful leap of trust in God.
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Our minds mold to what ever patterns we feed them. If the pattern is business and constantly going, or doing things, our minds will hold to that pattern and it will take serious discipline to find strength, joy and peace. Just like I strived for a vacation, so to fix my wounds and make me happier, I now strive for stillness every single day. This is a testimony of freedom, peace, joy and strength. I once was lost in the chaos of business. Now I’m completely found in my daily meeting with Jesus. The verse below is the key that God gives us to unlocking peace and strength to muster every day,
“In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength…” Isaiah 40:29-31
What keeps me going is a daily vacation with the Lord y’all. It looks like finding time in your day to sit, think about what you are thinking about and invite Him in to be with you and your thoughts.
The rest of that verse above is powerful and hits me like a rock,
“…but you would have none of it.”
Say we have our minds set on having quiet time. The next thing you know, we are cleaning the kitchen, driving around doing errands, and catching up with old friends over Snap Chat. I am totally guilty of being a fiddler. It’s like my mind decides that there are more important things to take care of first. Our minds are renewed when stillness becomes a priority.
In the middle of the months God was teaching me to prioritize stillness, my friend lovingly dropped a blessing-bomb. She told me that while she was refurbishing some old porch furniture, God spoke to her heart ever-so-clearly saying, Give these to Bri. Create a space for her to call sacred. Create a space for her to sit with me. My dear friend told me this and in days to follow, she brushed our old porch with a coat of fresh paint. She set-up two cushioned-chairs and planted blooming flowers all around. She pulled up weeds in-between the cracks of brick leading up to our porch. And with my eyes, clear-as-day I saw God confirming that daily stillness is an essential piece to living a fruitful, resilient, and stress-free life.
Friends, this is how I know God is doing a deep work not only in me, but in you too. God moved my dear friend to create a sacred space, in the middle of this pursuit of stillness. I can confidently share with you that you have a choice just like I did. You can work all your busy days to rest, or you can work out of that rest. The fruit comes when we prioritize stillness and mediating with God. From that obedience, we produce love, joy, patience, peace, self-control, kindness, goodness and gentleness.
Stillness is hard, it’s uncomfortable and can be uneasy, especially when it comes to letting thoughts settle in that you’d rather much ignore.
Stillness is important because it’s when our trust muscles get the pump they need to beat out worry, shame, guilt, stress, fear, depression and all of the things that are a result of weak trust muscles.
While you sit, you’ll be tempted to busy your hands, to read scripture, to hold onto thoughts that crowd your mind. Acknowledge thoughts that come in your mind, but then also acknowledge that God is seeing those thoughts and is with you as you let them float by. I encourage you to sit still even when you feel like you’ve been sitting long enough and you have to get chores done, sit there 5 minutes longer and focus on being with God right there and then. Breathe in, God here I am, Breathe out, to be with you. Breathe in, God here I am, Breathe out, to start anew.
God is doing a great work. I know He’s moving me and you to do something deeper with ourselves. To go beyond ourselves and find strength in our chaotic, stressful, and mind-cluttered days. God’s deep work is manifested through us when our hearts have learned to simply be unswervingly with him in the practice of daily stillness. In our meditations with the Lord we become wonder-women; able to tackle whatever is in our day because we know the He has gone before us and is with us.
“You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.” Psalm 139:1-5