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Sleepin' the Stress Away?

Do you like feeling tired? I’m asking because I am. Right now. Tired. And I despise it. 

You see, I know logically that feeling tired is part of life, part of each day, in fact. Chase a toddler around all day? You’re going to want a nap as soon as he does. Paint for hours on end? Yeah, that’s a lot of brain power being used up. 

Or write. Like I am doing now. While I am tired. (This might not be the best idea.)

Maybe you’re tired while you’re reading this. The Handiworks by Maddie blog that has been silent for a lonnggg time (what can I say, I’ve been tired 😉). 

But in all seriousness, it feels like we’re always running on empty, doesn’t it? And if not empty, at least not totally full. 

In the past few years, there have been studies on the ideal work day. 

Did you know that the average person can only be productive for a maximum of 6 hours? Most of the time, it’s even less than that; we’ve got 2-3 hours of prime mental focus time. 

So 2-6 hours. That’s it. 

No wonder we’re always tired!

In our culture of busy, busy, busy, is there ever time to rest? 

Between work and errands and family and friends and food and, oh, this little thing called sleep… where are we supposed to fit in rest

A couple days ago, I decided to increase my sleep goal from 8 hours to 9. Nine hours of rest; and I’m still tired. 

On top of that, the only way I can fall asleep is to take melatonin… because my brain has no off switch. 

It's like I am conditioned to not rest.

When I’m idle, I overthink, which is not a good thing. Because overthinking leads to reflection and doubt and worry and angst and sometimes a full-on panic. And to make matter worse, the more tired I am, the more anxious I feel.

But alas, I will stay up for hours - reviewing the details of the day, the cares of tomorrow simultaneously racing through my head - instead of falling asleep. 

Are you like that too?

As I've been contemplating this, I've realized that rest is more than just getting enough sleep (which, let’s be honest, most of us don’t). 

Maybe rest is much more of a mindset, and therefore, exhaustion is much more spiritual than we realize. 

Now, there are a lot of verses about rest in the Bible. 

I can mention Genesis 2, where God rests on the seventh day of creation, demonstrating the importance of sabbath rest for us. 

Or, I could dive into  the lovely, “be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10).

“Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest” is a good one too (Matt 11:28-30)

But the thing is, if you have any prior knowledge of the Bible, you’ve probably heard those before. And they are amazing passages, all of which I recite often. 

However, here are two verses about rest that are a bit obscure:

"The LORD replied, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'” (Exodus 33:14).

"You [the Lord] will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you" (Isaiah 26:3).

Do you see where I’m going with this?

Rest is not just a physical sleep, or a mental break spent scrolling on Instagram. It’s not even about the number of hours worked or the amount of times you snooze your alarm. 

It’s about peace. And that is why rest is so elusive to us. 

Sure, I may feel tired from babysitting or painting or if I didn’t get enough sleep. But that feeling is temporary. You know how I know that?

Because as I’ve been writing this, I’ve become less tired. 

I’m exerting my precious mental energy, but I feel refreshed. Why? Because I’m writing His Truth and sharing His Words. 

He, my friends, is where peace comes from. 

The peace of God surpasses all understanding, and that is how I am feeling kinda sleepy but spiritually enlivened. 

Friends, His presence, His peace, comes when we surrender to Him.

When we trust Jesus with the cares of today, tomorrow, and every day after, we don’t have to be thinking, thinking, thinking all the time. 

It's like how a baby melts in your arms when you rock them to sleep; they are totally and completely trusting in you...

and therefore, are capable of fully resting in your secure embrace.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had the same child-like trust in our Father?

Matthew 6:25-34 goes into more depth than I will, but this is the bottom line: 

Jesus is our peace, rest, comfort, and hope. May we cast our cares on Him... because He undoubtedly, unconditionally, overwhelmingly cares for us. 

Give your tiredness to God. Receive His peace.


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