We spent our honeymoon holed up in a cozy inn on the edge of the sea. Every day we walked the winding road that led higher into the hills, rambling past the stone house we dreamed of owning someday, along the stream framed by lush ferns, to a bend in the road where we could overlook the whole world. And there we stood, breathing in the greatness.
Then we’d ramble back, filled full from that sight of something bigger than ourselves. As we walked, we talked and listened and discovered and dreamed— about the future, about what might be, about what we might do and where we might go.
In that suspended part of our lives we didn’t stress or strive or write lists or assign tasks. We just walked… and hoped.
And as we tarried in that two week time between the rush of the wedding and the press of what our lives would soon be, we puzzled over a sign tucked into the flowers on the fence:
The owners of the inn wouldn’t tell us what it meant, just laughed when we asked and told us we’d figure it out. They seemed so sure.
And so we’d cock our heads and sound it out and shrug our shoulders in that way of two lovers on their way to more loving. Probably Latin… or Gaelic… or just a pretty piece of nonsense put together to add a bit of quaint.
Until the day we saw, with opened eyes, that by adding spaces and maybe a comma or two, the mystery was made clear:
Rest a bit, for tis a rare place to rest at.
That refuge overlooking crashing waves and sparkling ocean was indeed a rare place to rest at. A place to love and discover and receive… and now a place to remember— how to rest.
Because real rest is rare.
And being a woman at rest is rarer still.
And I’m asking myself… and asking my Father, how to be this woman at rest. And here is what I’m hearing…
That rest— soul deep rest— is found only in God.
Not in a pretty place, not in an expensive vacation, not even in having all my hopes and dreams realized… but just in Him. Because He is the only safe place. He is the always-faithful One. Only in Him am I really, truly happy and at rest.
But how do I find that place? How do I reach that spot where I can see the whole world at my feet and open my arms to full, unhindered joy?
Here, my dear girls, is the beginning of a list. And I’m hoping you’ll add to it so that we can learn and grow to be women marked by restfulness. But for now—
Four Ways Into Rest
1. Rest yourself in God
The most rest-filled moment in any day is that set aside time when it’s just me and God. My Bible is open, I’ve a notebook just in case, maybe a book filled with wisdom and insight… and I’m alone with Him.
This is where worry turns to waiting. This is where all that troubles me is laid at His feet. This is where I am at rest.
2. Set aside a place to rest
While I was writing these words, my sistas were texting messages to each other early in the morning. I think it was Jules who sent the first picture. It was her spot in the window where she waits to hear God, with her Bible wide open and her heart surrendered. Then each of us started texting pictures of the place we find that rest from all that harries us.
Because place is important. Whether it’s a favorite chair or a corner by the window, fill your place with beauty. Make it a place where your soul responds to God.
3. Find people who bring you back to rest
In an old book, written to a woman whose life was filled with the unrest that comes from living among people who were conflict driven and unkind, I read these words:
“Do not hesitate to solace yourself with the society of some congenial, pious friends.”
My “congenial, pious” friends bring me back again and again to that place of soul rest. They remind me of what I know and need to hear over and over. And they do it in a way that is congenial. Those are friendships worth cultivating.
4. Ramble in a restful place
Getting outside into the place God fills with His created beauty is the surest way to rest that I know. Breathing deeply, opening my eyes to beauty, feeling the rain on my face or the sun on my back, while I ramble in the woods by my house… I hear Him there. To go a day or a week or any length of time without getting outside to purposely pursue His created world makes my soul stressed and leaves my thinking kinked into uselessness.
We need the garden He placed us in.
In a few weeks Phil and I will be returning to that little inn on the edge of the sea where we started our story. We’ll rest there, and remember. We’ll amble along the road above and pass the stone cottage, the hidden stream, the oaks hung with moss, and we’ll come to that place where all the world lies under our feet.
We’ll breath deep and dream…
From a heart still learning to rest a bit,
P.S. Okay, can you add to my list? How do you find that place in your soul where rest fills you full of the Father? We learn from each other, “congenial friends”…
(image by Bethany Small)