It was mid-June. The proceeding eight months had been difficult, to say the least. It was time to face the fact: I was exhausted. It wasn't just because we’d been traveling or working a lot (that actually energizes me). It was the combination of eight months of a variety of physical issues in our family and the life-changing circumstances these issues produced all in the mix of an especially taxing Mantour during a pandemic season. There just wasn’t time to deal with everything. We just kept pushing and pushing until I hit a wall.
At first, I denied I needed rest. Then Jamie and I started fighting. We NEVER fight. Sure we may squabble, but it always ends with laughter—unless we’re really tired.
Of course, I wasn’t just annoyed with Jamie. I was ticked at everyone. Every little thing set me off in anger or tears.
Then I saw a meme on social media that listed 10 Signs of Exhaustion—I had 8 or 9 of them.
Finally, a friend told Jamie, “You guys have to get some rest. It’s 4th of July, and everyone else is off. No one is going to work with you anyway—take some time off."
At first, we didn’t want to hear it. But after a moment, we knew they were right—we needed to apply the Biblical principle of choosing rest to our lives.
It was time for some Sabbath.
Most people in today’s world don’t really understand that word. It’s often associated with a legalistic rule that says you can’t do anything on Sunday. Many see it as something they “have to do” to keep a rule rather than a gift that God gives us because we need it.
Whether it be a day of the week or a period of time, we all need periods where we walk away, get some rest, and regain our perspective. That’s what I did the first two weeks of July. Even though we couldn’t afford to go on vacation in peak season, we walked away from work and gave our bodies the rest they desperately needed.
But we didn’t just take off work.
I also took a break from social media. Without making a big show of it, I kept my phone in my room for most of the day. It gave my mind a break and the rest that it needed.
What else did I do?
I rested. Seriously, I slept a lot.
We talked. There were so many things that both Jamie and I were bottling up and even more issues that needed simple solutions. Only when we were exhausted, we couldn’t see the solutions at all—only problems.
We forced ourselves to have fun. Without spending a lot of money, we did local things that were fun and relaxing.
We got dressed up in 4th of July outfits and went to see fireworks.
We took lunch and parked by a lake.
One day we met some friends for a long-overdue lunch.
Another day we took our favorite toddlers out (and their mom) for ice cream.
We even canned some tomatoes (because sometimes hard work gives your mind and body rest from mental work).
We didn’t do anything big or extravagant—we just chose to rest our bodies and our minds.
From a spiritual angle, I began practicing the spiritual discipline of journaling again. Pouring out the good, the bad, and the ugly to God helped clear the pipelines of too much junk that built up.
Looking back, I can say that choosing rest made a huge difference in my life.
While many of the issues and obstacles are still there, choosing rest helped me find the strength and perspective to deal with them.
Probably the best thing I can say about it is that choosing rest has helped me be the person I want to be. I feel like myself again, and I’m good with that.
So why am I telling you all this?
Because I believe there are probably others out there who need to make the same choice.
Perhaps you, too, are running on empty.
Maybe you’re making excuses like you can afford a vacation, or you’re too busy, or maybe you’re just afraid to stop. (I was—I seriously thought I’d be bored and frustrated.) Maybe you have bought into the lie that the world can’t go on without you.
Whatever your excuse, there comes a time when we all need to choose rest.
It isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a biblical principle designed to refresh and restore your energy and perspective.
Jesus modeled it when He pulled away from the crowds to spend time with his father. He taught about it when he said,
“Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”” Matthew 11:28-30 NLT
Rest. It’s a beautiful word that will produce beautiful results.
Yet, it will only happen if we choose to make it happen.
There's still some time left this summer—maybe you need to choose rest.
Adessa Holden is an ordained minister with the Assemblies
of God specializing in Women's Ministry. Together with her brother, Jamie, they manage 4One Ministries and travel the East Coast speaking, holding conferences, and producing Men's and Women's resources that provide practical Biblical teaching for everyday life.
When asked about herself, she'll tell you "I'm a women's minister, a sister, and a daughter. I love to laugh and spend time with people. My favorite things are chocolate, the ocean, sandals and white capris, anything purple, summertime and riding in the car listening to music. It is my absolute honor and privilege to serve Jesus and women through this ministry.