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  • Writer's pictureJen Stone-Sexton

Flourishing in Your Health, Are You Getting Enough Rest?

A deficiency in rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Much of what we consider rest fails to work because it is not restful. It takes courage to rest in the midst of an outcome-driven society. It takes strength to walk away from good in the pursuit of better.” Read the blog to discover more about how rest is a courageous act of self-care.1

Come to me, all of you who are struggling and burdened, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

God desires for you to rest in a way that refreshes, renews, restores and replenishes you.

All rest is not created equal. Much of what we consider rest fails to work because it is not restful. The most effective rest occurs when we are purposefully reviving the parts of our life we regularly deplete. Any so-called rest that doesn’t meet this goal isn’t rest; it’s just more work adding to the busyness.” – Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith, Sacred Rest 2

Rest has not come easy for me. As a driven, ambitious, “Type A” personality, I am more familiar with an over packed schedule, impending deadlines, striving, hustling, and achieving. Most of my life, I have been more comfortable with doing than with being.

Doing kept me distracted from the quiet inner voice and deeper emotions I’d rather not feel too intensely. Rest? Who had time for rest? I had things to do. Important things to do. (Never mind that I can’t recall most of them now.)

The result of having an over packed schedule, constantly hurrying, and ignoring my own limits was that I was often emotionally reactive, stressed out, and focused on the next thing rather than being calm, intentional or present.

Another result of pushing myself beyond my limits was sickness or dealing with some chronic health issue. Since I ignored the warnings, this was my body’s way (and perhaps God’s grace) of getting my attention. Of forcing me to slow down long enough to recover.

Can you relate? Have you experienced this as well?

As I began paying more attention to what my weary body and parched soul were trying to communicate, I began to listen. I began to notice my limits and respect them. I began to notice what brought me joy and made time to savor those moments.

I learned “No.” was a complete sentence and I began to say it more often. I changed my schedule to better reflect my priorities. I also read books on rest and having a Sabbath and implemented what I learned into my life. Living intentionally takes effort and requires having healthy boundaries with ourselves and with others.

{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}

As a life coach what I see over and over again are women dealing with serious health issues with some seeking coaching because they are exhausted, depleted and on the verge of burn-out. Why do we do this to ourselves? What benefit is there in ignoring the needs of our body, spirit and soul for restorative rest? One answer is that our Western culture does not value rest. And we tend to invest in whatever we value.

Yet, “Rest is a courageous act of self-care. It takes courage to rest in the midst of an outcome-driven society. It takes strength to walk away from good in the pursuit of better. 3

In her excellent and insightful book, Sacred Rest - Recover Your Life, Renew Your Energy, Restore Your Sanity, Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith shares seven types of rest she has found lacking in the lives of those she encounters in her clinical practice and research: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, and creative rest.

She explores why a deficiency in any one of these types of rest can have unfavorable effects on your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity. Sacred Rest combines the science of rest, the spirituality of rest, the gifts of rest, and the resulting fruit of rest. It shows rest is something sacred, valuable and worth of our respect.

By combining scientific research with personal stories, spiritual insight, and practical next steps, Sacred Rest gives the weary permission to embrace rest, set boundaries, and seek sanctuary without any guilt, shame or fear. (View or purchase Sacred Rest HERE)

If your health, happiness, relationships, creativity, and productivity hinge on how much restorative rest you get, then perhaps it is worthy of considering where changes can be made in order to flourish and thrive in your life so you can incorporate intentional rest.

Rest is a sacred rhythm God has woven into the fabric of life and all of creation. Rest means more than sleep. Rest is not about taking a vacation. Rest does not imply cessation of all activity. “What if rest is in itself a vital activity required to tend the garden of our lives? What if rest is the water that replenishes the dryness? What if rest is fertilizer awaking us to growth and greatness? What if rest is the hands of the gardener pulling up the weeds threatening the edge out beauty? 4

{my graphics are inspirational gifts for you}

Your Soul and your Schedule don't follow the same rules. Here are a few questions to consider…

Where can you create margin in your life? God values margin. He values rest. He values your obedience because He loves you and desires what is best for you.

Does your life currently reflect the value that God places on rest? If not, what boundaries might you need to put in place?

What changes might need to be made in your schedule?

What are some non-essentials you can let go of in order to replace good with best?

In what ways might you weave moments of restoring your soul with God into the rhythms of your life?

“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

Psalm 91:1-2 (NIV)

If this devotional blog encouraged you, would you share it with a friend?

Editor's Note:

This blog is by Freedom to Flourish Life Coaching Founder and Christian Life Coach, Jen Stone-Sexton. For additional support explore our on-demand Courses HERE. Jen has a few openings for new clients. You can learn more about working with Jen here.

Would you like more support in determining your core values, setting priorities which reflect those values and creating intentional rest in your life? I would love to come alongside you to offer that support. To learn more, you can schedule HERE for a free 60-minute no-obligation Discovery Session.

Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All graphics created by Jennifer C. Stone-Sexton © 2023 Freedom to Flourish, LLC

All Rights Reserved.


Credits: 1 Dr. Saundra Dalton Smith, Sacred Rest (New York: FaithWorks; Hachette Book Group, 2017) 2 ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 ibid.

Scriptures referenced from the following:

New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

The Message (MSG), Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson

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