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Finding Peaceful Rest During COVID-19

Searching For Rest

Growing up, Kelly was the oldest of six kids. She was the “second mom” of the family who made sure everyone was taken care. If a family member was unhappy or had a problem Kelly felt the need to comfort them. She constantly worried that a disaster could happen or someone in her family was going to get hurt. Kelly almost felt like she needed to be a “god” to the family. Although she was trying to be in control or be the glue that everyone needed, deep down she was really out of control. Taking care of everyone began to take its toll on her emotionally.

During college, Kelly developed an eating disorder. Friends confronted her about her struggle, but she convinced herself their words were lies. Her parents loved her and she was from a great family, but she was a nervous wreck. She spent hours in the computer lab each night trying to find the perfect job. She drove herself hard to achieve all that she thought was expected of her. After graduation, she took a job in California (while still struggling with her disorder), but felt like she was abandoning her family that needed her. The job was difficult for her because she felt she had to be the ideal candidate that she described herself as to get the job. A year later she quit. Other jobs came along but once again Kelly tried to achieve unattainable levels of performance. 

Although she went to church and knew about God, she admits she was simply going through the motions of religion until one day when she was on a run in the woods. In desperation, she cried out to God, “I can’t do this anymore. I feel so out of control.” She felt the Lord tell her, “You can either continue to run away in fear or turn towards me in faith,” recalls Kelly. When she called out to Jesus in desperation He took the reins of her life and today she is healed of her eating disorder. When Kelly realized that what she had been searching for (peace) Jesus had already given her, she finally discovered real rest. “I am leaving you with a gift – peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give” (John 14:27).

Real Rest 

These days many people feel anxious and tired. The majority of people are now working from home or trying to oversee the education of their children. They long for rest but just cannot seem to find it. Real rest is not physical it is being joined with Christ. “The more we know Him, the more we know peace. The more we connect to Him, the more we connect to the source of peace,” says Kelly.

Finding True Rest

Kelly says, “Jesus gives us permission to seize a lifestyle of rest rather than living bound by a lifetime of stress.” She offers the following ways to help you establish a lifestyle of rest:

  • The Way of Weakness – When Kelly feels weak, she changes the way she thinks and speaks. She begins to proclaim God’s Word over herself. 
  • The Way of Humility – Humility does not have to be seen or feel important. God is on your side and He knows your heart. Lean on God more than yourself.
  • The Way of Forgiveness – If you have unrest Kelly says you might also have unforgiveness. Illnesses such as diabetes, obesity, asthma, etc. can all be tied to unforgiveness. The person forgiveness most frees is you. If you want to foster spiritual acceleration in your life, reconcile with God. If you are angry at Him for allowing things to happen that you don’t understand express your frustration and then acknowledge His good ways.  
  • The Way of Focus – Don’t let social media distract you from a peaceful heart connection with God. Instead allow the Holy Spirit to take your mind to a place of focus, heavenly places. 
  • The Way of Less – Seek less stuff and pursue time with God. At one time, Kelly chose to have “more” which included a huge home, luxury cars, and private school for her kids, but more did not make her happy. Through the years and several moves along the way Kelly has realized that she does not need more to make her happy. “Contentment is the ultimate rest,” shares Kelly. Today she has less (a smaller house, less stuff to organize, fewer bills), but she now has more rest.
  • The Way of Words – Your future and your circumstances are created through words. Pause before you speak. Pray before you complain. 
  • The Way of Christ in Us – A spirit at rest walks in the power of God. It is filled with the love of God. When you are walking by the Spirit of God you will have a calm and collected mind and not be driven by fear. You will be filled with love for others and yourself.

Setting Boundaries

“Boundaries are borders. They keep in what matters and let out what doesn’t. They preserve simplicity and prevent complexity from taking advantage of us,” shares Kelly. Jesus was a man of focus. He did not allow himself to be pulled in a million different directions. Kelly encourages you to keep your focus on God so you can impact others more effectively. By learning how to establish boundaries (not walls) you can create more rest for yourself in the future and preserve mental space and time for God’s assignments. As a person of boundaries, you may have to: 

  • Respond with different words
  • Redefine how much time you spend with a person
  • React with the word no
  • Remove yourself from a given situation
  • Request time, space or help
  • Reprioritize your time or money
  • Remove the burden to respond right away

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