I’m not a good napper. In the middle of the afternoon, I can be so sleepy that I can’t keep my eyes open, but if I try to just lie down for a power nap, it never works. And then I learned there is more than one kind of rest. In fact, mental health counselors suggest 7 ways to find rest: physically, mentally, emotionally, sensorily, creatively, socially, and spiritually.
Our mission at Abide is to help you experience the peace of God through biblical meditation. When you are at peace, you can find rest more easily because you know that God has got things under control. Your mind can release its worries and your body can release its tension.
Let’s look at what the Bible says about these 7 ways to find rest and experience a few moments of quiet meditation in the process.
Find Rest Physically
The first thing that usually comes to mind when someone says, “I need to get some rest” is sleep. It goes without saying that sleep is very important to our physical and mental health. But it’s also important to our spiritual health.
Psalm 4:8 says, “In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.” When we feel safe physically, we can find rest comes more easily. King David was pursued by many enemies, often fearing for his life. When he could acknowledge that God was keeping him safe, he knew he could lie down and sleep without fear.
Listen to a short sample of this meditation from Abide about finding rest based on Psalm 4:8.
Take Mental Breaks
Do you ever find yourself saying, “I just don’t have the mental energy to . . .” Your phone’s blowing up with news alerts. Your social-media feed showcases complainers. Your mind is just buzzing with so. much. information. Say it with me: It’s exhausting. You need to find rest for your mind.
Philppians 4:8 says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” Imagine taking a break every day to just let your mind dwell on things that are pure and true and worthy of praise.
Studies show that our brains aren’t meant to take in all the information, the tragedies, the hard that is all over the world today. All this information, that we have access to through our constant use of technology, puts a great deal of stress on our pre-frontal cortex. The only way to mitigate the damage that can do to our brains, is to limit what we take in through technology.
There’s a sleep story on Abide based on Philippians 4:8. Listen to the first 2 minutes.
We all know those people. They drain us emotionally. When we have to spend time with them, we sigh, knowing we’re going to come away from every conversation feeling so tired. When we’re emotionally tired, it’s hard to be kind, gentle, and loving—all those things God desires us to be when we encounter other people.
There are several instances in Scripture that tell us about Jesus stepping away from the crush of the crowds. He often went away to a quiet place to pray. You can imagine that with crowds constantly crushing around Him, sometimes Jesus needed to find rest emotionally. That didn’t always mean that He was alone. In Matthew 13:36 it says, “Then he left the crowds and went into the house. And his disciples came to him, saying, ‘Explain to us the parable of the weeds of the field.’”
Jesus had been speaking for some time to the crowds, but then He needed a break. So he went inside the house, but His disciples came with Him and asked questions about His teaching. Sometimes, finding emotional rest means being with those people who are closest to you, who bring you life instead of dragging you down. Yes, there were many times when Jesus’ disciples frustrated Him and He had to reprimand them, but they were still the ones He loved best.
Listen to a short snippet from this Abide meditation based on Hebrews 10:25 about being encouraged and comforted in community with others.
Experience Rest for Your Senses
Have you ever been driving somewhere unfamiliar and your kids are being loud in the back of the car, the radio is on, and you just can’t concentrate? Sometimes you just need silence in order for your brain to process the directions you’re trying to follow. Sensory overload is a real thing. In order to find rest, you need to find stillness. All 5 of your senses can be overloaded sometimes.
In Isaiah 30, God is telling the people of Israel that they don’t need to go searching for someone else to help give them victory. Verse 15 says, “This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: ‘Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength. But you would have none of it.”
Rest for your senses can bring peace to your soul at times when you’re just feeling overloaded. Listen to a segment of this Abide sleep story based on Isaiah 30:15. Take the time while you’re listening to close your eyes and breathe deeply. Let it refresh you.
Find Rest in Creativity
There’s a term that’s often thrown around that I tend to disagree with. It’s “creatives.” This refers to people who create things like art, music, or literature. But because we are all made in the image of our Creator God, I think we all are “creatives.” Even if what you create is not “art,” you still create.
Whether you are a teacher, an engineer, an architect, a receptionist, an athlete, a coach—you create. And whatever gives you that feeling of “ahhhhhh!” in the midst of it, that’s what can give you rest. If creating something is your job, like it is mine, and deadlines dictate your days, then creative rest might mean appreciating someone else’s work, or going outside and admiring God’s creation for awhile.
If you haven’t pursued a hobby you enjoy for a long time, consider taking some time to engage in that activity and see what kind of rest that brings to your soul. Ephesians 2:10 says, “For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” God created you to do good things. And when you do them, you can rest.
Listen to a short sample of this guided meditation from Abide based on Ephesians 2:10 about your passion and calling.
Take a Social Break
Whether you’re an introvert or an extrovert—or someplace in between—sometimes if you’re feeling exhausted, you need a social break. Introverts get that. After being around people at a large event, my introverted children often seclude themselves in their rooms just to recharge.
But being an extrovert means being with people energizes you, right? Well, yes, in theory. But there are times when you need to take a break from people.
Think back to the passage we read earlier about Jesus taking a break from the crowds, but still being with His disciples. I think we can safely say that Jesus was a people person, and He was with the disciples a LOT. But there were times when He would go away by Himself just to be with His Father and pray. The Amplified Bible translates Luke 5:16, “But Jesus Himself would often slip away to the wilderness and pray [in seclusion].”
If solitude makes you uncomfortable, dip your toes in the water for short periods of time, gradually stretching them out until you can contentedly be alone for extended periods of time. That doesn’t mean you just sit and do nothing. You can read a book, or take a bath, or go on a solitary walk. Being alone with God will refresh your soul if you take the time to let God speak to you.
Listen to a portion of this meditation from Abide on the benefits of solitude based on Luke 4:1-2.
Find Spiritual Rest
As Peter was preaching in the temple in the days after Jesus was lifted back into heaven, he was telling the people how they could find rest. First step: turn away from the deeds you’ve been doing in the past. Then Acts 3:20 says, “Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and he will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.”
True rest—deep, profound spiritual rest—can only be found in the presence of the Lord. Taking time every day to meditate on His Word, pray, sit in stillness and listen to your Heavenly Father refreshes you in a way nothing else can.
Listen to a sample of this meditation from Abide based on Luke 10:41-42 on just being with Jesus.
Needing rest does not always mean needing sleep. Many times it does, but there are so many other ways to find rest. Abide is here to help. Our app exists to help people experience peace and rest in their soul. Use this link to get 25% off a premium subscription and begin your journey to find rest.
Stephanie Reeves is a writer and the senior editor of Abide.