When Rest Feels Like a Prison Sentence {Link-up}

“Take the keys and go,” my husband said.

It wasn’t a question. From the time he’d walked in the door my tone had been short and snippy. He knew I’d had a long day and needed time to myself, even though I was insisting on cleaning up the dishes.

After stalling several times on my way out the door, I left. I played worship music in the car and talked to God about the things that were bothering me.

I didn’t take much time to listen. I didn’t pause to see whether he had an answer to my endless list of concerns and complaints.

But since our God is faithful and more patient than I deserve, he kept speaking.

One day in early February the weather was crazy warm. Spring warm. Our family went for a walk, and our five-year-old paused every five seconds to pick up rocks and sticks. He found his favorite bridge (a slat of wood) and hopped across, quite pleased with himself as he ran down the other side of the ravine.

Of course, I was trying to keep up the pace and burn some calories on the first nice day we’d had in weeks.

“Come on, Gabe! Bye, Gabe!”

“Wait for me!” he cried, running up from behind.

He was all dramatic but he knew we weren’t going to leave him. Within a few minutes, he was pausing again to explore.

I felt the cool breeze on my face and sensed that little nudge in my spirit.

You could learn from him, you know.

And it was true. I knew it. But was I willing to be taught?

They say knowledge is power, but is it really?

Knowledge may bring power, but wisdom comes when we’re willing to change.

For months I’d known what God wanted me to do: Rest. But I’d resisted. He wanted me to let someone else shoulder some of the load, but I wouldn’t open my mouth to ask for help.

I lived in a prison of my own self-sufficiency. Instead of receiving, I insisted on pouring out.

And pouring some more. But you can’t keep pouring from an empty cistern.

Even when I gave myself time to rest physically, I knew what I needed was spiritual. Soul nourishment. Time listening instead of talking. Time noticing his gifts instead of racing past them.

When we don’t see immediate fruit, we often think our time is wasted. But friends, time spent resting is not a waste.

Some of the most abundant fruit we produce will come after seasons of rest. Seasons when we’re willing to let someone else yield the harvest. When we’re willing to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of running ourselves ragged.

Fruit needs time to ripen before it is harvested. And the time God spends refining us is just as important as the time spent reaping the benefits.

If you feel called to a period of rest right now, do yourself a favor and take it. God will use it to teach you and mold you.

He may even show you some scenery you’ve been missing along the way.

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38 thoughts on “When Rest Feels Like a Prison Sentence {Link-up}

  1. Abby,

    Rest has become a sweet reminder to my soul that God’s love will meet me there. I used to resist it more than I do. I am still a ‘doer’ and ‘goer’ but I have learned the hard way that rest is where the fruit is waiting to grown in us, like you said. And though God’s grace is always more than sufficient, I think, also, that He knows our ever busy souls won’t stop till we have to. I am hoping as I learn to recognize the signs sooner with each passing day rather than find myself worn out from no coming to rest more in the middle of the journey… but I appreciate the lessons. Rest has truly become as blessed respite and a strengthening like no other. Thanks for the gentle reminder.


    • Dawn, thank you for sharing your experience with me. It is so encouraging to hear from someone who has struggled with this as well but learned and grown in the process. Blessings on your day, friend.


  2. “Knowledge may bring power, but wisdom comes when we’re willing to change.” <- Now, that's a powerful sentence! Thanks for this great encouragement. I feel a little like I'm in prison this week, myself. With the kids home on spring break, I'm unable to get much of anything done at all… I know I should slow down and savor this time, but … but … but … Thanks for challenging me today, Abby! Blessings!


    • Liz, I hear you! Today school as cancelled because of snow and tomorrow is a “staff development” day. Aaah! But yes, savor. That’s what I need to do. 😉


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  4. Abby, I really appreciate your words today. Especially this: “Knowledge may bring power, but wisdom comes when we’re willing to change.” Amen! Amen! Amen! I was just in 1Samuel this morning learning about how to stop just being sorry and sorrowful about my mistakes and truly repent and leave them in the past. We’re all suffering from some sort of dysfunction that seems to keep sucking us back in time after time, and the wisdom to move away from it is not easy to attain. Like Paul, we continue to do what we hate. But God … He will forgive us and uphold us …and over time, I believe we can conquer the demons that chase and scare us.
    Happy Tuesday!


  5. Abby, there are so many wonderful (ie..needed) thoughts which you shared in this post. Rest is so critical to our walk with God. This here spoke deeply this morning> “Some of the most abundant fruit we produce will come after seasons of rest.” We will bear more fruit as we remain in Him. Thank you for these words today!


    • I think we all need this reminder often, Joanne. Especially in a culture that places so much emphasis on results and where busyness is equated with fullness. Thank you for being here today!


  6. Abby,
    I’m so stubborn and self-sufficient, that God literally had to take my legs (or at least one bad knee) out from under me to get me to rest and simply BE STILL in His presence. That was 4 years ago and that’s when my blog was born and as you know, my work with Redeemer Christian Foundation came from connections I made through my blog. We never know how God is going to orchestrate, but I am learning that periods (regularly) of rest are definitely part of His grand plan. Great post…sorry I haven’t been able to pop in as much – work with RCF, Inc. has kept me quite busy. Even from that, too, I need to draw away and rest.
    Bev xo


    • So glad to see you here today, Bev! And no worries about not being able to stop by as much. I am going through the same season where I can’t read as much as I’d like either. Praying for you and your ministry today.


  7. Kids teach us so much, don’t they? Parenting seems to be a two-way thing, doesn’t it? God teaching us about His love for us while we parent our own children. Great little object lessons they are, our little ones. Thanks for the reminder to give into rest, not to fight it. Even though my kids are older now, I feel like I need rest more than ever. The pace of life never seems to surrender to my lack of energy! Thanks for these wise words today, Abby. The Lord’s had you on my heart several times lately; been praying for you, friend. ((xoxo))


    • Amen, Brenda. I learn so much from these kids. All the time. Thank you so much for your prayers and sweet encouragement. You bless me greatly, friend.


  8. Rest always has been and still is a struggle. I try so hard to see past to-do lists and expectations, but when my kids need me to simply spend time with them, it’s then that I really see. I constantly pray that I’ll be a Mom they remember truly being “present.” By the grace of God…


  9. I read your title and wanted to scroll through… quickly…I didn’t want your words to speak too much truth to me today…I didn’t want to hear any truth into my “busy.” Bleh…thank you for this even though it stung a little;)


  10. One of my favorite verses is from Isaiah 30:15: In repentance and rest is your salvation; in quietness and trust is your strength. I’ve studied those words and taken the sentences apart and tried to read more into them, but the bottom line is this: in repentance and rest is our salvation; in quietness and trust is our strength. Pretty straightforward. But I complicate it and wonder if there’s “more to it.” Nope. Just rest. Get quiet. Repent. Trust. Thanks for sharing and hosting, Abby.


  11. Amen! God put me to a season of rest with a broken leg. Being in a cast for three months, I was forced to rest! I had to allow my family to do all my work. What a time of humbleness, conviction, and blessings! What a beautiful time of intimacy with my Lord. Would not give that up for anything.


    • Yes, it is often during those period where I have this realization too, Lilly. I had a c-section a few months ago with the birth of our daughter and it forced me to rest and let others help. Always teaching moments during the healing. Thanks for being here today!


  12. Abby, such important words! I’ve definitely been in a place of trying to pour out and do it all in my own self-sufficiency. I’ve lived among women who do the same. It takes an awareness of our need, but also of others’ offerings to be able to say either, “Please help me,” or “Yes, I could use your help.” Humility, really.

    Thanks for the reminder of the validity of rest. Great post!


  13. You are so wise to be capturing all that God teaches through raising your children. It’s amazing what mirrors the are for us and how we can see God revealed in all new ways. And what a good reminder today that rest is productive. I’m thinking of how God built-in rest for His children through the Sabbath and its rules, and giving a double portion of manna the day before. 🙂 I’m taking this one to heart, Abby!


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  15. Always a blessing to read your thoughts Abby. This is a very timely post for myself as I have been forced to rest due to painful health issues the past 3 months. I now am beginning to see why God gave me the word patience for 2017.There have been incorrect diagnoses, frustrating visits to the doctors,, and not being unable to write for awhile. It has truly been a trying time but I am learning to cherish my time in the shadow of God’s love. He is doing what’s best for me. I may not understand but I trust my Savior. Thank you for this gentle reminder that I am not imprisoned but I am being empowered by God for future service. Sorry for rambling on but your post spoke to me today. Have a fantastic week and may God bless you and yours in all your endeavors.


    • Oh Horace, you can ramble here any time. 😉 I am saying a prayer for you today that you get some answers and healing. So glad this post met you where you were today. Praise God for that.


  16. Abby we sound alike. I run myself ragged often and then God forces me to rest. I should be listening to Him, but I repeat the cycle.

    I love your encouragement about what happens after we rest. I need to rest in Him more:)
    Lovely post!


  17. Ah! Love how children teach us the simple rhythms of life and how right Jesus was when he said the kingdom belongs to the little ones! How we all need to relearn this lesson each day..we are at peace only when we rest in Him and stop our striving…so good to visit again Abbey!


  18. Abby,
    This is so beautiful and refreshing. I love your perspective! This line is my favorite:
    “Some of the most abundant fruit we produce will come after seasons of rest…. When we’re willing to sit at the feet of Jesus instead of running ourselves ragged.”
    Boy, did I need to hear that! Thank you so much for this refreshing truth, Abby!


  19. Abby, I really need to read this post like about five times, friend. Sometimes when I take time to “rest,” ie., not get anything done, I feel vaguely guilty, and I KNOW that’s not from God. I love the thought of slowing down to see the scenery we’ve been missing.


  20. Thanks for this post. It is so easy to run ourselves ragged trying to do it all. I think all of us need permission to rest at times and the reminder of why it is so important.


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  23. “Knowledge may bring power, but wisdom comes when we’re willing to change” I love this quote.

    Rest is hard.

    It seems to be what God is always pressing on my mind. “Be still”

    I hit my head this week and the recommendation is to rest. Rest was defined as no tv, no phone, no internet, no music, no reading, no computer that the brain needs to totally rest to recover.

    As you can see I have failed a bit. I did take a few hours to rest. Maybe this post was evidence God is speaking to me. Thank you



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  25. Truth, Abby. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn and one that He continues to teach me, but rest is so vital to be healthy, body, mind, and spirit. Now, to give ourselves permission to do it!


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