Slow It Down
T. Suzanne Eller

"God called the light day and the darkness he called night. And there was evening and there was morning." Genesis 1:5 (NIV)

I was reading my Bible one day and noticed a huge mistake in Scripture. Everyone knows that morning comes first, and then evening follows. Right? But there it was in black and white. Genesis 1:5 reads, "and there was evening, and there was morning."

Of course, it was no mistake. Somehow, God started with evening – a time of rest – and a day's productivity came out of that.

We live in a culture where rest is often viewed in a negative light. When we work, we work hard. When we play, we play hard. We know how to fill our time with e-mail, activities, carpooling, cleaning, aerobics, and our to-do list. Our focus is work all da, and then eventually rest.

Seventeen years ago, at the ripe age of 32, I found out I had cancer. I mentioned to the doctor that I didn't have time for cancer, but cancer didn't consult my schedule. My life changed as I put aside a lot of things I once thought were absolutely vital while going through chemo, surgery, and radiation. Funny, but one thing that came out of that difficult time was a new list of priorities. The first? To balance my life.

I learned how to climb between the sheets and put aside my worries. To rest my body and my mind. To slow down when life becomes crazy and weigh what is important, and what is not. I began to see evening as the first part of my day. From rest, sprang morning.

It's a concept that changed my life. Not just physically, but also spiritually. Recently I had two speaking events sandwiched together. As the date approached, my time with my Heavenly Father became "evening." Of course I prepared, but spiritual time came first all week. Once I arrived in the city where I was to speak, I closed the door of my hotel room and listened to the heart of my Father instead of going over my notes. And out of that rest, sprang fruitful ministry. I was refreshed and filled by His presence, instead of my efforts.

How often do we run out of steam because we are out of balance? I wish that I could say that I became forever balanced. But I'm not. There are times that I have to slow it down and reconsider my priorities all over again. And if physical rest or spiritual rest has been pushed to last place, I have to put it all on the table and let God help me sort through it so I can put "evening" back where it belongs.

Dear Jesus, when I push You to last place, I miss out on hearing Your voice. When I keep going until I drop, I get all tangled up in my to-do list. I know that life is busy, but help me to discern between what is important, and what is not. Reorganize my life, and reveal true rest that only comes from You. In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
10 Minutes a Day with Jesus: Growing in Your Love for the Savior by Jim Reapsome

For more in-depth articles, check out our monthly P31 Woman Magazine

Rest: Living in Sabbath Simplicity byKerri Wyatt Kent

Visit Suzie’s blog where she shares tips from author, Kerri Wyatt Kent on creating a Sabbath rest for your family

Application Steps:
Write down all the to-do's that consume your time. Are there any that aren't absolutely necessary?

Pray for direction. Do you need to say "no" to one or two so that you can say "yes" to a more restful family and a more rested you?

As women, we often take care of the needs of our children, our community, our church, our spouses, our jobs, our homes, and we leave ourselves out of the nurturing process. What is one thing you can do today to nurture yourself physically or spiritually?

Power Verses:
Mark 6:30-31, "The followers of Jesus came back to Him. They told Jesus all they had done and taught. He said to them, 'Come away from the people. Be by yourselves and rest.' There were many people coming and going. They had had no time even to eat." (NLB)

© 2009 by T. Suzanne Eller. All rights reserved.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for the biblical reminder to rest and find balance. It's amazing to me how often the pressure to do more comes from the church. As a single mom, the most important gift I can give my children is a balanced mom. This means I have to say no to a lot and endure the judgmental raised eyebrow. It's so important to me to receive confirmation that I am doing the right thing.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am weeping over this post. I am in dire need of rest (I accidentally typed reset instead of rest, and it's true). I have been pushing and pushing so I won't make a fool of myself and my expectations. My body is saying please stop but I just keep going. I keep getting sick and I know why. It's one thing after another. It's not because of all I do, but the worry about how to get it all done in time. I've never known balance. I just was not brought up that way and really need to discover it before I land on my face for good.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have always loved Isaiah 26:3 "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee because he trusteth in thee". This verse has helped me many times. We must also remember these are not just bible verses, they are promises from God. I pray that this helps in some way.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can really relate to this message. Like the author, I also faced some major health crises at age 32. Severe emotional turmoil, I believe, brought on my physical problems and I had to undergo an emergency surgery and another surgery months later. I was forced to rest and really re-balance my life. I know that God had to get my attention and slow me down in many ways to set things straight. Now, 3 yrs later, things are much better and I am grateful for how the Lord has brought me this far. Rest in the Lord, and He will renew your strength.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too can relate to this post. I keep pushing forward everyday trying to fit more and more in. God wants us to love him and love our neighbor. I find I am unable to do either if I can't find a balance in my own daily life. I can only do this through him, without him I just grow tired and weak. May God help each of us to remember the important things and allow us to let go of the things that don't matter. May each of us find rest in HIM.

Anonymous Suzanne Eller said...

Hey sweet ladies,

STOP! That's my message I received when cancer came into my life. I had to stop and re-evaluate what was important, and what was not. I had to learn that some of things that I was investing time, emotional and physical health in didn't seem priority when my life was threatened. Suddenly I had clarity. It's all about balance. There will be passionless aspects in anything we do, but sometimes we try to please everyone, or do every thing, or we think that if we don't do something we are missing out or will be criticized. And we might, but what is gained is valuable. I'm as busy as almost anyone that I know, but I know that I need balance and peace and rest. I say no a lot so that I can say yes to me, to rest, to a mom or wife or human being that isn't torn in a thousand different directions.

Blogger Joanna Peck said...

thank you for this timely reminder... I've been so caught up with 'to do's that I haven't been really making time for HIM and rest. I should get started right now!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am constantly striving for this balance!! My husband and I have now passed this busyness gene on to one of our daughters.' It even seems like going to church is a struggle because we are so busy during the week. We are worn out, but with two mortgages, children moving towards college, balance seems so far away. I type and cry because I am in search of a life not filled with being in constant motion. I trust God to guide me through. If you have young children enjoy them. Slow down to play and listen to their stories. Time goes to fast for us to focus on all of these differnt things. Help me balance, Lord.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too thank the Lord for illness in my 20's that forced me to STOP everything even as this author did. I learned to rest and draw near to God. Pacing myself and balance were lessons I was forced to learn and continue in because I have never again had the strength to go back to my previous schedule. But I learned to stay close to the Lord and recognized that without His power flowing out through my life in the Person of the Holy Spirit, my efforts accomplished nothing for Him and His Kingdom.

Thank you for sharing your insights. Because of the fast paced world we live in today this is of utmost importance in my thinking.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, Proversbs 31, for the Message of HOPE!
God First, then Family, then Work, then Church.
God wants the family to succed to flourish. He also likes Order! Let your Yes be Yes and your No be No...God will never give you more then you can handle.
God's peace be with you.

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