Rest in January is a somewhat foreign concept for Americans. We live in a world that moves from the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season and launches fully into New Year Resolutions. With the rise of hygge conversations have been started, but I think the concept, much like sabbath rest, is genuinely foreign to us.
Rest is a Gift
In the past, I tended to see rest as something imposed on me when I are sick or I had run out of things to do. Only falling into bed to sleep when my body has betrayed me by shutting down. In my 20s I kept signing up for stressful internships until my body quit digesting food and demanded I take a break. But what if we saw slowing down as glorifying God in its own way?
Learning about the female cycle led me to think about rest differently. Each of the phases of a woman’s cycle reflects a season, spring, summer, fall, and winter. My mood and energy is tied to the season I find myself in. There’s a reason we want to clean in the spring and hibernate in the winter!
For a long time, I used to push myself through the feelings of exhaustion connected to PMS. I would try to entertain guests, cook, and clean at exactly the same rate all month long. The pressure of trying to push through the weariness leads to anger outbursts.
Now I’m the mother of young children, I can’t just stay in bed for a week, or not show up for stuff. But when I learned to look at my schedule and plan around my energy levels I noticed the anger disappeared. I cooked double on the weeks I had a ton of energy, so I had freezer meals when I was low. I planned my social when I knew I was most likely to “feel” social.
I have stopped seeing rest as something to be avoided at all costs. And I learned to see it as a gift to my life. Seasons of rest allow me to search my heart and see if the work I’m throwing myself at is in alinement with my calling. It allows me to sit quietly and listen to the hearts of my children. It lets me cuddle them and read stories.
I get so wrapped up in getting things done that it causes me to forget to check and see if that thing is worth doing, or if it’s something God is calling me to do.
Moving with Intention
After a season of rest, it makes moving forward intentional. Rather than doing a juice cleanse, purging the house, or finding a hobby because it’s what we are “supposed” to do at New Year, we can set goals that are in alignment with our calling.
During this time of rest, my husband and I talk about what we value. We talk about how that looks in our everyday life, and we take notes. Together we create a plan for our coming year. We are 3 years into this as a practice. I’ve noticed rather than fizzling out on the third week of January, we make steady progress toward the life we want to live together.
Invitation to Rest in January
The Gospel is an invitation to rest in the finished work of Jesus. To trust that what he had done for us is enough. The verses that reassure us of this over and over are so beautiful.
Matthew 11:20-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
Psalm 4:8 In peace I will both lie down and sleep; for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.
Hebrews 4:9-11 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us, therefore, strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.
If you’re hoping to move from resolutions to values, this is the planner that has helped me!