Jesus, in Matthew 11:28-30, invites us to release our stress by saying, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

In my last post I shared my journey to release the pressures I place on myself and seek after God’s expectations. To be honest, my heart still gets encumbered with stress, but it’s usually when I have put too many things back on my proverbial plate. Weariness sets in when I carry my burdens, instead of casting my cares upon the Lord. Jesus has the rest you need, isn’t that wonderful?

Here are a few practical things that are helping me on this journey of refocusing my priorities.

Helpful Tips

  • Write down tasks that need completion. Once you have written your daily and weekly goals in a planner, look at your list and decide which one requires the most attention immediately. Also, give yourself grace, if you do not finish your task today.
  • Turn your phone on silent. Even better—put it in another room.Did I just give you anxiety? You’re thinking, “This woman doesn’t know how dependent I am to my phone!” “I’m the busiest person EVER.” I may not know you personally, but I know you (because I struggle with similar things, you are not alone)! My suggestion: Set a timer. Also, the world will go on without you checking Facebook or Instagram when you get distracted or bored—I promise.
  • Stay on the task at hand. The celebrated term practice makes perfect is not always true. For instance, if you practice a classical piano piece with the wrong notes or bad technique, you are only going to engrain those bad practices deeper into your psyche. It will take immense self-control, or a trained professional, to teach you how to play the composition properly. Relearning something the right way will take triple the efforttime, and patience.
  • Take a break. My suggestion: do not take a break by going on Facebook or Instagram—social media is a sinkhole—it will distract you in multiple ways.
  • Be in the moment. If you are out to dinner with your spouse or a friend, leave your phone in your purse or pocket. Engage in conversations that are uplifting and meaningful. The people you spend time with deserve your undivided attention.

Remember that you are more than the sum of tasks and deadlines; you are a created being who needs rest and restoration.

It is okay to take a breakbreathe, and refocus.

Reflection Time:

Prayer: Lord, there is so much noise around me all of the time that it makes it difficult to hear Your voice. I pray that You would teach me how to rest and refocus my priorities—I desire to focus on the things You are calling me to accomplish. Help me to not worry so much—when my heart races because I feel overwhelmed, I pray You would take me to that secret place in Your presence where I can feel Your peace. In Jesus name.

“Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” Colossians 3:2.

The Oscillating Fan Syndrome

Have you ever sat amidst other people in a humid room that is void of air conditioning? It is insufferable unless there is a small tripod fan in the corner that is oscillating back and forth, giving you a brief moment of respite when the warm air hits your perspired brow.

One fan in a humid room can only
do so much among so many people.

Multitaskers are like an oscillating fan, trying desperately to meet people’s needs with the assemblage of their talents, aspirations, and abilities. However, people often forget that they are only one person, who can target one thing at a time. Sure, you can give fragments of yourself to ten separate endeavors, but only for a short amount of time before you have to move to something else that is petitioning for your attention.

Are you tired of trying to do everything?

Laws of Attraction

There is a certain law of attraction in the perpetual pursuance of success, accolades, and completed tasks. Is there any thrill that compares to crossing things off your to-do list? Am I right, or am I right? Oftentimes we are drawn in by the alluring concept of becoming more, by achieving more, because we are doing more.

Somehow the deception of becoming a multitasking machine has become the normality of individuals across North America, who believe busyness and exhaustion will lead to a bounty of accomplishments and prosperity. We live under the guise that there is never too much to do or too many things to do at once. But, there is too much to do. And if you’re reading this right now, chances are you have a multiplicity of things on your proverbial plate.

Far too many of us live under the pretense that we have to burden our lives with more tasks and projects to become a productivity guru. This concept is a fallacy—you are only one person.

Release the pressure you have placed on yourself to do everything and to be everywhere for everyone.

Are you not dizzy from going back and forth from task to task?

My Life Had To Change

“Let your eyes look directly ahead and let your gaze be fixed straight in front of you.” Proverbs 4:25.

A few years ago I went on a soul-searching vacation to Europe with my best friends. Typical, I know. I left all of my anxiety behind in Chicago and wandered through the streets of Paris, eating croissants and drinking copious amounts of coffee. existed without stress and worry. After traveling through several countries and eating enough bread and cheese to feed a small city, I began my amazing journey home.

The moment I flew into Chicago airspace, I felt the heartbeat of the city. The heartbeat of busyoverburdened, and exhausted workaholics. The heartbeat of multitaskers trying to make tattered ends meet with the leftovers of their dilapidated energy.

Instantly I became angry with myself, thinking, “How dare you take time off when you have so many things to accomplish!” So, I reached into my bag and picked up my phone so I could draft a few emails that I could send to people the moment I landed. By the time I drafted half an email, I had my day-planner in my hand, writing things on my to-do list. So, back and forth I went from several things, trying to multitask myself into doing numerous things at once for the sake of not wanting to feel like a slacker, for the sake of wanting to feel productive.

Under the stress I put upon myself, I struggled to find a deep breath as a result of self-inflicted anxiety.

At that moment, I was unaware that I did not have to share the heartbeat of the city, but that I needed to share the heartbeat of God.

Time to Reflect

Prayer: Lord, I pray that You would help me keep my eyes fixed on You. I pray that You would reveal the areas in my life that I have self-inflicted stress, because I desire to focus on the things You are calling me to do for your kingdom. I pray that You would help keep me in perfect peace—let me feel Your heartbeat. 

Reposted from:

“My soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him” (Psalm 62:5, New King James Version).

Certain restaurants hold little appeal for me, especially when I’m with friends. It isn’t that the food is bad or the price too expensive, but it’s the noise level. I find it almost impossible to hold a good conversation when surrounded by noise. I’ve found myself suggesting, “Let’s go to XYZ restaurant. It’s quieter there and we can talk.” I value time with my friends, and I find no pleasure in leaning across a table, struggling to hear the person across from me.

We live in a noisy world, and it affects us more than we may think. Have you ever said, “It’s so noisy in here I can’t hear myself think”? Noise is distracting and stressful. It really does disrupt our thought processes.

Silence Restores Us

Do you ever crave silence? There is something refreshing and restorative about absolute quiet. We feel our muscles begin to relax as we breathe deeply and inhale the silence surrounding us. Our stress level goes down and a feeling of calm settles upon us. When we allow time in our day for silence, we focus better, feel less tense, and even sleep better at night. Some studies indicate two hours of silence may result in new brain cell growth.

Jesus Sought Solitude

It’s not just our natural bodies that crave silence. So does our soul. Jesus, our greatest example, frequently slipped away from the crowds to find solitude and silence. He could not have ministered effectively without those alone times in prayer. He began His ministry alone in the wilderness with fasting and prayer and faced the end of His ministry alone in prayer in Gethsemane. It was something He sought throughout His life.

  • “Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed” (Mark 1:35, NKJV).
  • “So He Himself often withdrew into the wilderness and prayed” (Luke 5:16), NKJV).

We Find God in Silence

Just as we cannot communicate well with friends in a noisy place, neither can we communicate with God when surrounded by noise. True intimacy with God comes in the quiet places. It is there He reveals His heart to us and we learn more of Him. Psalm 46:10 tells us to “Be still, and know that I am God.”

It takes time and patience to quiet ourselves before the Lord, but this is how we learn of Him and from Him. No revelation comes when we are restless or in a hurry. We wait silently, and He speaks things into our soul in a still, small voice.

“Be silent before the LORD and wait expectantly for him” (Psalm 37:7, Christian Standard Bible).

Prayer: Lord, I need the refreshing that comes from shutting myself in with You. As I sit before You in silence, the noise of the world quietens and I hear Your voice. You speak softly to me, and I discover new things about You. You restore my soul and give me strength for whatever the day may bring.