Devotions

Rest and Refocus

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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.

Angela Overton is a lover of words, nature, and coffee. She is an ordained minister with the UPCI, has a Masters Degree in Theology, and loves to teach Bible studies. She and her amazing husband, Michael, pastor in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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