God Wants You to Rest (here’s your official permission slip)

One day a few months ago, I had blocked out a two-hour chunk of time in which to write. My kids were at school and my husband was at work and the house was quiet and interruption-free. I sat at my writing desk with my notebook and favorite pen and waited for the words to flow.

Except they didn’t.

I gave it five minutes. Still nothing. I made a few false starts but crossed everything out. I waited ten minutes. All I could think about were some other matters that needed my attention. I felt trapped.

I looked around in desperation. Who can let me off the hook, here? Finally, I realized that *I* am the adult here, actually. I grabbed a post-it note and wrote myself a permission slip.

a permission slip to stop working

Sometimes we forget we have agency. Agency is simply the power and the means to take action. It’s easy to react to the circumstances of our daily lives instead of respond with intention.

This is especially true in the fall, as schedules typically get busier and we feel the weight of all that we juggle. We can run ourselves ragged in caring for everyone else but ourselves. We can go with the flow and not stop to question if this flow is healthy or even working for us. This kind of busy-ness is notorious for sneaking up on us, and we believe we can do all the things until we crash into the evidence that, actually, we can’t.

God’s invitation to rest

I think God knew our propensity for working, for productivity, for goal-getting, for achieving would hurt us in the end. I believe it’s why God modeled rest for us in Genesis through the creation story (God took a whole day off to bask in the delight of all God made!). It’s why the command to practice the Sabbath was taken so seriously in the book of Exodus:

“Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; even in plowing time and in harvest time you shall rest.” (Exodus 34:21)

It’s as if God is saying: Yes, I know that plowing time and harvest time are extra-busy and really important seasons. Rest anyways. Trust my provision.

God invites us to rest

Our calendars typically don’t revolve around farm-life, but our seasonal lives do have spikes in busyness. It’s easy to get wrapped up in all the shoulds and unspoken expectations around this time of year. Have you felt any of this pressure?

  • Getting back-to-school clothes and haircuts for the kids.
  • Signing our kids up for extra-curricular or enrichment activities.
  • Establishing a school and homework routine.
  • Cooking healthy meals.
  • Eating family dinners around the table every night.
  • Volunteering at church and/or the kids’ school.
  • Decluttering before the holidays.
  • Throwing Pinterest-worthy parties.
  • Making time for exercise.
  • Decorating the house for fall.
  • Creating and doing a fall bucket list.
  • Snapping picture-perfect evidence of it all for Instagram.

I could go on, but I am exhausted just from making this list! Maybe you don’t feel this pressure in your mom-life, or maybe there are just a few items here weighing you down.

I’d like to extend an invitation to you to shed the shoulds of your life. You have agency to decide what it means for you to be faithful to what God is calling you to do in this season. Your daily responsibilities will look different than mine. You might be in a different stage of life than me. Your family might hold different values than mine.

But here is what is true for both you and me:

  • God’s call to rest. (Matthew 11:28-29)
  • Our identity as God’s beloved. (Psalm 139)
  • God’s delight in us. (Psalm 149:4)
  • God is always with us. (1 Cor. 3:16 & Matt. 28:20)

So instead of getting carried away with our own high standards for ourselves, and the unspoken expectations all around us, let’s show ourselves grace and compassion. Let’s treat ourselves with the same kindness we would show to a weary friend. Let’s stop looking around for a different adult to tell us it’s okay to rest.

Write yourself a permission slip, or grab one of mine that I created for email subscribers in the Free for You vault!

free printable permission slips for busy and tired moms

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*Feature Photo by Stephanie Klepacki on Unsplash

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Sarah K. Butterfield is an author, speaker, and ministry leader who has a heart for empowering women to grow in their faith and be intentional with their time. She and her husband and two boys live in San Diego, where she writes about pursuing a deeper relationship with God in the midst of motherhood.

6 thoughts on “God Wants You to Rest (here’s your official permission slip)

  1. Oh, how I needed this permission today! Thank you, friend! You do such an amazing job of speaking straight to the hearts of weary moms!


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