How to Rest in the Midst of the Unexpected?

October 12, 2017

Do you ever wonder how some people thrive in the middle of trying circumstances? One crucial component is rest. Do you know how to rest?Do you ever wonder how some people thrive in the middle of trying circumstances? I had always assumed they were just built that way until I realized firsthand strong people wear out too. One crucial component to getting through the storm is rest. Do you know how to rest in the midst of the unexpected?

If you are at all like me, resting is the last thing on your mind in the middle of a storm. It feels wrong, lazy, unproductive, foolish, and counterintuitive. But feelings are not facts. Then, if the circumstances involve others whose needs are more significant than mine, it just feels unchristian to consider a break.

Add some expectations from others and yourself to the mix, and before long we are going at full speed with no rest on the horizon. After all, people expect strong people to keep going at full throttle especially if they always did before.

Do you have a running monologue that says?

  • Good Christians keep going.
  • The strongest must do the work.
  • There is no time for rest.
  • It all depends on me.
  • When others needs are bigger than mine, I do not matter.
  • Quitters never prosper,
  • Good Christians always put others first.
  • My circumstances are different; I can’t rest.

This kind of thinking is the quickest way to lead you down a dark, lonely road called burnout.

Have you ever been close to burning out when others depended on you?

I remember a time when this running monologue was going through my head nonstop. I decided it was time to seek some wise counsel. So I set out for an appointment with a counselor whom I respect, trust, and admire. He has been a significant voice through so much of our journey.

Upon arriving, I slumped down into the couch and took a great big gulp of my extra large diet coke. A little caffeine for the weary never hurts. I begin rummaging through my bag for my handy iPad. Upon finding it, I assumed we would skip the small talk and head right to his advice on how to fix things and then I would be on my way.

Instead, he asked me, “How is your self-care?” “Are you taking time to rest?” I grimaced and shifted in my seat – I hated that word, self-care. To me, that was a nasty word, which seemed so selfish, egotistical, and not very Christian like.

With piercing eyes, I darted a look at him. Without saying a word, my expression said, “Don’t you remember my children are in the middle of a diagnosis which was not their choice nor their doing?” “Why would you ask me such a stupid question?” “How on earth could I be thinking about my self-care?”

We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity. The counselor knew my faith was what had carried me this far, but he was wise enough to know I was twirling down a deep hole. So he ever so kindly stated.

Remember –

Jesus didn’t stop and heal everyone.
Jesus is your child’s savior, not you.
Jesus took time to rest.

His words immediately pierced my heart. Did I think I was stronger, better, smarter than Jesus? I indeed had been acting like it. If Jesus needed rest, then I did too and so do you.

 How to Rest in the Midst of the Unexpected 

  Recognize the Importance of Rest

If you do not believe it is essential, you won’t do it.

  Get the Scale out and Start Measuring

Picture an old-fashioned two-sided balancing scale or a piece of paper with a line drawn down the middle will do. List out all you do for others and what you do for yourself. Of course, they most likely are not balanced; especially if you are in short-term crises. But it will give you an idea if one side is hitting bottom.

Know What Makes You Feel Rested

Maybe a tech break, prayer, going for a walk, quiet time with God, reading, taking a hot bath, spending time with friends, exercising, etc. What makes you feel rested is unique to you.

Know what Drains You

When you know you are headed into an activity that will drain you be sure you – ADD REST to your day.

Plan for Rest

One must schedule in time to restore. If you see yourself heading into a season of struggle, make sure you plan for rest on a daily basis. Make it a non-negotiable. On an ongoing basis pick three things from your list of what leaves you rested and make sure you incorporate them into your weekly schedule.

Also, don’t forget God rested on the seventh day.

Do you ever wonder how some people thrive in the middle of trying circumstances? One crucial component is rest. Do you know how to rest?

It Isn’t Always Easy, but It Is a Crucial Step

Going back to my first day of rest in the middle of 24/7 care for another. As I pulled out of the driveway; tears welled up and spilled down my face. The entire drive I combated the ugly thoughts of the enemy “What kind of a mother leaves her hurting child behind? What kind of a mother rests in the middle of a storm? What kind of a mother puts herself first?”

But then I remembered –

Jesus didn’t stop and heal everyone.
Jesus is our savior, not me.
Jesus took time to rest.

Today I know without a doubt what kind of mother restsa smart mother, full of love, compassion, and Jesus.

We all go through storms in life some are short little ones that won’t require as much rest. Sometimes you will be able to grin and bear it for in the short term but some of us will be in it for the long haul and resting is imperative. Make sure you know how to rest in the midst of the unexpected.

Do you struggle with resting when the needs of others seem more significant?  

Join us this month at Embracing the Unexpected as we discover what it means to “Be Still.”
Click here to subscribe and receive posts straight to your inbox along with a small gift.
Click here to see our monthly favorites on the topic.


  1. Reply

    Lori Schumaker of Seaching for Moments

    Your words are so good for my soul. I struggle with rest. These days I force myself to take it. A couple of years ago my body just gave out – I think it was God’s way of waking me up. However, what I struggle with now is actually mentally resting when I physically rest. There’s this pervading sense of, “I should be doing something.” or just of an anxiousness. I don’t even think I have a negative monologue going on. I replace those thoughts with truth 🙂 But I still struggle with it. Maybe it’s the hypervigilence I’ve had to live the last several years in parenting the unique needs of our daughter. Or maybe it will just take my nerves time to heal after that hypervigilence that was SO intense for so long. It’s better now – no where near typical – but better, so hopefully God will lead me toward that full healing so that when I obediently rest physically, I can begin to feel that peace mentally as well!

    Thank you for always being such a wealth of wisdom and encouragement! I’m so thankful for you!

    Blessings and smiles,

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I can relate so well to what you are saying. My life verse is “Be Still..” and it isn’t because I do it well. It is because I need it. I have always struggled with being still. I am the one that loved commercials because I could get up and do stuff during them. My family used to turn the light off so I couldn’t work. Then illness came, and we all changed. I learned how to be in the moment and boy was that an amazing change. I can’t believe all that a moment holds and being still make it even richer.

      I know for me the hypervigilance gets better with time. It is not so intense as healing happens. Healing does need to take place for everyone in the family. I used to sleep a solid 8 hours and those days are long gone. I hear everything at night. Of course, it could be age, but I bet its a combination.

      Praying for you as I comment back,

      Blessings, Maree

  2. Reply


    Maree Dee, PS, your post was our most clicked this past week on the #LMMLinkup. Here is the feature post:

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Mary, Wow, that is so exciting. It encourages me to keep writing. Thank you for featuring me and hosting a great link-up. Hope you have had a great start to your week. Blessings, Maree

  3. Reply

    #LMMLinkup: Making Faith Work | Mary-andering Creatively


  4. Reply


    Rest is so important for us spiritually, emotionally and physically. I’m sure God intended for rest to benefit all areas of our lives. Thanks, Maree Dee.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Yes, it is so important on all levels. I hope you get some this weekend. Maree

  5. Reply


    Amen! I have been battling some physical issues that have forced rest into my vocabulary. I need it!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am sorry about your physical issues but glad you are getting some rest. Sending prayers, Maree

  6. Reply

    Michele Morin

    Second post in a row that I’ve read on the topic of rest. . . “O.K. Lord, I hear you!”
    Thank you, Maree.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee


      Don’t you just love that when God sends a clear message? Praying that you find some rest in your day. Blessings, Mare

  7. Reply

    Marva | SunSparkleShine

    Maree, these are some wise words you’ve shared. As someone going through the unexpected, I feel the need to take these words to heart. Thanks so much for sharing lessons you’ve learned along the way.
    Blessings to you as you carve out some much-needed rest.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad my words spoke to your heart. I am praying for you in your unexpected circumstances. If my memory serves me well, you were in the hurricane’s path. Is that correct? My prayers are with you, your family and your neighbors right now as I send this. Thank you for stopping by. Maree

  8. Reply

    Chosen & Cherished

    So much truth wrapped in this post! If we aren’t resting, we aren’t receiving. It’s when we rest from striving and doing that He is able to pour into our souls. I think about it like trying to pour water into a moving cup – only a little actually enters the cup and remains. When we’re constantly on the move, we can’t receive His refreshing life-giving water poured into our lives. Then, it’s hard to pour out onto others from an empty cup!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I agree, just yesterday I was taking my usual rest from electronics, and I was amazed at all the ideas for writing that were coming at me. Of course, I didn’t write them down, so I have probably forgotten most of them. All the same, it felt wonderful.

      I love the analogy of the moving cup, thank you for sharing that will all of us. I am going to take that one with me into my week.


  9. Reply


    Such a struggle for me, too, Maree. Just wrote this morning how surprised I am by how I quickly I still forget the need for rest. Thank you for the wisdom in this post and especially for sharing this statement:
    “Jesus didn’t stop and heal everyone.
    Jesus is our savior, not me.
    Jesus took time to rest.”

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am right there with you. What is so strange is I am always surprised by how wonderful I feel when I rest. I find all kinds of ideas for writing etc. come to me when I rest. Hope you have a wonderful week. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. Maree

  10. Reply

    Mary Geisen

    So much truth and great advice. I am the one who has had that running monologue and I am the one in the storms of life who feels like I am not doing enough. I have since learned the importance of rest. The idea of pausing my brain so I can regroup and move forward. Jesus did rest and that is what I am going to remember.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Mary, It is a hard habit to break. I have to keep reminding myself Jesus rested, God rested, and so should I. I have also come to realize no matter how much I work there will always be more work. It will never be finished. For the longest time, I thought I really could get it all done and catch up. It never happened. I hope you have a beautiful, restful Sunday. Blessings, Maree

  11. Reply

    Emily J. M.

    “Jesus is the saviour, not me.” So true, but often so hard to live out! Thank you for the reminder. I sympathise with you in my negative thoughts towards ‘self care’ – but I read a great blog post one time about self-care is part of being a good steward towards our bodies, which was interesting 🙂

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Emily, Thank you for sharing that point about “self-care is part of being a good steward towards our bodies.” This is true but something I rarely think about. I hope your weekend is wonderful and hold a little self-care in it. Maree

  12. Reply


    Very wise Maree! Thanks for being vulnerable and sharing this with others and listening to the Lord and writing from your heart… God bless you and your family.

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you! What a sweet comment, you made my day. Praying for blessing for you and your family, Maree

  13. Reply


    Thank you for this helpful and timely advice, Maree, which I know we need to take to heart! In fact, I’ve just forwarded your post to my husband and asked him to read it. Our loved one (who struggles with mental illness) and our son-in-law have two very young boys and they are without any support, except when we go to visit them in another country and give them a hand. They now have an wonderful opportunity to take some much needed rest for themselves and are planning to bring their boys to our home. However, your post reminded me that we also need to get rested up before they come since we’re in our late 60’s and will spend every bit of energy we have taking care of our grandsons during the week their parents are away. The real trick is to actually take the time out (and convince my husband of how necessary it is) to do that without feeling guilty, lazy, etc., as you have stated. The fact that Jesus himself took time to rest is such a great model for all of us! Thanks again for your honesty and sincerity…I appreciate it so much!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      I am so glad my post came at just the right time. You are so right the real trick is actually resting. I have to remind myself all of the time Jesus rested. I can’t quite seem to maintain a habit of rest. It is so good for us to have good self-care.
      Hope your time with your grandkids is amazing,

  14. Reply


    Yes, amen friend. Love those words your counselor said to you, and love that you took His advice. Sometimes we forget we’re not in control—and, we don’t even want to be, we just don’t always realize when we’re taking on more than is ours. Great post, Maree. Thanks for sharing. — And, congrats for winning the drawing last week for Micah’s book. 😀 If you’ll send me your info, I’ll get it sent out to you. 🙂 ((hug))

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Brenda – How exciting I won. Thank you for letting me know, I somehow missed it. I was so excited to congratulate you for 25 years of marriage. I will send you my address.

      Quite honestly I have to constantly remind myself of what I learned that day in the counselor’s office. I had to let it sink in. I always think we are supposed to jump in and help when sometimes we are called to do the exact opposite. It is probably a good thing I was not one of Jesus’s 12 disciples; he would have been so frustrated with me. I would never have understood half of what was going on.
      Hope you have a great weekend,

  15. Reply


    This is a topic that I battle on multiple facets. First, I am a Christian mental health therapist so I am routinely discussing self-care with my clients and I frequently get the push-back you described at the beginning of the post. On the flip side, I can neglect self-care, too! On top of being a therapist I have a blog and I’m wife and mommy of two. I can hear my own words to my clients in my head but struggle to take the same advice at times. Interestingly how initially when we view self-care we feel we are being selfish however when we believe we are capable of taking everything on without rest we are actually being prideful! Thank you for the reminder to rest! God bless!

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Melissa, I loved your comment. I am not a mental health therapist, but I teach and lead others that have loved ones with mental illness. The pushback for self-care is huge. Most think it is impossible but it isn’t, and it is crucial. One thing that helped me was when a therapist told me I was modeling good behavior for my loved one. It was easier to do if it was someone helping my loved one. I too am good at teaching self-care but doing it is hard. I find in crises I do better because I know I have to or I won’t survive.

      I have to admit you comment stung a little about “pride;” only because it was right on.

      Hope you have a wonderful day!


  16. Reply


    Thank you for sharing your story. And for the wise tips about the importance of “self-care.”

    1. Reply

      Maree Dee

      Thank you for stopping by. Self-care is so important but seem to be so difficult to do for most women. I am getting better at it; I hope you are too.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: