Day 7: Rest Provides Margin

Photo credit: Pauli Antero via flickr (Creative Commons)

It’s been interesting to begin a series on rest when I was having one of the busiest weeks of my year, definitely of my fall (so far). Some of the things on my plate outside of work responsibilities were:

  • completing church communications tasks (writing a newsletter, maintaining a Twitter and Facebook page, reserving rooms, communicating with team members),
  • getting out early for Lead School (and finishing the reading before the session),
  • helping my husband with some graphics and printing needs for his business (and I’m not trained to do graphics),
  • starting up regular exercise again after recovering from foot injuries (to both feet), and
  • continuing to promote the launch of The Wall Around Your Heart (releasing October 15).

And I felt pretty overloaded but tried to find space in the hours I had to make it work. I was trying to find rest in the middle of it all. Some of the time, that meant I had to forego (forewent isn’t a word, is it?) pleasures like watching TV or playing games. Sometimes it meant taking a deep breath and deciding what was MOST important (since everything feels so important at the time). Sometimes it was choosing sleep over getting one more thing done (I had a great convo with Rachel, who is both a super-cool friend and super-smart PhD student, about sleep – watch for a post on that soon).

Photo credit: MoneyBlogNewz via flickr (Creative Commons)

There’s a key point that I’m learning about rest, and it relates to community. By building rest into your life (not sleep, here, but soul rest and spirit rest), you are building in margins. There’s space around you to flex and breathe. We need to have that margin of rest built into our lives, so when we are needed by a friend, spouse, child or parent, we have the resources to give out.

Here is an excellent example shared with me by another great friend: she was told that she had a dime for each day. From waking up until sleeping, there was only 10¢ to spend. Every task costs money and more expensive items cost more emotional, spiritual or physical energy. Laundry was 1¢, a tough conversation with a spouse or friend was 5¢, etc. She had to decide how to spend her dime each day, but when it was gone, there was nothing left.

Rest is like adding deposits to your day’s account. This is why I’m not emphasizing sleep. Sleep adds maybe a penny, but meditation on Scripture = 5¢. We need rest in our lives so we have more to give to others.

Jesus shows us this by His example.. The book of Mark records how Jesus would go into community and heal people and teach, then he would retreat to the Sea of Galilee. People followed him there and he would heal and teach, then retreat to the mountains. People followed him, he would teach and heal, then retreat. He continually sought out moments of rest. The times of rest refreshed Him for ministry.

By building rest into our lives, you/I can drop all the seemingly important things to focus on this one thing (a distress call from a friend or a neighbor in need at the door), because you/I have extra deposits in your rest account.

Does this make any sense? I’m kind of unwinding this ball of thought as I go – I’m learning right along with you here.

Photo credit: on2wheelz via flickr (Creative Commons)

Taking time to rest, in its various forms, provides margin in our lives that we can, in turn, pour out on the community around us. Are you creating those margins in your life, adding deposits to your account? Think about that as you go through your day.

31Days_Rest_thumb  ← Click to find links to each day in the series.

There are 1500+ blogs participating in the Nester’s 31 Day Blog Challenge. We’ve chosen nearly 1500 different topics, organized under nine categories. You’re sure to find one or more topics that interest you.

This week I’m linking up with these blogs:

Leave a comment


  1. I totally agree! We need time to pull away from everything and be still (rest). May you have a blessed week filled with many moments of rest in Him!!!

  2. Ethel M Miller

     /  October 8, 2013

    Your comment about “depositing into a rest account” reminded me of a dear friend who taught me a lot about being a Christian wife, mother, friend in the home. Alice told me she kept her Bible open on a table where she could stop in passing,during her housekeeping tasks and just read a verse or two, and then continue with her work. She is the most practical godly woman I have ever met — and this week she is 90 years old and still going.

    Thinking about this, I realize an open Bible speaks much more than a closed Bible. Recently, I posted Bible verses in several places to remind me to pause for a moment to let the Lord be my guide all day long. I see one every time I open the fridge door and glance in my bathroom mirror. Sounds like your “Pause- inhale- breathe- exhale” motto.

  3. An excellent post. And a much-needed and timely message for me. I have felt absolutely exhausted lately. I think maybe I’ve been spending about 50 cents everyday!! As always, Jesus is our perfect example, and you’re right – He incorporated rest into His days.

    I have found that the best *rest* that I can find is in the pages of my Bible, and in my heart during prayer. I’m working on the real life stuff. Learning to be more like Mary, and not so much like frantic Martha.


    (Hopped on over from Word Filled Wednesday!)

  4. Rachelle Cox

     /  October 9, 2013

    I don’t remember where I heard this from, but when Wil and I were getting married our church had us do an array of marital counseling, book reading etc. Anywho, one of the videos we watched had a guy discussing people’s “Love Bank” and it was a pretty similar concept to the one you describe here. The point is, we only have so much to give emotionally, socially and physically. I know a lot of people who are constantly exhausted just because they try and juggle a million different things. They try and keep their house pristine, their boss pleased with them, they comfort every friend over every drama-filled moment….it’s just too much for most people to carry and they end up not giving other people their best selves when they DO give time and effort.

    So I really like the idea of the “dime”. I imagine that a person would be able to give more attention and care to things when they don’t overburden themselves.

    On another note, I need to check out Rachel’s blog too. It looks like she’s a neurology buff, which kind of excites me.

  5. R Zamzow

     /  October 9, 2013

    Thanks for the shout out, Janice! I’m continuing to love your rest series 🙂
    And, Rachelle, I’ve been hoping to meet you at church! Your blog looks pretty awesome.

  6. I’m in one of the busiest season of my life as well. I’m finding that even taking a few minutes to pray or do part of my Bible Study during lunch reinvigorates me to finish the day strong. Great series!

  7. hollysbarrett

     /  October 9, 2013

    “We need rest in our lives so we have more to give to others.” Yes! A lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way and needed to be reminded of as I go through a job transition in the next couple of weeks. Thanks for the great post!

  8. Thanks for this! We need rest!

    Thanks for linking up with Word Filled Wednesday! God bless!

  9. Great reminder! It is a busy season for me too and I have discovered the best rest is found by spending time in His Word. Oh how it refreshes my soul. I’m on a business trip this week and it’s been harder to stop and spend time with Him and I can feel the impact. I need to remember it only take a few minutes to take in needed scripture. Thank you for linking up for Three Word Wednesday.


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  • Hi, I'm Janice. I'm part bookworm and part creative. I love both science and music (and the science of music). I'm stumbling around trying to grow closer to God. Click the photo to read more about me.

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