Nearly every day around 2 PM, I feel exhausted – just completely drained. If you’ve been following my social media over the last month, I’ve been talking a lot about resting more. I’m in a season where I have a strong craving for rest. But not just to kick my feet up and watch Netflix; to experience rest. If you’re reading this and thinking, “how do you experience rest?”, I’m with ya. I found myself asking the same question. Do you ever feel like you need something, even though you don’t know what that something is? Weird feeling, right?
In my quest to figure out how to take this idea of rest and turn it into an experience, I’ve been experimenting. The first thing I tried seemed like the logical choice: take a nap. I laid down, closed my eyes, and realized I wasn’t tired… yet I was still exhausted. I couldn’t sleep, no matter how hard I tried. So I did what everyone does when they lay down: started scrolling. I stalked Insta, looked at Pinterest, creeped on Facebook… and I started feeling worse. Less tired and more exhausted. My mind wanted to spring into action; to compete with the lives I saw on Insta, to create the projects I was saving on Pinterest, to build the following others were building on Facebook. But my soul was still craving that rest.
After almost a month of this “exhaustion-attempt to rest-fill my mind with junk cycle”, I got to the point where I was experiencing such terrible anxiety in the afternoons that I was dreading them. So I did the only thing I could think to do; the thing that should be first but too often comes last. I opened my Bible (virtually) and I started reading from one of the plans in the Bible app. Now is when you might be expecting me to tell you that I felt instant relief, but I didn’t. What I found was something better: hope. I found quiet in a sea of noise. I found truth in a world of lies. I found simplicity in a world of chaos. While that didn’t solve my immediate problems, it gave me the resources to move in the right direction.
It turns out that just like our bodies require rest, so do our souls. While an afternoon nap might help with physical exhaustion, it will never re-energize our spirits. In fact, nothing will ever restore our minds the way that God’s word can and does. And at first, I didn’t believe that I could really be a girl who got anything other than knowledge out of reading the Bible, but in the right time, God showed me how much I was missing. When I first became a Christian, and even years into my journey, I brushed off the people who said they had a relationship with Jesus. Okay, don’t we all? You read your bible and go to church, so do I. Is that what they were calling a relationship? Only through these anxiety filled afternoons did I learn how real that relationship can really be.
You might be asking what changes between the morning and the afternoon, and I think it all comes back to the time spent between rest. Just like with physical rest, in the morning, I start fresh. The first thing I do (after food) is dive into my devotional, study the Bible, and spend time in prayer. In the afternoon, it often feels like that time was days ago, not just hours. This is the same time that lots of people say they need an “afternoon pick-me-up” because the day is draining, challenges are presented, and that peace that comes from a restful night and a fresh start is long gone. But I think that peace is the space where we were created to live. Without it, our souls start to get restless. We crave it, even if we don’t recognize exactly what it is that we’re craving. And that’s why those naps are necessary.
If you’re in this space, this constant chasing and seeking something until the point of exhaustion space, I encourage you to set aside some time this afternoon to recharge your soul. Even just a few minutes spent in God’s word will do more than any cup of coffee ever could. And if you pair the two together, it sounds like a recipe for a cozy fall chat with your best friend.