The Power of Rest

Rest has been a life word for me.  

For most of my life - I looked at rest as something that was for older people who get tired or children whose bodies are growing and needed naps during the day. I assumed it meant "to sit ideally and do nothing."

What I have learned about rest has been life changing. My experiences are teaching me that rest has very little to do with my physical state and everything to do with my internal state.

To be at rest means I am internally at rest or at peace.  Life can be swirling around me and yet I can be at rest.

It's important to understand what brings about rest vs. unrest.  For me, the foundation comes in my thoughts.  Depending on what I am thinking about determines my state.  It typically looks like this:

Thoughts of truth and life = rest

Thoughts of fears, doubts, and lies = unrest

It really is that simple.  

Slowing down my thought life and owning what I am thinking about has been a powerful process.  At times it has felt clumsy and time-consuming, but the results are so worth it.

This journey of owning my thought life began by noticing what I was feeling.  

When I felt happy, excited, inspired, hopeful, passionate, confident, encouraged …. it was very evident that my thoughts were truthful.

When I felt sad, anxious, angry, afraid, hopeless, lacking confidence, discouraged …. I would stop and get curious about what I had been thinking allowing me to notice that I had been focusing on lies or limiting beliefs. 

Before going any further, a distinction needs to be made between those "negative" emotions being lies and when they are actually helpful.

If I am afraid because it is dark, I'm alone, and I hear noises -- the fear may be a gift to help alert me of danger or alert me to take action.  I can turn on lights. I can call someone so I am not alone, or I can find out what the noises are.  Each of these action steps are powerful tools that help my fear go away allowing me to rest because I am now clear of the danger. 

However, when my fears are telling me that bad things are going to happen, I can easily get carried away and create all kinds of additional negative emotions.  I remember when I was young in my marriage, I was so in love with my husband and our life together, yet was afraid I would lose him.  I would be at home alone, and I would become afraid that something happened to him.  I carried the whole thing out and made up a story about an accident he had been in, and that the noise outside was a police officer coming to tell me he had died.  I spent many nights alone in unrest as I let my fears carry me away.

The reality is that we are not responsible for our first thought, but we are responsible for our second.

When I can own my emotions and the thoughts that come as a result, I get to get curious about what is underneath them and either take them captive or take action steps of curiosity to disarm what they may be alerting me to.

Do you find yourself at rest today?  

What are you thinking about?  

Is it truth or untruths?

It is easy to think that we are alone in our negative thoughts.  Would you offer a gift to our community by leaving in the comments below what is one of the negative thoughts that leads you to a state of unrest?