Finding rhythms of rest (even through the holidays)

Colleen Elisabeth Chao is an editor and author. She enjoys dark-dark chocolate, side-splitting laughter, and half-read books piled bedside. She makes her home near Boise, Idaho, with her husband Eddie, their son Jeremy, and Willow the dog. 




Finding rhythms of rest (even through the holidays)

Finding rhythms of rest (even through the holidays)

Finding rhythms of rest (even through the holidays)

I’m exhausted. To the marrow of my bones, I am spent and weary.

A few days ago, I drove up a winding hill, fresh after fall’s first storm, alone in my car; and the tears started. They were longing to spill out before Him, to be seen by Him. Despite my daily Bible study, I felt like I hadn’t experienced Him in weeks.

My soul was made for this One. Everything about me—my personality, my frailties, my history, my hurts, my hopes—it’s all meant to sing His song, to spill out the melody of His gospel on those around me.

But a season of crisis and nonstop needs can dry up the soul until the only thing that seems to be spilling out is a monumental mess.

Can you relate?

These days I’m easily given to a heart that’s crabby, negative, and ungrateful. I often feel exhausted and numb, and I find myself shifting into autopilot in my marriage and motherhood.

And yet, He’s still wooing me.

He’s still calling me by name and whispering, “You are mine.”

Dear one, I wasn’t made for this American pace of life. I wasn’t made to be a miracle wife and mom all while keeping a calendar that hemorrhages with busyness. I’m not hard-wired to press through another day on nothing but old fumes.

I was made to know Life, to consider everything else a loss compared to the breathtaking beauty of knowing Him.

Please hear my heart: I was absolutely made to work hard, to invest my time well, to lay down my life for those around me. I was meant to serve in such a way that requires supernatural strength and, at times, leaves me physically and emotionally exhausted. Jesus modeled this for us and commissioned us to do the same.


But that kind of meaningful work and eternal investing must flow from an abiding rest—the kind of rest I can find only in Him. He modeled this for us too.

And squeezing in a “quiet time” during my son’s short nap each day just doesn’t cut it. I need to find rhythms of rest in my weeks and days:

to say “no” to even the best of activities so that I can say “yes” to Him

to savor thoughts of Christ, again and again throughout my day

to post Scriptures on the walls of my home, so I can stop and read and believe what is true in the midst of a day that feels like “too much”

to prioritize my calendar so that it points to His sufficiency, not mine

I truly don’t know how to do this yet and may not for many years to come. But even my pursuit is precious in His eyes. And when I feel like no rest can be found in this season of nonstop needs and ministry, He continues to show up and say, “This is the way; walk in it.” As I keep His Word before me, it’s as if a little lamp lights my way and leads me into His rest.


Are you weary and exhausted, dear one? Are you numb? Have you been in crisis mode for too long? May I encourage you in the same way I’m encouraging myself today? We are not victims of our circumstances—we can make space for rest, no matter what season of life we’re in. We can know Him in the most mundane or insane moments of our day.

The holiday season is fast upon us, but He is even more important than the coming festivities. This month, what if we booked a few sessions of REST? What if we dared to clear our calendar—somewhere, anywhere—to make room for Him?

What if the rhythm of our lives sang with the hymnist,

Ever lift Thy face upon me, as I work and wait for Thee;
Resting ‘neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus, earth’s dark shadows flee.
Brightness of my Father’s glory, sunshine of my Father’s face,
Keep me ever trusting, resting, fill me with Thy grace.

Dear one, because Christ became our eternal Sabbath rest, we are no longer slaves to temporal weariness. Body and soul may grow exhausted, but as we rest in Him, we move from strength to strength.

{I originally wrote this article in November 2014. It also appears on}