Faith

The Gifts (and discipline) of Slowing Down

gifts of rest and enjoying god's presence

When was the last time you slowed down? And I don’t mean took a nap or binge-watched a few Netflix episodes. I mean really STOPPED to actually slow down and embrace a little nothing-ness. I’m talking about intentionally pursuing stillness for the end goal of accomplishing nothing other than sheer rest – and not necessarily the sleeping kind either.

Nowadays, I feel like slowing down is just as difficult as keeping up the pace. We have to go out of our way to “make time” to stop running on our 21st century treadmill and hit the STOP button – stop thinking, stop responding, and just be still. The only way you can truly do this is if you make time to actually do it – like, literally pencil it in.

For Me, “Rest” Is Related To My Faith

Everyone is different and I’m not trying to push anything on anyone, but for me personally, my understanding and experience with “rest” and “slowing down” is undeniably related to my faith life. Yes, I think it’s important to prioritize self-care and pursue a healthy work-life balance, but the “rest” I’m talking about is so much greater than any amount of exercise, sleep, or “time off” could ever offer. So before you continue reading, just know that I’m not trying to prove a point or convince anyone of anything, I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned (and am still learning – usually the hard way) about the importance of true rest and why we should prioritize it.

Two Types of “Rest”

The way I see it, there are two “types” of rest and I’m going to explain my thoughts on both. For the sake of simplicity, I’m going to classify/call them “daily” and “weekly” rhythms of rest. Both are necessary and equally important. But for the record, I don’t think it’s always as black and white as “daily” and “weekly”. The frequency and duration of these rhythms of “rest” can certainly vary depending on the individual or even season of life. But for the most part, I’d argue that it’s necessary to have some degree of both.

Daily Rhythms Of Rest

I like to think of the daily rhythm of rest as big picture/perspective-setting time where you take a step back from the urgency and details of everyday life (and your to-do list!) and reorient yourself with what’s important. For me, this means quiet time with the Lord including reading scripture, prayer and assessing my heart and struggles.

Taking 5-10 minutes to sit and be still with the Lord feels daunting at times. Every morning, I wake up and already feel – before the day has even begun – behind (it’s mostly my inbox, but that’s another story lol). I don’t know about you, but I’m constantly haunted by the fear of falling behind – even when I’m ahead and on top of things!

No matter what I’ve got going on or how much I’ve accomplished, I somehow always feel like I’m playing catch up and have umpteen excuses to skip my quiet time for the day. Granted, I’m being a little bit extreme here, but hopefully my point is getting across: feeling like you don’t have time will ALWAYS be an issue. But whatever the case and however small my prayer or time may end up being, I FORCE myself to do it. It’s these times – when you really don’t want to hang out with God or pray at all – that we need it most.

If I don’t continually remind myself of truth, my brain (and the urgency of any given task) will prevent me from seeing things clearly. It doesn’t come naturally – not in the least bit. It takes a lot of discipline and without cultivating a daily habit (and planning for it!) or forcing it into your routine, it’s probably not going to happen. Right? Trust me, I know from experience.

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

1 Peter 5:8

We’re called to be ALERT and on guard. And in order to be “alert”, we need to be continually putting God’s truth at the forefront of our mind so that we can recognize and even call out the lies of the world and the enemy (and even sometimes our own lies that WE tell ourselves).

Without a doubt, you’re always going to feel like you don’t have enough time or there’s something else you should be doing. Using the scarcity of time is one of the enemy’s best offensives to lead us to believe we can handle it on our own – that spending time with God will put us behind. He throws a party very time we fall victim to believing that it can wait – we’ll get to it later and that THIS (that email, text, etc.) is more important RIGHT now. But friends, it’s a lie. Don’t fall for it.

As citizens of Heaven living in a fallen, temporary world, we MUST make a habit of taking frequent breaths of eternal air. And by doing so, we remind ourselves that the here-and-now (although it may feel like life or death and the most urgent thing ever) is not what should be governing our lives.

Weekly Rhythms of Rest

In addition to making time with God a part of our daily routine, we should also be setting aside a relatively larger chunk of time on a less frequent basis to enjoy the gift of Sabbath. To some of you (myself included), the concept of actually taking a “Sabbath” day may seem impossible or even a little archaic, but its important. And we cannot deny or ignore the value that the bible (and Jesus’s life in particular) place on this practice.

For me personally, this is a MUCH bigger struggle and I’d be lying if I said I did this every week. Heck, I’m not sure if I’ve ever gone an entire day (24 actual hours!) without working. I have to be SUPER intentional about walking away or unplugging from my responsibilities because it’s next to impossible for me to do it without preparation.

In order for us to truly experience the joys and gifts that God has to offer us in this life, and thus live up to our fullest god-given potential, we NEED to practice sabbath. I know it can seem like this sort of principle doesn’t apply to us millennial in the 21st century, but like most of God’s truths and commands, it most certainly does no matter how backwards or unrealistic it may seem.

God created us in His image (Gen 1:27) and enjoying the Sabbath is a way that we get to (it’s a gift!) “imitate” Him (since he also rested and enjoyed His creation – see Gen 2). Further, it’s a time for us to acknowledge and remind ourselves that HE is God and we are not. And by ceasing to tend to our to-do lists and our endless busyness, we are actually declaring our freedom that we have in Christ.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to work hard and do good work. In fact, the bible commends good work and God delights in it with us (we can talk more about this later as it’s a loaded topic in and of itself). But what we fail to realize is that it’s ALSO God’s intention for us to rest from our work and enjoy communion with Him. When we STOP working and put a halt to our ceaseless efforts to strive, it’s like we are saying (by way of our actions) that we believe God is enough and that we trust Him, His way, and the life that He has for us.

Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

Matthew 11:28-30

I think exercising the sabbath is one of the ways we show that we actually believe God means what he says and that He is sovereign over our lives. If you struggle with taking the sabbath (like I do!), maybe we should ask ourselves is we really believe what the bible says.

Our actions and behavior are the biggest indicators of our beliefs. Practicing the sabbath is a way of declaring the freedom of the finished work in Christ on the cross. It is a GIFT from God that we should cherish and one would be foolish not to enjoy!

Let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:1-2

Final Thoughts

I hope my thoughts on “rest” and the importance of practicing the daily spiritual discipline of devotion and the weekly discipline of Sabbath are encouraging to you. It’s never my intention to make you feel anything other than excited and/or curious about taking your personal walk with the Lord more seriously by letting him have MORE of you.

In my experience, the Christian life (living down here in the “muck” and placing our hope in Christ rather than what’s right in front of us) is a continual battle. It’s a day-after-day, deliberate decision to lay our lives before the Lord of the universe. And as we continue to seek Him, we figure out more and more what it actually means to “trust” Him.

It’s easy for us to say that we “trust” God and that we believe He loves us and has a plan for us, but it’s another thing for us to actually live our lives in a way that proves and demonstrates He is WORTH it. One way we do that is by making time for Him and prioritizing our relationship with Him – on a daily basis and throughout all areas of our life. In order to know Him and know His will for our lives, we’ve got to actually read His words – He wrote them TO and FOR us! There is so much to be gained by putting God first in your life, but like any relationship, it takes two to tango.

Encouraging Scripture regarding God’s pursuit of US and how he delights in our pursuit of HIM: Hebrews 12:4-11 // Philippians 1:6 // 1 John 4:19 // Psalm 14:2

 

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19 Comments

  • Reply
    Courtney
    July 27, 2016 at 10:07 am

    THIS. Yes, girl! These posts are why I adore your blog. Don’t get me wrong, love your style (currently still receiving boxes from the Nsale #noshame) but your faith is beautiful and I completely relate with everything you said! Being intentional with our faith is hard, but so worth it- I have never once regretted my time spend alone with The Lord. Gosh, anywho, thank you for being bold and using this platform to speak about the greatest love this world has ever known, I needed to read this today!

    Love from Georgia, Courtney

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      July 27, 2016 at 11:43 am

      Hi Courtney!

      I hear you with the #NSALE boxes – I’m guilty as well (in a really big way!). But thanks for taking the time to let me know and just comment on here :) It’s so nice getting to hear from y’all and it makes it that much more motivating for me to want to put my thoughts to paper when I’m learning or experiencing new things in my daily walk with the lord. The issue is just that it takes about 10x longer to write a post like this than one about clothes (ha!). All that to say, I really appreciate you taking the time to comment, say hello, and send some love my way!

  • Reply
    Carrie S.
    July 27, 2016 at 11:14 am

    Recently new to your blog and so found this post a surprise….a wonderfully pleasant one. Your heart for the Lord shines bright and it was very refreshing to read. I’ve taken your words, “frequent breaths of eternal air” and written them in the front of my Bible. They echo in my heart of His desire for me. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      July 27, 2016 at 11:41 am

      Hi Carrie! Aww wow, thanks so much and I’m SO glad you found me too! It’s so nice that there’s a little community within my community of blog readers (aka ladies who love fashion and jesus) that I get to engage with. It literally makes all this blogging stuff worth it and so much more fun for me :)

  • Reply
    Naomi Bourrous
    July 27, 2016 at 11:49 am

    Love this post! Keep sharing your faith! I love your fashion posts but this speaks to me more than fashion ever could! You are a ray of sunshine in the “Instagram world.” I hope you come to Houston one day so I can meet you!!

  • Reply
    Mary S.
    July 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm

    Brighton,
    THANK YOU for this! I always use the excuse of not having time to dig into my Bible. The Lord has totally been tugging on my heart to get back into daily quiet times and I think your post just reemphasizes that. I admire you so much for consistently sharing your faith on all your blog and all your social media channels. It is so important for us to be a light in the darkness of this world and you are doing just that!
    I also have to say that I am SO looking forward to your Dallas Drinks city guide, since I’m also Dallas gal :)

  • Reply
    Lindsey
    July 27, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    Brighton! I absolutely love this post! I noticed your absence over the weekend and was wondering if all was okay but now I know why. I completely understand the need to unplug. It is so so so important for rest (both types). Everything can be so distacting from our quiet time. I definitely struggle with a Sabbath day but I also find that it is hard for me to have a quiet time if I don’t have a devo to go through. I know I don’t need anything other than my bible and prayer but I just don’t know what to do without the direction of the devo. Keep inspiring us pretty lady, I pray that you can find rest and renewing! ?

  • Reply
    Kelly Kalinkewicz
    July 27, 2016 at 1:42 pm

    I just LOVED this post–your posts about Christianity and your faith are my absolute favorite! Thank you for this!

    http://www.rosyoutlookblog.com

  • Reply
    Marissa D'Amato
    July 27, 2016 at 2:22 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I follow you on snapchat and truly feel for the season of life that you are going through. Be encouraged by the truth that God wouldn’t give you any situation that He didn’t think you could handle! That’s what I tell myself in hard times and it ends up encouraging me more than I can imagine; realizing that my Creator blessed me with a challenging situation that He knows I can grow through and prevail over! I wrote a post recently regarding how easy it is to loose yourself in your daily routine and how scary it is to come to grips with that. Nothing is more important than quiet time, rest and contemplative prayer! Be encouraged!! xo

    https://allthatglittersblog.co/2016/07/05/faith/

  • Reply
    Hannah Brown
    July 27, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Thank you THANK YOU for sharing this post today! I definitely struggle with taking a Sabbath day during the week, but I struggle even more (and have for as long as I can remember) with having a daily quiet time. You’re right – it’s so easy to find reasons to put it off! It’s helpful to hear that others have struggled with some of the same things I have and to see the discipline that they have adopted to put Jesus first.

  • Reply
    Rachel Ainza
    July 27, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Literally printing this out at work right now to “study” more later! I have been seriously slacking with dedicated rest and definitely not placing my priorities where I claim them to be. Thanks again for being bold in your faith! xo Rachel

  • Reply
    KPahler
    July 27, 2016 at 5:14 pm

    Thank you for posting this. It’s something I struggle with on a daily basis as I have a stressful corporate job and while I work from home, it’s sometimes 16-18 hrs days. That inevitably impacts everything around me (i.e. hubby, kids, faith, friends, you name it!). This past Sunday, our pastor spoke about taking time out from distractions and spend 5-10 minutes in the morning to be in silence. If we can’t take time out for ourselves, we’re certainly not taking time out for God and as a result, how can we expect to have a relationship with Him when we’re too busy to talk and listen?! This spoke right to me and now your post?! I need to pen this in to my daily schedule!

    Thanks again for sharing. While you might know me or any of your many followers, know that you’re impacting our lives for the better. Keep it up!

  • Reply
    Beatriz gonzalez
    July 27, 2016 at 5:24 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I’ve been struggling with being able to trust in the Lord and His plan. Your post was refreshing and as I read it, I actually cried. Tears of joy because I finally had clarity in a difficult family situation that has been going on. I am going to make more time for the “sabbath” from now on. I see now that it truly helps with bringing that inner peace that I’ve been craving.

  • Reply
    Katy Franz
    July 28, 2016 at 11:42 am

    YES! Thank you :) This was wonderful to read in a season of “there’s never enough time”

  • Reply
    Lauren Bricker
    July 28, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Brighton! Keep shining your light girl ? you touch more hearts than you could ever imagine and you never know who needs to hear or remind themselves of the same things you do ?

    As for those BBG workouts… ? I attempted BBG 1.0 like 6 separate times before it finally stuck. Now I’ve FINALLY gotten through 1.0 and 2.0. My best advice would be keep posting to us to hold yourself accountable. I’m sure plenty of your followers can relate to the BBG struggle. Or check out the bajillions of BBG specific accounts on Instagram… that shit is motivating! Probably more importantly, take it one workout at a time. I used to get overwhelmed by how far I had to go or frustrated when I had a bad workout or missed one. Then I would completely restart the week over again until I could get it perfect and move on. Then I realized Kayla made the BBG process to be about progress not perfection. If you ever need an accoutability buddy snap me lauren_bricker! Good luck.. the #deathbykayla is real ?

    xx
    Lauren

  • Reply
    Anna H
    August 4, 2016 at 4:01 pm

    LOVE THIS. I know even after all these years of starts and stops, I have such a struggle with this. It’s not even that I’m busy, it’s that I’m so distracted by the day that time seems to disappear. These kinds of posts are so encouraging to me. Thank you for sharing!

  • Reply
    Jennifer Taber
    November 2, 2016 at 2:33 pm

    WOW! The way God worked today for me was through reading this. The irony is how I have been literally spending my time thinking I have nothing left to give and wishing I did. Intentionally planning to shut out the “crazy busy” and spend quiet time in God’s word is a daily struggle. It’s when the type A personality feels compelled to serve the world and forgets to serve God by putting him first that the devils as you say “throws a party”. Using that as my new picture of who I am serving when I do not make the time should help me not push this very important priority back! Here I was sending my daughter who is at college “Biola” of all places pictures of your outfits on the blog (while she was in a bible study) and I come across your FAITH link…..it’s like God was grabbing me by the shoulders and looking me in the eyes! Well done and thank you for your wisdom!!!!

    Jennifer

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      November 2, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      aww wow I Love this jennifer! I love that you responded (Via commenting) and I love that you could relate to this blog post. I love love love it so much and in fact, it motivates, encourages and inspires me to write MORE about my faith. I get so scared bc sometimes my words are so jumbled and so are my thoughts! But it’s comments like this that inspire me to do another….

      Thanks for taking the time to send along an encouraging note! And I’m so glad (and love the irony) of your story with your daughter :) Makes my heart smile SO BIG!!!

      and gosh, yeah I always think about sir satan throwing a party when I let him “win” in my daily quiet times. Lately, I’ve been literally scheduling a meeting and pretending it’s a very formal one that I can’t be late to – even having a designated location too! it’s actually helped – and so has journaling too!

  • Reply
    Michelle
    March 30, 2017 at 8:08 pm

    <3 this is what I needed. thank you.

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