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I’m guessing you could use some rest and relief — right now!

But taking a vacation or getting a massage or spending the day at a health spa probably isn’t an option at the moment. And all of those things would only provide temporary relief, anyway.

Rest and relief — physically, mentally and emotionally — is not found through a change of location, but through a change of lifestyle.

Here are four steps to rest and relief (which spell REST, by the way) so you can start learning to “go away with God” in your heart and find the rejuvenation that is equivalent to an island getaway.

Step 1: Realize that God is in control and you are not

Whatever it is that is tiring you — an intense schedule, a burdensome task,  an effort that is being thwarted, or an unexpected delay — it is probably beyond your control at this point.  When we acknowledge that God is in control and we are not, that is the first step in loosening our grip on things and beginning to relax our shoulders and rest. Let God determine the pace at which you travel and suddenly the speed at which you’re moving doesn’t matter as much because you’re realizing God is at the helm. See your experience as a time of traveling WITH Him to a destination that He sees, even if you don’t.

Step 2: Expect God to come through

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Are you feeling today that there is just too much to do?

I remember a time in my life when I felt like I was drowning under the obligations of being a woman, wife, mother, director of women’s ministries, friend, sister, and daughter. There was so much to do to keep up with family relationships, to keep up the house, to keep up with my job, and to keep up in my walk with God. I literally felt I was drowning in obligation, and continually coming up short.

I truly believe today that when we feel like that, we’re taking on more than we were intended to bear. And most likely, more than God wants us to bear.

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Blog quote -restAre you one of those women who gets stressed out at Christmastime? If so, you’re not alone.

But regardless of the reasons we might dread the approaching holidays, I want to help you see this time of year as an extra special time of making memories with your Maker.

Over the next four weeks, I want to help you plan for a stress-free Christmas. I want to help you refocus your heart and mind so that you will anticipate the holidays with a quiet heart, and get through them feeling recharged, refreshed and refueled.

The first step to a stress-free Christmas is to refocus on rest.

Rather than thinking of all you have to do this season, can you consciously slow down long enough to remember why (if there is a reason) everything needs to get done? Christmas was never meant to be a time of busyness, stress, long lines, packed to-do lists and running around like crazy trying to get it all done. Rather, it is a time to slow down and reflect on the greatest gift that we have received — the gift of a Savior, to a world that was previously without hope.

The Bible instructs us in Psalm 46:10: “Be still and know that I am God.” That verse, in context, was a reminder to God’s people that in the true knowledge of God and His deliverance there is peace, in contrast to the troubled nations that didn’t know God or His deliverance. If you and I know God — and His deliverance through His Son, Jesus — we can know peace in a way that the rest of the world can’t imagine. And that peace is a quiet confidence that whether or not things get done, God is in control. Whether or not a situation turns out the way I want, God is in control.

In the New American Standard Bible, that verse reads “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

Can you and I “cease striving” to do all we think we must do and remember that simply knowing God (and the fact that He has delivered us from the punishment of our sin) amounts to peace and rest? To rest is to trust Him in all things. And to trust Him in all things is to rest.

You can live differently this holiday season if you truly know the Source of Peace.

Enter the month of December with a quiet heart that slows down to remember what matters the most. And in doing so, you will be showing others what it means to trust — and to rest.

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