Over the past year, I’ve learned a lot about myself, my soul, my spirit, and my relationship with God. For those who know me personally know that I’ve always had a hard time slowing down, taking breaks, focusing on one thing at a time, and giving myself space to breathe before starting something new. I guess I just have a hard time letting time slip by without me being able to utilize it. I love to take hold of every opportunity.

But what many people, including myself, may see as one of my greatest strengths, I’ve sometimes seen it be one of my biggest hurdles. I don’t rest. I don’t give myself time to recover. I don’t give myself or my soul room to breathe and exhale. I’m constantly on the grind, hustling to make things happen, to provide for my family, and to pursue God’s calling for my life. And while none of these things are innately wrong, if one doesn’t learn how to press pause and give themselves an opportunity to reset and refuel, the “hustle” of live can quickly become one’s demise.

The last few years of my life, especially this most recent one, have been pinnacle in my journey to discovering the beauty and refreshing experience that is rest. I blame part of this exciting discovery on become a parent, and then becoming a parent again, forcing my wife and I to slow down, pray more, and gaze our eyes on what’s in front of us.

It’s crazy to say, but I’ve gotten less sleep ever since we’ve had kids, but I’ve found that I’ve received more rest. How does that happen? I’m more present, more focused, and spending my time more wisely than before. My soul is refreshed. My heart is full. My mind is steady.

I’m not saying one needs to have kids in order to find rest, but I am saying that everyone, including myself, needs to learn to slow down and take moments to breathe, to dream, to relax, to rejuvenate themselves. How you do that may be different from the person next to you, but the importance remains the same.

All throughout the Bible, we see Jesus take time out of his busy life to rest, to pray, and rejuvenate his soul (Mark 6:31Mark 1:35Luke 5:16) and I believe this paints a beautiful picture for how we as his followers should take care of our own lives. Why? Because even the son of God needed rest, so why would we think we’re any different? We’re not.

We must learn to rest, to press pause, and to give ourselves opportunities to be refueled by the love and grace of Jesus. You can only pour out for so long until you need to be refilled. Don’t run on empty.

Luke 5:16 states, “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” It’s time for us to spend time in lonely places.