When you start something – a fun adventure, a new program or plan, a fresh commitment, A NEW YEAR – it’s easy to be excited. Fresh starts are a kind of power launch that thrust you forward. Still, with life demands and problem-solving each day, how can you live with strategies of rest after the newness of a launch wears off?
The Energy Of A New Start
At the close of a season that may have had loss, deep disappointment, or even extreme drain – a new beginning can be a huge relief. In fact, a new beginning can help close the door on a previous season.
When a person desperately needs a change or fresh start, they hope for better things to come. Perhaps you hear echoes of passion for life when everything was a dawn of possibilities. You remember when the promise of opportunity gave your heart reason to beat and put a bounce in your step.
Passion and hope produce energy and make it a bit easier to do the hard stuff. They promote problem-solving. It’s almost as if passion and hope enable you can reach forward to grab onto something brand new.
Most people long for a sense of safety, normalcy, and balance. But they prefer that with a bit of adventure, some happy surprises, good times, and peace. The energy of a new start makes these conditions a possibility.
New Starts Can Be Hard To Maintain
Of course, there’s the reality that new starts can be hard to maintain. When “new” becomes the norm, discipline often starts slipping off. Daily drudgery sets in. Then – when life gets downright hard, painful, or disappointing, you may feel discouraged. You might even be tempted to give up. And once again, you realize the need to grit your teeth with resolve if you are going to finish well. Early days of passion and hope start to fade. What can be done about this cycle?
Even in this cycle, passion and hope still possess energy. But notice the word “energy.” Energy is power, which is a depletable resource. You need new sources of power to maintain your new start. You also need daily fresh perspective. So, power and perspective provide a boost needed for mental / emotional resilience. How do you get into this place? Well, it requires a decision to go after some key things.
Key Things Needed to Maintain A New Start
New starts are a blessing in life. We all need them. They run alongside troubles, trials, and tragedies everyone experiences. But let’s get to that list of key things needed to keep a fresh start alive and active. Each key point is activated by a decision you make.
- Discipline to push through.
- Accepting that drudgery and disappointment run beside good things that are still present in life.
- Resolve is required to keep plugged into your power.
- Passion and hope are options – if you claim them!
- Power is critical. So identify power stations to fill your tank.
- Fresh perspective gives you a boost.
- Creative ideas strategically applied help you maintain forward momentum.
That list helps maintain a new start. But over time, you still get tired and weary. You need one more thing. You also need rest! In fact, you need a lifestyle of regular rest to replenish the power and perspective needed to run a good race and finish well. You need strategies of rest.
KEY: Rest is one of your richest sources of power! It is one of your power stations to plug into.
So, take a rest! Every serious athlete knows good rest is critical. Since life is a marathon, and your power gets depleted, you must have strategies of rest to regain the passion and hope needed. As a life marathoner, the terrain of your course has a bludgeoning effect, wearing you down a bit more each day. Fatigue interferes with your rhythm. It slows your pace and affects problem-solving skills. Fatigue can trip you up.
Let’s think of it this way. You have the same number of hours a day – and days a year – everyone does. What you may not know is this. Purposeful rest rebuilds your power. This gives you more impact – more punch!
There are many practical strategies to engage purposeful rest in order to maintain your pace after a new start.
Practical Strategies of Rest
- Take a 10-15 minute slot 1-2 times a day to close eyes or even power nap. Properly engaged, this is extremely productive to fight off fatigue and discouragement. Be disciplined to set a timer, and be resolved to get going when time is up.
- A good night sleep is critical to maintain a good start, to keep your pace, and to finish well. Medical professionals recommend 7-8 hours a night.
- A strategic break from your responsibilities helps to re-boot and refresh your mind, spirit, body, and emotions. Do something different for a short period.
- Get a snack or a favorite cuppa- and actually enjoy it. Savor the flavors.
- Good fellowship and relationships provide a “rest stop.”
- Daily time in God’s Word provides perspective to be at your best. His principles restore passion and hope in tangible, and yet even somewhat mysterious ways.
- Take a 30-second mini-break to practice deep breathing, or close your eyes, or stand up/sit down a couple of times. If you are doing close-up work, rest your eyes with distance. This intentional interlude engages rest.
- When you lay down to sleep, come close to God in your heart. Eagerly lean into Him and share your heart. He welcomes this intimacy, and you need it. Knowing God loves you and wants to help gives energy that re-vitalizes your heart.
- Memorizing and meditating on Scripture washes away energy drains. You know – those cling-ons, energy-suckers, de-valuing words/actions, set-backs, and so on – those are black holes that can steal your hope and passion.
How To Maintain Strategies Of Rest
Those are some action steps to help you rest and renew energy. But things still come to a grinding halt without strategies to maintain forward momentum.
When you follow 7 steps regularly, even in bumpy times, things will keep moving.
- Remember – Think back to your fresh start. What changed since then? Is it good or bad? After strategic rest, what strokes would get you back on course?
- Enjoy – Reflect on past successful memories. Just because time and fatigue take a toll doesn’t mean momentum is gone. Enjoying past success while asking God to reboot you helps you think “forward” again.
- Refocus – Match current strokes with your original stride to regain momentum. Mimic successful past strategies. Carve unhealthy thought patterns away and replace with faith and hope in God. Have a “can do” attitude.
- Lean – into God’s heart by faith. Confess any sin. The closer you get to God, the more passion and hope fill you. So be deliberate in drawing close to God. He wants you to trust Him, to have a close relationship. He wants you to “rest.”
- Re–invest –No matter how tired or stressed you are, reclaim confidence in God. His reliable power steadies you. So, re-invest your confidence in His Word.
- Persevere – Stand firm. “If you do not stand firm . . . you will not stand at all.” (Is. 7:9) Perseverance builds a foundation of resolve and fresh energy.
- Power nap – Yes, you have time for a 5-minute power nap, and it will refresh you at every level.
Application Thoughts And Questions
Always remember God loves you and wants to help you live well. His original design is that you partner with Him. You don’t have to wear out, quit, or shut down. You can stay the course! Remember strategies of rest.
- Do you believe God cares about your success? About your rest?
- Do you believe God is working where you cannot see?
- Are you measuring and strategizing your power and rest?
- How many of the Practical Strategies Of Rest are you using to reboot each day? List them.
Jesus’ original design as your Creator is that you do life together. Because He knows our make-up, He includes regular rhythms of rest. In fact 1/7th of the week is to be set apart to rest (as a Sabbath). In the wear and tear of life, Jesus says, “Come to Me all you who labor and are burdened. I will give you rest.” (Mt. 11:28)
Why not take Him up on strategies of rest?