About the Author

Bonnie Gray is the author of Sweet Like Jasmine, Whispers of Rest, wife, and mom to two boys. An inspirational speaker featured by Relevant Magazine and Christianity Today, she’s guided thousands to detox stress and experience God’s love through soul care, encouragement, and prayer. She loves refreshing your soul at...

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  1. Great tips!!! Usually I sleep to de-stress, but I LOVE the “creative exploration” option…. especially getting out to explore some place new that I’ve never experienced yet 🙂

  2. I was reading this thinking, wow – it really corresponds to Bonnie’s Faith Jam this week . . . and then got to the end, and it was you! How cool. LOVE this piece. You’ve made me look at rest in a brand new way. And to answer your question, today I am craving adventure. Thank you for this.

  3. Thanks for breaking this down so nicely! I’ve been told I need to just spend time and rest in where I am at with God and my life right now. You’ve given me many scriptures discussing ‘rest’. Thanks!

    What am I craving today and how do I destress?
    Well today I am craving community as I sit here and think about the funeral I am going to this morning. Yet another loss in our church family-2nd for one member in 3 weeks! We are all just sad and heavy hearted. So community with my friends and to receive some great hugs and give some out also.

    I destress through adventure. I love to sitoutside in the fresh air preferably early in the morning 5:30-6:00am but its a little cold in Ohio to be doing that right now. But spring is coming and I am taking advantage of all the sunny days that are warming up and taking longer walks with the dog just to be outside!

    I also destress by writing/typing out all that is in my head. I’m not sure if that is under adventure or creativity! It could be both depending on the current state of my emotions at the time of writing!

  4. Yesterday I did some of these things. I had lunch with co-workers and got off work early because of this. I went to the park and read a bit and took a walk (finally not a cold day here). In chilling out and resting I was so relaxed and NOT anxious about stuff. I actually slept great last night!!!!! Thanks for the reminders and ideas to add into my search for rest.

    • I know what you mean, Katie! It was biting cold here to a Californian – 50’s – and I took a walk out too! So needed it, even if I didn’t feel like it at first.

  5. I really like how you pointed out that your sense of wonder waned when you pared down too much, Bonnie. Scripture tells us to delight ourselves in the Lord…I think this is what we lose when we overextend ourselves and lose the True North in our journey. I’ve been scheduling playdates with God. During this season of my life the joy calls out to me. It’s been rather a cool adventure–taking me out of my comfort zone at times. But it renews me in ways that I cannot even name. Blessings to you this day, friend.

    • LAURA! “playdates with God!” You just spoke to this mommy’s language. Okay, I haven’t set up one of those yet. THANK YOU. What a friend you are, sharing the goods.

  6. So timely !!! My one Word for 2011 IS Rest…. And 2 of the scriptures listed are ones I have been memorizing and now have more to rest in. What I am craving now is creativity and being outside to enjoy His Beauty. When starting this Journey into Rest this year I had thought Oh Rest !! yes Lord — exactly what I need — but also soon realized that His Rest is not just inactive — But SO much MORE …..

  7. I like tip #2…schedule in white space. That is what I need to do. A time to just go and sit in my “special” chair in the living room….not doing anything in particular, but sitting and looking out the window. So many days I feel like I am on a treadmill, and what I really want and need is some quiet and stillness.

    • Dawn, I love the thought of a “special” chair, quiet and stillness. It is hard to step off the treadmill when it’s going so fast. I think I might trip getting off!

  8. Sometimes, at night, as I’m rocking my baby to sleep, she struggles to just relax and rest in my arms. Once she does, she drifts peacefully off to sleep. I often wonder if that isn’t the way I am with God. He’s holding me and I’m struggling. If only I would rest in Him, I would find that peace.

    In our household we have a highschooler, a middle schooler, an elementary schooler, and a baby. Stress and activity are a constant. I love the idea of being creative as a de-stresser. I’m trying to help my girls learn how to manage life, stress, schedules, all that “busy”ness that will threaten to crowd out quiet from their lives. Thank you for your article.

    • Thank you, Penny, for this beautiful analogy. We need our Father’s strong and gentle hold to arrest our struggles. May God bring you a burst of creativity to in your craving for creativity as de-stresser, as you oversee your family and the household!

  9. Thanks for sharing … I love the thought that rest is not necessarily inactivity but anything that helps to calm your soul.

  10. I’m craving all three kinds-creativity, community, AND adventure. I’ve been so swamped with college work lately, I haven’t had time for all the creative projects I want to do, or doing anything new. And I’m still struggling to find community in our new city, even with a wonderful church. This post put words to exactly what I’ve been feeling. Thank you so much for writing it!

    • A recent move too? Rest would feel like a wonderful triple treat for you right now. I hope community finds it’s way to you. It definitely refreshes me. Thanks for sharing some time here adding community by sharing your voice, Emily! 🙂

  11. What a great post!!! Right now, I find rest in the midst of busyness by practicing the prayer of recollection, remembering who I am in Christ, and that GOD is in charge.

  12. First, I’ve found the only thing better than clean laundry – is clean, folded, and put away laundry – and amen – always better with a friend and tea. (◠‿◠).

    And so so good – beyond rest – to “active rest” – amen. To be in the world but not of the world.

    It was really nice reading you today.

    God Bless and keep you and all of yours Bonnie

  13. I really like what you have to say here, Bonnie. Something specific struck me and it related to my life…how we have deliberately chosen to slow down (a year ago), and I’m looking at life naturally winding up again and I’m a little nervous. But what you said is good…there is so much out there to help enliven our senses, spark creativity, connect us with others, help us to minister to others. There’s a time to slow down to the simplicities of life, and there’s a time to use what we learn in that time and worship in the working/movement/activities. Both are good…for a season and with perspective and boundaries in place (like guardrails). Constantly making sure we have our focus in the right places and a sense of balance with priorities. It doesn’t mean life won’t sometimes feel out of control…it is then when we need to be reminded that life is worship, not entirely work.

  14. I LOVE this.
    Thank you.
    My life has become SO much richer since having met some fabulous sisters in Christ. Time with them DOES de-stress 🙂

  15. Great tips on how to de-stress! I think de-stressing often take a deliberate choice to slow down and breathe… as you chose to do. I need to do that more often…

  16. Oh stress! He is my enemy! I seem to run into him at every turn! And I crave the rest that is available in Him…and only Him!
    I like to read, camp, hike, or enjoy a day doing just nothing with my family! The stress I crave right now is Jesus stress–trying to get more of Him into my everyday!

  17. Rest comes when i take time to read, incourage.me and a few other bogs in the Am hrs. And My once a week early morning walk\sharing time with a girl friend, which was today. Bonnie i really liked this post thanks.

  18. Oh, girl, I love the way you always bring us back to the heart of what matters most–and show us practical way to live it out too. Taking a deep breath now. XOXO

  19. I really needed this post. I especially love the scriptures with each tip. Love it!!!!

  20. Adventure for sure! Funny, but God has been speaking to me about the importance of rest. Rest in Him. It takes different forms but the ultimate goal is intimacy with our creator.

    I love reading and discussing what i’ve read with friends over a meal or coffee. I also love laughing… my soul feels at rest when I am laughing.

    Blessings
    Miriam

  21. I love how you’ve broken these up into categories, Bonnie.
    It makes it so much easier to grasp and practice.
    I like the idea of Adventure. I am convinced that the Christian life is never meant to be boring!

  22. Definitely craving whitespace and sleep! After 10 (!?) days of feverish children and getting behind on work being done, this was the perfect post for me to read today. Also, perfect for today was my quiet time reading, Matt. 11:28-30: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

  23. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year, but this is the first time I’ve actually commented. I have always loved reading your posts– they inspire me and always come at just the right time in my life. I feel like God has spoken to me through the verses you have shared very often this year.
    I have been pretty stressed out recently and Matthew 11:28 has come up in three different settings in the past three days, with the third being today’s post! I suspect God is trying to get through to me about this concept of rest. 🙂
    So, thank you so much for today’s post. I’m going to share it and re-read it a lot. 🙂

  24. I am ready for the adventure of spring and enjoying outdoors again!

    I have found a good stress reliever to be saying no to some things so I can say yes to the best things!

    And well, the laundry is still there, and dishes, always the dishes!

    Best thing I ever did as a mother was make my kids start doing their own laundry when they were about 11 or 12, definitely took a load off, literally!

    Thanks for sharing such a helpful post today, Kathy

  25. I LOVE this series! I’m so excited to read more about rest!

    “Enjoy the outdoors, soaking up nature” and “spend time with Jesus” go hand in hand for me! I think I’m going to go do that now! Finding rest for my soul! 🙂

  26. Love this! Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I really needed this today. My parents are in the process of splitting up (after 30 years of marriage) and this has just shocked us all! Really rocked my world, to say the least. I especially relate to resting in community during this time that can be quite stressful if I let it.

    “Get together with a friend and share the deep things happening in your life.” — Tonight I have a date with a girlfriend for this very reason. 🙂 Talking, crying, laughing and sharing with a friend is always good for one’s heart!

    “Enjoy God’s forgiveness in relationships that are difficult.” — With the arrival of our second child six months ago. My husband and I were in a funk. Just going about the motions of the busy life as a working momma; I was constantly forgotting to put my husband first (and still struggle with that balance). Letting go of the guilt has been key lately. I have been reminding myself that my priorities need to be in order, but need to also remind myself that I do not need to be so hard on myself and move on.

    Ahhh, just writing this comment has helped me “rest” and “destress”! Thank you so very much.

    Happy midweek! 🙂

  27. Thank you for your insights!! I am a newbie to incourage, and your post was thought-provoking and practical at the same time…I am so intrigued at the idea of “rest as ambition”…will chew on that for awhile!! I really appreciate the scripture references as well!!

  28. I’m new to (in)courage, but so glad I found it!! I really enjoyed this piece! It seems like it’s always “go go go” here at our house, and with two little boys and another on the way…our laundry is NEVER done :). I love these 10 ways to De-Stress. I think the three I’m craving today are the first three!!

  29. Reading this I thought of how Jesus often took off to rest and pray away fromt he noisy crowds.

    The tips are wonderful! I will try some of them this year.

    Thanks for sharing!

  30. I LOVE the idea that we are “never to do life as maintenance.” I struggle with that. Trying to be somewhere between “full of wonder and surprise” and “simple, focused on one small thing at a time, routine or not.”
    I’ve recently started a new blog, felt God leading me to write. It has already added one more thing “to do” but I refuse to put it on that list.
    I will choose to live the wonder and the routine and enjoy the ride. Not be so hard on myself.
    Thanks for this excellent post. I enjoyed it so very much.

  31. Thanks for writing this! My thought after reading the list was “Wow, Lord I can be thankful for each one of these items that you’ve helped me to see in my days at just the right time.” I’m finally “there” with Him in my day, holding onto that. Appreciate your words!

  32. Nice word, since I’ve been fighting the ‘busy’ rat-race with everything I have! Fearful of losing the little tranquility I manage to find already. Thanks for reminding me it’s not just about the activity – how much or how little, it’s what you do with it, and finding/creating peace in the midst of the chaos. It’s a hard ‘do’ if you’re running too fast and furious, so we have to calm down and find a steady pace!

  33. The way I de-stress is to write. Not in my journal or a blog…but I am writing a story for my granddaughter, Alex. Alex and I love cats. So I created this entire world made of animals that talk, have homes and do everything humans do. The Catclaws are the family of cats that I write about. I put Alex in the household with them so she can share in their adventures. They have a wonderful home life with a mommy cat that loves to cook and bake and knit, a daddy who is retired because he is well off, an extended family of grandma, Aunt Bertha and three uncles, and a few cousins, too. They all currently live in the same neighborhood. I have to get around to breaking everything down into several books because I currently have 134 chapters and 1170 pages!! The young cats, or kits as I call them, sometimes get involved in mysteries that they help solve. Alex is with them in the middle of it all as she lives with them and has lots of fun. Each has their own personality. They go shopping at malls like we do and some love to be fashionistas. But it is the warm, cozy home life that is most appealing. And they are Christian cats, too.

  34. What an inspiring post today. We all need to have ways to take care of ourselves better and give ourselves time to reflect and rejuvenate each day. The one I have the most problem with is enough sleep. Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day. I will try to work on that! Thanks for sharing. 🙂