Practicing Rest

She came to me with piano book in hand, one of her many impromptu breaks from practicing and said,

Look, it’s a song you play with no hands.

No hands? I asked. How does that work?

It’s a song with just rests, she replied matter-of-factly. You don’t use your hands. You just practice rests.

I let her words sink in and settle down deep.

And in that instant, I knew that God had once again spoken timely truth into a single mundane moment.

Life lived with some songs of rest every now and then, I thought to myself. What might that look like?

To simply accept the fact that yes, we work and practice and perfect and labor and sometimes we just need to play a song of rest. That songs of rest give Him glory and breathe life back into our stressed-out souls in ways that songs of a zillion fancy, strung-out notes cannot. That songs of rest lullaby our spirits in ways that chords and trills and constant staccato cannot.

Fast and furiously, I pound and plunk out the notes of the crazy everyday and it is cacophony, not calm…discord, not delight.

Oh to be nine and and naive and fully accepting that sometimes we just need a song of rest and that’s all there is to it. That practicing rest is just as legitimate as whatever else we’re doing all day with our ever-tasking hands.

And I, at 37, know that rest takes actual practice…discipline even?

The season ahead is one of gratitude and celebration. It’s also one in which the to-do takes precedence over the rest our souls need. We’re so busy tasking and preparing; receiving rest takes a backseat…

He takes a backseat.

Ironic, yes, how busy we can become as we prepare for and celebrate the One who is rest.

Too often, my busyness and inner mess blinds me from seeing Him as that. And I’m grateful beyond words that He relentlessly pursues me anyway, amid piano books and dirty dishes and unfolded laundry, an unassuming 9-year-old girl unknowingly speaking divine truth words just for me in that bleary-eyed moment…

Child, practice rest.

I pray that for me, for you, for all of us, our hands and our hearts can find peace, stillness, and grace in the One who invites the weary to come.


The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

Exodus 33:14

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, 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


tuesdays unwrapped at cats

Unwrapped with Emily {Chatting at the Sky}


  1. says

    So true to her precious “love for all things quirky” nature that she would find the song without hands interesting. So true to your precious, introspective, “listening for the message nature” that you would hear Him in the very same “song.”

    Love this post and you and her.


  2. Anonymous says

    Thank you, Marian, for these thoughts. Even we folks who are retired need to think on this truth cause busyness can get us all!

  3. says

    Just about every year I “resolve” to spend more quiet time, simply being in God’s presence. Always I have to be prodded to re-resolve. I guess that’s the reality of life. A priest once said in a homily that every time we turn back to God from distraction, it is a conversion. I think of that often.

  4. says

    Out of the mouth of babes…
    Thank you for this well written, meaningful post. Yes, we all need to sometimes need to free ourselves from life’s distractions and see/listen to the lesson HE is teaching.
    Wishing you a restful Thanksgiving celebration surrounded by those closest to your heart.


  5. says

    I came across your post through Tuesday’s unwrapped, and I am stunned.

    Matthew 11:28 is one of my favorite versus. I used it in on of my blogs the other day. However, your words really hit home for me. As a freshman in college, I feel as if I am constantly busy with deadlines, reviews, tests, lab reports, meetings, outings…

    and I want peace and rest. I need rest. I need to PRACTICE rest. What a concept.

    Thank you for writing this.

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