Finding Rest in The Midst of Chaos

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As I write this, I need you all to know that I have been simply drowning in the amount of schoolwork I have to do. Finals week is in full swing and for an English major that means I have been writing paper after paper. I’ve spent more time at my university library than I’ve ever wanted to and consumed more coffee than I am proud to admit. Since when did writing a 7-page paper feel like light work? I cannot tell you. But what I can tell you is just how tired I am, because I need to. 

Friends, I am exhausted. Between school, work, and preparing to move out of my apartment for summer, it’s a wonder that I get to bed at all. And if I’m being honest, that’s how a lot of this season of my life has felt. I think in college and young adulthood we can all feel that exhaustion. We are in a place where our lives can just get busy without even trying. Normally, staying up until 2am for three nights in a row would seem completely fine to me. But this spring semester of college I have just been bogged down with responsibility, stress, and some days, just about everything. 

Last night I was at the library until early this morning. I came back to my apartment sore from sitting, red-eyed, and a little defeated. As I was getting ready for bed, I kept repeating in my head, “LORD help me! I am tired. I am stressed. I do not feel like myself. LORD help me!” and I went to sleep worried about the day. But I woke up to sunshine in my window. I could hear birds chirping, and it felt easy to get up for the first time in weeks. So, I laid there for a little longer than I told myself I would the night before. All I could think to myself was “rest, Sarah, rest,” and so I stayed for as long as I needed. I slept more, I stretched out my body, I let myself sit on the edge of my bed just to breathe for a few minutes. Rest. That is what the LORD gave me this morning. 

Those few simple moments made me reflect on my time this past semester. I have spent a lot of it worried and stressed, not just from school, but from other areas of my life. The enemy has been poking at things in my heart that haven’t hurt me since high school and I have been spending a lot of time in my head, confused about what the LORD is trying to show me. In many ways, I have felt like I had fallen into a valley so deep I could not get out. But this morning I had a realization: He provides for those He loves and He never let me down. Even in the finals-induced haze that has been clouding my life recently, I still go to bed with a peace on my heart. And even when the enemy has gotten the best of my day, the LORD intervenes and reminds me of my worth. Friends, that is no coincidence. There are days that have been hard and long, but they are redeemed through God’s grace and promises. 

As Christians, we are not promised a perfect walk. The route is not always scenic and some days are just difficult. But the LORD is with us and does not let us down. Psalm 23 shows us this: 

“The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23, NIV)

This is a passage that I return to a lot. As I read it today, it served as a reminder that He shows up even in the little things: running into an old friend, finishing a paper earlier than expected, getting a table right away at a restaurant. When He is our guide, we cannot fall. We may stumble, but the LORD is steadfast and constant in His love, fulfilling His promises. Whatever valley we may walk through, He gives us comfort. Like He gave me rest when I was weary, He will provide us with what He has promised for us. If we are to trust in Him despite circumstance, like Psalm 23 says, His goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives. It is that truth that has been getting me through the day and will continue to strengthen me. Friends, this is all I know: He hears our cries, He knows our hearts, and He promises that He will neither forsake us nor leave us. But He will comfort us. 

So, if you are feeling like you are being bogged down by the world or you just feel like you’ve been in a valley with no way out, reflect on this Psalm. Look for Him in the small moments because even on my worst days He has revealed new mercies to me. I know He will do the same for you because that is the God we serve: one who brings sunshine in our window and gives rest to the weary. 

Sarah Cullen // @itssarahcullen