I Stress, Therefore I Am: 4 Ways To Pursue Rest

by Bonnie Gray January 10, 2024
“and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life ...” 1 Thessalonians 4:11 (NASB)

One parenting challenge nobody warned me about was how laundry would become my stumbling block. Literally. I’d walk by the hallway where our laundry baskets lined up, and it looked like raccoons had gotten into them — or my two sons, who were under 4 years old, to be exact.

Some days I just gave up. By the weekend, my laundry pile exploded into a mountain of socks, jeans and regret.

Stress feels the same way sometimes. I wake up, and stress greets me like that pile of laundry. I try to walk past it. But stress eventually catches up with me, forming a mountain of anxious thoughts.

Can we ever be free? Is a stress-free life realistic?

One way I responded to stress was to withdraw. I did less — but living in survival mode made me lose my joy.

Turning to God’s Word, I finally discovered we aren't made only to survive. God designed us to be fully alive.

As women of faith, our focus goes beyond avoiding stress. We pursue rest.

Rest sounds inactive, though, doesn’t it? I was surprised to find restful quietness is actually one of only three ambitions God explicitly commends in the Bible. As it turns out, hesuchazo — the Greek word conveying “lead a quiet life” in 1 Thessalonians 4:11 — also conveys “rest from work” and is a godly ambition, much like preaching the gospel (Romans 15:20) and pleasing God (2 Corinthians 5:9)!

First Thessalonians 4:11 says, “Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life.”

Intrigued, I looked up more scriptures about rest and categorized them into four buckets: creativity, adventure, community and soul care. Joy returned as I discovered new ways to rest!

I’d like to share four ways to de-stress, inspired by biblical principles of rest:

  1. Creativity: Take time to rest from work (Hebrews 4:10), and enjoy a creative activity using your hands. Science confirms our God-designed nervous system relaxes, lowering rumination and boosting our mood, when we do so!

  1. Adventure: Learn something new to find joy inspired by God’s goodness. Studies on neuroplasticity validate that we can break unhealthy habits when we go on adventures to learn something new. New experiences create new pathways in our brains when we’re motivated by goodness, not guilt or shame.

    “… Stand by the ways and see … Where the good way is, and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls” (Jeremiah 6:16a, NASB1995).


  1. Community: Get together with a friend one on one. Share how you’re feeling. Encouraging one another, as Scripture says (Philemon 1:20), improves wellness. Research also shows sharing our stories nurtures a higher resilience to stress, strengthening the immune system!

  1. Soul Care: Renew your spirit by resting with Jesus in nature. Breathe in fresh air, resting in God’s beauty. Science shows spending just 10 minutes outside in God’s creation lowers anxiety. “The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; They break forth into shouts of joy” (Isaiah 14:7, NASB).

Dear Jesus, thank You for caring about me. Help me rest with You today. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.


Unlock joy and peace to jump-start the new year with this FREE 4-day wellness devotional: “Find Joy with Jesus: A 4-Day Devotional” by soul care mentor and bestselling author Bonnie Gray. Learn to find inner peace by creating healthy habits based on soul care, Scripture and brain science. Download your free devotional here now!



Take Bonnie’s free “Soul Care Quiz” — your personal wellness assessment — to learn what type of care you’re missing most and how to flourish with God’s peace and joy in your life! You can also follow Bonnie on Instagram or Facebook.


Matthew 11:28, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (NIV).

Isaiah 30:15a, “… In repentance and rest you will be saved, In quietness and trust is your strength” (NASB).

Which way to de-stress do you need most today? Share with us in the comments!

© 2024 by Bonnie Gray. All rights reserved.

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