My Soul Needs to Exhale

MySoulThe other day I was in the kitchen with my teenage son. I was going through the mail. He was stirring a pot of rice. It was a rare, quiet moment in our house where all the other kids were gone so I wanted to make the most of an opportunity to talk.

“Mark, what are you thinking about?”

“Nothing,” he replied. And I knew from the gentle way the word slowly tumbled out, it wasn’t a brush-off. But how in heavens could he be thinking about nothing?

I had to know. “So, when you say nothing, do you really mean nothing? Or do you mean you are thinking about something you don’t want to tell me about?”

“No. I mean I’m really not thinking about anything right now.”

“How is that possible? Like you don’t have one thing you are worried about or a conversation you’re rehashing or a bunch of lists you are mentally reviewing in your mind?”

He tilted his head and looked at me like I was one giant, unplucked eyebrow. “Ummm . . . nope.”

Amazing. Truly amazing. And challenging. I think I need to be a little more like Mark when it comes to emotional white space.

His brain can actually rest.


Rest. That sounds so good, but it’s really difficult for a girl like me. Even when my physical body is at rest, my mind rarely is. Can you relate?

I feel like I’m always juggling balls in my brain. Kids’ needs. Home demands. Work projects. The to-do lists never stop.

Yet the Bible makes it very clear that we are to pursue rest. Literally we are to hit the pause button on life once a week and guard our rest. Guard it fiercely. Guard it intentionally. Guard it even if our schedules beg us not to.

Resting is definitely not something I have mastered. I am not the hero example of this chapter. I’m just a messenger who has been trying to make some imperfect progress in this area. Because I know where there is a lack of rest, there is an abundance of stress. And where there is an abundance of stress, there is great potential for me to come unglued.

Always being on the go and keeping my stress level ratcheted high is a huge internal trigger for me. I know it. Now, I’m trying to follow God’s advice on what to do about it.

From Unglued ©2012 by Lysa TerKeurst (Zondervan) Used by permission.

Lysa TerKeurstLysa TerKeurst is a New York Times bestselling author, Women of Faith speaker, and president of Proverbs 31 Ministries. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, Art, their 5 kids, three dogs and a mouse that refuses to leave her kitchen. See Lysa in person at the Women of Faith From Survival to Revival tour this fall. Find an event near you.


  1. 2 months ago
    Jennifer G says

    I recently found this when I was in a place where I felt completely safe. In my 39 years, I haven’t felt safe. When I felt it, I was able to clear my mind and truly think of…..nothing. Just rest. It was blissful!

  2. 3 months ago
    renee says

    I just want to thank God for filling my “down” time with gifts of Grace. Last night after supervising my
    almost thirteen year old in making her favorite dish, rice and chicken, we sat down to view the dvd Gift
    of Grace which featured Christine Caine (at the gate) and Lysa TerKeurst (moments of conflict). That is by far my favorite dvd so far, or maybe I was just in the perfect place at that point in time to soak in all that
    was offered. I especially loved the story about deep sea fishing! It reminded me of my recent jury duty experience where they showed a video of the time before the court system where people who were charged with a crime would have their hands and feet bound and then they would take them out to the deep part of the lake and if they floated they were guilty, but if they sank they were innocent. That made no sense to me, but most things don’t these days. Anyway-eventually the guy sank, thank goodness and they went out and grabbed him up before they had to do CPR. Seeing Lysa in the DVD also reminded me that I had her book unglued on my kindle fire. I thank God for Lysa and the gift of laughter. Jesus is the great physician and he knew the exact medicine I needed most. God Bless

  3. 3 months ago
    Marina H says

    I totally feel like you described. My brain is going all the time!! However, as soon as I read what you were saying about Mark I thought about “The Tale of Two Brains” by Mark Gungor. You can check it out on You Tube. It explains the differences of the female brain and the male. You will understand why he can be thinking of nothing and get a good laugh in while you are at it!

  4. 3 months ago
    Margaret says

    Thanks for your honesty. I would love to learn how to not think about anything. I don’t remember ever not thinking about anything. I am sure it is worth the effort to learn.

  5. 3 months ago
    Dawn says

    I loved this! However, I find it difficult to rest as I open my mail and see I forgot to pay this or that or my kids need this or that and my husband sits in his man-cave staring at the tv oblivious to all that goes on around him and not wanting to participate. Rest, If I could just figure out when this can happen,I would surely do it!

  6. Thank you, Thank you, I really needed this. As I read it I cried and laughed because it was so on target in the season I’m in and the journey I’ve been on the last two years with some major changes in my life as a wife, Mom, and Daughter in law. Each time I find that place of rest it seems that things, people, or mainly me rush me from it. God has been speaking to me remain in me even in the low valleys and in the tightest, and darkest times. Just to breathe and remain in Him…God bless you for sharing and being real…:)

  7. thank you. i could smell the rice cooking and hear the slience.

    Have a great day

  8. 3 months ago
    Eva werner says

    Do you know the song: We are women women of faith. United in Gods love. Sisters in grace…
    Don’t remember the rest.
    Would love the words to the whole song.
    Used to be in a church ladies group. We sang it for Mother’s Day 1 Sunday.

  9. 3 months ago
    Mary B says

    I know that if I don’t have some ‘down time’, I am no good to anyone. This can be just relaxing in front of the tv, reading, or just stretched out on the couch. I know that I need this and am no good without it. I never thought of it as part of God’s plan. I don’t feel lazy anymore about needing it, thank you!

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