Finding Rest and Renewal: Replenishing Our Core


“We all need time to stop our work, not when it is completed, but when we need to stop.”

By Desiree Adaway | Twitter: @desireeadaway

Come to Me and I will give you rest …

We all need time for rest and retreat–the renewal of spirit and the replenishing of our core. Yet in our society and I think, especially as women, we have begun to wear the phrase “I am really busy” like a badge of honor. We think we can get it all done if we just work a little bit more. We can take on one more project or deadline if we just move things around a bit. I cannot say no … it’s for my family, my friend, my church, my ministry, the world.

In the summer of 2009, I hit the wall. Bronchitis twice a year, insomnia, weight gain, borderline depression wrapped up in long hours at work and too few hours with myself.  Yet, I was traveling all over the world. I probably hit six countries that year alone, doing amazing work. Helping those in poverty—but killing myself in the meantime. It stopped when I returned home from Bali one day and was expected to get on a plane for El Salvador the next. Except I could not get out of bed.  I could not move.

I was diagnosed with Community Acquired Pneumonia and Adrenal Fatigue. I had no choice but to be still and rest. My body gave up.

I once heard it referred as doing for God instead of being with God. I was doing God’s work but his presence was no longer in my work or in my heart. I learned that driving ourselves into busyness could be a sign that we’re trying to earn God’s approval … which we already have.

My illness was about me recognizing my limitations as a woman, as a sister, as a mother, as a human.

It is not about what we feel compelled to do; it’s about what we are called to do. I was being compelled. I was not at all being called, because I no longer heard God’s voice

We cannot hear that call when our lives are filled with frenzy and busy. I had created this “Fast Life” that drained and disconnected me.

We are no more important, necessary, fulfilled, worthy, loved or needed by the constant need for “busy“ in our lives.

Where do you find rest? Where do you find renewal? 

But more than that, do you know and understand that rest is not optional? It is required. We all need time to stop our work, not when it is completed, but when we NEED to stop. It is in resting from our efforts, and trusting God’s, that we can come back for more. We can return with more clarity, compassion, health and happiness.

The Sabbath is not an abstract idea; I learned this the hard way. I was forced to rest for three months. No work, no projects, no running, no fast life. This time “off” was granted to me for rest and renewal. It was a gift given to me for body, mind and spirit.

Fast forward three years. I meditate and pray regularly. I eat well, I play, I laugh, I exercise, I journal and I connect with nature. I replenish that deep well of my core daily with an hour of power. This hour is filled with daily habits that nourish my soul and spirit. I care for my personal needs not as something that is an add-on, but as an essential part of my day-to-day living. I no longer feel stressed, stuck or bad on a daily basis. I feel nurtured, loved and cared for by me.


Dear SheLoves friends:

  • Where do you find Rest and Renewal?
  • Do you have a story of burn-out? What did you learn from it?
  • What rhythms have you made part of your life to keep you well-oiled and replenished?
  • What are your intentions for this week, to make Rest and Renewal a part of your schedule?

We’d love to hear! Remember also to join the Twitter conversation at #shelovesrest


About Desiree:

Desiree is a consultant, strategist, coach, speaker, storyteller and explorer. She uses her superpowers–her voice, sense of adventure and belief in the transformative power of community–to help organizations design programs that create unrestricted revenue, volunteers and advocates.

You can find out more about her at, or follow her on Twitter at @desireeadaway

Image credit: Ladakh, Northern India, by Erin Wilson Photography

Idelette McVicker
I like soggy cereal and I would like to go to every spot on the map of the earth to meet our world’s women. I dream of a world where no women or girls are for sale. I dream of a world where women and men are partners in doing the work that brings down a new Heaven on earth. My word last year was “roar” and I learned it’s not about my voice rising as much as it is about our collective voices rising in unison to bring down walls of injustice. This year, my own word is “soar.” I have three children and this place–right here, called–is my fourth baby. I am African, although my skin colour doesn’t tell you that story. I am also a little bit Chinese, because my heart lives there amongst the tall skyscrapers of Taipei and the mountains of Chiufen. Give me sweet chai and I think I’m in heaven. I live in Vancouver, Canada and I pledged my heart to Scott 11 years ago. I believe in kindness and calling out the song in each other’s hearts. I also believe that Love covers–my gaps, my mistakes and the distances between us. I blog at and tweet @idelette.
Idelette McVicker

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Idelette McVicker


  1. God has so beautifully carved out a space for me to rest because quite honestly I have become worn, healed but worn. Fighting through the revelation of infedility has taken all of the strength God so graciously gave me to fight with. He never fails to give enough so the fact that this strength has ran out tells me it is time to rest, and to rest well.

  2. fiona lynne says:

    I’m in a “new” place for me of NOT being busy and feeling really uncomfortable about it, because such a high value seems to be placed just on being busy. If I am not busy, I cannot possible be productive, valuable, useful… which of course is entirely untrue but it sneaks its way into my thought processes nonetheless. Glad for the reminder that my value is not linked with how “busy” I am…

  3. I’m not sure how we ended up, as you said, wearing ” ‘I am really busy’ like a badge of honor”. Quite honestly I’m really tired of hearing people brag about how busy they are. On Monday morning when people ask what I did on the weekend I’ve often felt like I have to have a list of tasks I got down, or something social and exciting. In many other countries I’ve lived in they don’t ask because it’s a silly question since they don’t value ‘busy-ness’. Instead they value ‘be-ing’. This is a great article, Desiree, and a wonderful reminder to not put being busy at the top of our lists!


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