How to Mirror God’s Rhythm of Rest

I usually love my group exercise class. The strength training routine is choreographed to ten tracks of music and almost makes working out fun.

But in yesterday’s class, worry and a growing to-do list distracted me. I tried to follow the instructor, but I wasn’t fully present. As my thoughts wandered, I’d find myself off-beat. Instead of syncing with the music, I mirrored the rhythm of a guy in my peripheral vision. He continually “jumped the gun” and stayed two counts ahead of the music.

I’d resolve to block him out and focus on the instructor. Then the process would happen all over again as my mind followed its thin stream of worry.

Later, I recalled other examples of my environment determining my rhythm. For instance, when I commuted an hour to and from work, I’d find myself matching the speed of other drivers on the interstate. And I used to let the frantic pace of Christmas shoppers affect my tempo.


Mirroring the rhythms of our environment is a natural phenomenon. The Theory of Entrainment says rhythmic beings close to each other will gradually sync their movements. Crickets chirp in harmony and fireflies flash in unison. Even clocks with swinging pendulums hanging on the same wall eventually sync up.

Aligning ourselves with our surroundings isn’t always a bad thing. My Fitbit shows a lower resting heart rate when I’m at the beach. Why? The consistent sound of ocean waves alters brainwave patterns and induces a restful state. Researchers say that simply gazing at a body of water calms us. Pausing to watch a sunset slows our inner rhythm.

Because most of us can’t be at the beach all the time or live alone in a forest, we’re often surrounded by an excess of noise pollution and stressed-out individuals. But we can call timeouts to rest in God’s presence.

Grow Still

In Psalm 46:10 (NLT), God cautions us to:

Be still, and know that I am God!

God’s rhythm is one of rest and stillness. When we block extraneous stimuli, we clear space for our Creator and hear Him more clearly.

God’s rhythm is one of rest and stillness. When we block extraneous stimuli, we clear space for our Creator and hear Him more clearly. #resting #christianliving #devotion Click To Tweet

I struggled in exercise class because I didn’t keep my focus on the instructor. Likewise, when I don’t keep my gaze on Jesus, I fall into the world’s trap of frenzied living. What if, instead of dragging my burdens to class, I had talked to God first and left my worries with Him? When we move toward God, He moves toward us.

God’s presence is always available to us, but we have to seek it. When we feel ourselves mirroring a stressful pace, the briefest of pauses help calm and sync us to God’s rhythm.

Ten Ways to Rest in God’s Presence

  1. Say a prayer.
  2. Listen to music.
  3. Play an ocean sound track.
  4. Sip tea.
  5. Sit in a pretty spot outdoors.
  6. Listen to the birds or other sounds of nature.
  7. Attend a sunset or sunrise.
  8. Gaze upon water.
  9. Take a leisurely walk.
  10. Breathe slowly and deeply.

Which appeal to you and what would you add to the list?

When we feel ourselves mirroring a stressful pace, the briefest of pauses help calm and sync us to God’s rhythm. #resting #devotion #christianliving Click To Tweet

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  1. I loved you list of ideas to match Christ’s rhythm of rest. It sounds wonderful and I will try it out. I appreciate your encouragement.

    1. Thank you, Yvonne! As the world’s pace increases, I have to be even more intentional to rest in God’s presence throughout the day. It’s so easy to slip into the rhythms of the world.

  2. Candyce, I needed your words of wisdom because of my busy current season. Your list reminded me that rest and focus on God are sometimes achieved in minutes. Hours aren’t always required. Brief pauses do indeed “sync us to God’s rhythm.” I’m taking a deep breath.

    1. Hi Jeanne. You’re right – it takes only minutes. Still, sometimes it’s hard to pull ourselves out of our frantic pace to rest a minute or two in God, but the rewards are great when we do.

  3. I’m consumed by my overflowing “to-do” list, Candyce. Your message is just what I needed. Your strategies for finding peace when stress threatens to consume us are right on target. Walking and exercise especially help me, but I can totally identify with your distraction during your exercise class. I find the more I am overly focused on things I think I should be doing (thus creating stress), the more easily I succumb to distraction. Thank you for this helpful (and much needed for me) message. Blessings, my friend!

    1. Thanks for taking the time to read my devotion, Katherine. I understand you’re even busier than usual during this time of a book launch! Congratulations on that.

      One foot in front of the other, my friend.

  4. I like any method of slowing down that involves nature whether it’s birdwatching, gazing at the pond behind my house or listening to the sounds of the ocean while I walk along the shore.

    The idea of rhythmic beings syncing up is fascinating. Perhaps resting is us slowing down to find the rhythm of God’s heart.

    1. Being in nature is a great way to slow our rhythms. How can one help but pause when in the midst of God’s magnificent creation. The idea of entrainment fascinates me too.

      I love how you phrased this: “slowing down to find the “rhythm of God’s heart.”

  5. We are surrounded by so much outer stimuli it does take effort to rest, but its the good kind of effort. Staying in sync with God does put us in the right rhythm and that is where we need to be.

    1. True thought that is Barbara, I still find it hard to do sometimes. Now that I’m aware of the rewards of being still and resting in God’s presence, I’m motivated to seek it more frequently.

  6. It sure isn’t easy to do sometimes Ms. Candyce, but oh the reward when we shut off the spigot of this world we so often find ourselves drinking from. I agree wholeheartedly ma’am; it’s when we focus on His living water flowing through our soul, we find ourselves in sync with His will and not our own, or someone else’s. Confession; I could help but chuckle as I thought about my graceful, normally fluid friend suddenly immersed in spasmed movements, followed by quick-tempoed attempts to somehow catch up. Reminded me of why I never learned to dance. Some things, white guys with two left feet just shouldn’t try and do. 🙂

    1. Thank you for that beautiful analogy of God’s living water flowing through our soul, J.D. It provided me a moment of restful delight.

      A funny sight to imagine — reminds me of my favorite cartoon character. Sometimes I’m like a duck sitting calmly on the water while my feet are paddling furiously beneath the surface to keep me afloat.

  7. Praying and nature sounds help me relax and rest. I relax at the beach but distance limits my visits. What a lovely reminder to focus on Jesus to stay in the right rhythm.

    1. Lisa, I love being at the beach too, but any time I’m outdoors I can usually find rest and stillness. Thanks for dropping by, and I hope you’re having a wonderful week!

  8. Candyce, oh how easy it is to be seduced by the world’s tempo and temptation. Thank you for the reminder that the ‘more we move toward God, the more He moves towards us.’

    I agree with all of your suggestions. I might add hugging a grandbaby slows my rhythm. And I love that!

      1. Thank you for reminding us how we all need to stop and reset. I normally feel the rush rush rush and I’m the leader of the rhythm. Just last night I walked out of my house and two deer were at the waters edge, I watched for sometime it was calming and nice. This morning after reading this I said a prayer and took some deep breaths thanking GOD for how blessed I am. Somehow this makes me think of my little mama (Carol) I miss her so much. I guess for me staying busy keeps my mind off sadness. As I reflect I want to remember the good and I need peace. Thank you and I’m going to implement the list.

        1. Thanks for sharing that, Beverly. Believe me, I understand adding busyness to our life to avoid pain and sadness. It can be good medicine. On the other hand, as we grow wiser (with age) we learn there is a better remedy found in God. And in focusing on our blessings.

          I think Carol learned this at an earlier age than I did.

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