Seven Ways to Find Rest in Your Chaotic World


Steve & Mary Farrar

Multnomah Publishers, 2003, 247 pp. 



Steve Farrar is founder of Men’s Leadership Ministries and author of several books for men.  Mary is author of Choices.  You can read this book in a couple of hours—if you can find the time.  It suggests seven principles for overcoming the compelling demands of our culture.


Overload means overwhelmed—by the pace, pressures, and pain of life.  (12)  “Everything is on the increase, and every year the speed of that increase is greater.” (quoting Robert Vacca, 1969, p 14)  “Pace…is a life issue.”  (24)


Three lies of our culture:  You can have it all.  You can do it all.  You deserve it all.  Overloaded people live in emotional, relational, and spiritual deficit.  (28)


The seven principles for overcoming overload:  You need 1) a Sabbath, 2) a sanctuary, 3) sustenance, 4) supplication, 5) to simplify, 6) a Sovereign, and 7) a Savior.  (30)  “Jesus knew how to live…and we don’t.  That’s why we’re overloaded.  And that’s why Jesus said, ‘Come to Me.’” (31)


“The Sabbath is God’s space between the activity of life.  It is God’s way of ensuring that the days of our lives do not run together without a break.  It’s the space that protects us from the cumulative effects of living 24/7.” (34)  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work….” (Exodus 20: 8-10)  (42)  “The Sabbath is God’s special present to the working man.”  (quoting William Biloxi, 48)


“God doesn’t want you in a rut.” (49) The Sabbath is the “pause that refreshes.” (51)  “The Sabbath causes us to stop and look up.  It reminds us that we ultimately depend on God.” (57) The Sabbath was meant to be a day of rest.  This is really good news to overloaded people.  (62)


Some places, like a beach, for example, serve as places of refuge and protection where the world is put right and where the infinite touches the finite.  (66)  “You cannot be different from the world if you never separate yourself from it.  You cannot see the world objectively if you never purposely extricate yourself and look at it from afar.  You cannot recognize the treachery of the world’s system and its thinking if you never allow yourself to withdraw and hear from God.” (70)  “What good is it to have God’s Spirit dwelling within you if you never stop to spend time with Him….” (72) A sanctuary offers solitude, silence, and stillness. (73)


“Our addiction to fast food is slowly starving us.” (93)  “What we feed our bodies is important.  But what we feed our souls is exceedingly more important.” (96)  “We should pay more attention to what goes into our hearts.” (97)  “We live in a spiritual junk-food culture.” (98)  “The only thing that will nourish our souls …is the Word of God.” (99)  “We are anemic and malnourished.  And many of us don’t know it.”  “We have forgotten our lunches.” (100)  “And when you are spiritually malnourished in a culture full of junk food, it is easy…to get overloaded with things that do not matter.” (101)  “We make decisions according to what everyone else is doing rather than passing them through the grid of God’s truth.” (106)


“A prayerless person is like someone who eats and sleeps but forgets to breathe!”  (122)  “The hard work of prayer is getting yourself into a state of mind in which you prefer the will of God over your own.” (quoting A. W. Tozer, 126)  “Prayer is essentially a child’s groans and expressions to his Father.” (127)  “We are to begin by desiring His will.” (128) “…we have to switch gears mentally—from thinking about life as we see it, to thinking about life as God sees it.” (136)  “There is no activity more productive than prayer.” (138)


“Affluenza: You need to simplify.” (151) This includes the comfortable middle-class and those who simply want more.  “Affluenza attacks relationships.”  “It’s a subtle killer, a spiritual virus….” (154)  Affluenza causes parents to give their children too much freedom, too many things, too much pressure to perform and acquire an image and too much information.  (156) 


We quickly get dissatisfied by making comparisons.  “Contentment must be learned.”  “Comparison is the enemy of contentment.” (159-60)  “Contentment brings happiness and satisfaction.” (161)  Seeking first His kingdom and His righteousness will provide a compass to keep Affluenza at bay.  (162) Giving is another antidote.  (169) Simplicity is walking away, a conscious choice not to act.  Simplicity says no to overspending, to overcommitting, to opportunities that tear apart families and marriages, to the pace and expectations of the world.  (175)


“We must streamline our schedules and get rid of what really doesn’t matter.  We must cut and cut until we have made time for solitude and for those who are most important to us.  Finally, we must spend less and give more, remembering at all times that it is impossible to out-give God.” (176)


“Previous generations of Christians found their security and safety in the sovereignty of God.”  Nothing happens by chance.” (180)  “God is in complete control, and you are not.  God is in charge, and you are not.  God knows the future, and you do not.  God determines the blessings as well as the difficulties you will encounter in this life, and you cannot.” (200)


“If God is sovereign, why drive yourself into the ground going 24/7?”  “If God is sovereign, then everything is not on your shoulders.  Everything is on His shoulders.” (201)  “ A person who trust God with his whole heart doesn’t carry the world on his shoulders.” (208)


“The Bible is essentially God’s autobiography.”  “It is God’s revelation to us about Himself.  It is His unfolding to us of His plan for the ages.” (212)


“We are mistaken,” writes C. S. Lewis, “if we consider this world as some sort of grand hotel where our purpose is to find unending pleasure.  We should never think that pain is unusual or extraordinary.  Instead, we should see this world as a training ground for eternity.” (230)