The Pause Awakens Us to God by Margaret Feinberg {And a Giveaway}

by | Jul 15, 2013 | Uncategorized

Today, I’m pleased to welcome popular author and speaker, Margaret Feinberg. She is a dear friend whose wise words and generous character encourage me often.  It was Chapter 4: A Sanctuary in Time from her most recent book, Wonderstruck: Awakening to the Nearness of God that inspired me to start the Sabbath Society. I’m giving away a copy of Wonderstruck to one person who leaves a comment.  The winner will be announced on Thursday.


Sleep deprivation takes a heavy toll on our minds and bodies. Scientists show that insufficient amounts of sleep affect the part of the brain that controls language, memory, sense of time, and our ability to plan. In addition, the body performs less efficiently and isn’t able to recharge the immune system as well. But lack of sleep also affects our spiritual lives.

When I’m physically tired, weary, or stressed, then I’m less likely to live with an awareness of the Holy Spirit in my life. I discover:

My morning times of study and prayer become more rushed.

I passed by countless people without really seeing them—or their needs.

I rushed by moments of grace and God’s goodness unaware.

I hush the Holy Spirit’s nudges by responding, “I don’t have time.”

Years ago someone asked me, “What’s the biggest thing that causes you to sin?” I considered the temptation to overeat at a fancy buffet, the advertisement of that sexy shirtless guy, the juiciness of gossip, the enticement of breaking the rules, the pride that so easily creeps into our hearts, and much more. Temptation takes so many different forms. But as I reflected on the thing that causes me to sin the most, I only had one answer:

Lack of sleep.

That may sound silly at first glance, but when I don’t get enough sleep, I’m more likely to stumble into any temptation before me. The resolve to stay strong, remain pure, or be courageous melts away. Without enough rest, I become increasingly impatient and unloving, more susceptible to fear, and easily angered.

Through rest I’m in a better place to receive the grace of God to overcome these temptations. With enough sleep, I can more easily locate the way of escape from a sticky situation as described in 1 Corinthians 10:13.

Apart from the divine gift of downtime and Sabbath, I cannot fully awaken to the presence of God. Rest refreshes our physical bodies, expands our mental capacities, and increases our spiritual awareness. Below is a list of ways rest makes me more attuned to God. A

  • I’m more likely to retain passages of Scripture I read and study.
  • I’m more attentive to what people are really saying to me—using both verbal and nonverbal cues—to understand the deeper needs.
  • I’m more likely to pause to consider a Christ-like response to a sticky situation.
  • I’m more ready to reorient my day to the whispers of the Holy Spirit.

One of the most powerful ways rest awakens me to God is simply in the reminder that He is God and I am not. By taking time—even if only a portion of a day—to stop working and rest, I’m reminded that God holds all things together. Not me. Rest helps reorient my life Godward. Often when I rest, I’ll awaken to a different perspective. The item or detail I thought was oh-so-important didn’t need as much attention. But the thing I had overlooked suddenly became essential.

I find comfort in knowing that despite the countless demands on Jesus’ time and the importance of His ministry—He still takes time away to rest and reconnect with God through prayer. Pulling away from the everyday demands is essential.

Sometimes we can convince ourselves that unless we can get a two-week vacation or an entire weekend off we can’t experience the rest, rejuvenation, and reorientation God wants to give us. But God can do amazing things with only small pockets of time.

Jesus extends the invitation to come away. In Mark 6:31, Jesus instructs His followers to “Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest for a while.” The word oligos in the Greek that’s translated “a while” actually means “little, small, few”. I love this detail! Because it means God can do great things with only a sliver of time.

Don’t miss the invitation to come away with Christ to be renewed and restored.

Reflecting on Mark 6:31, how is Jesus making this invitation to you right now? What’s stopping you from responding?


IMG_9397smallerMargaret Feinberg is a popular Bible teacher and speaker at churches and leading conferences such as Catalyst, Thrive and Extraordinary Women. Her books and Bible studies have sold over 600,000 copies including The Organic GodScouting the Divine, and Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God. Margaret currently lives in Morrison, Colorado, with her husband, Leif and their superpup, Hershey.

 This post adapted from Wonderstruck: Awaken to the Nearness of God DVD Bible Study. For a sneak peek, click here.


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  1. HisFireFly

    rest, sweet rest, a gift He freely gives to all who will receive
    thank you for the gentle shove

    • Margaret Feinberg


  2. Jean Wise

    You have identify one of the biggest burdens for me too. I love it when Elijah was so discouraged and God feed him and let him rest before moving on. Such wise and practical help. You are so right too about finding and embracing the pockets of rest throughout the day.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Amen, Jean! Praying that you discover rest today!

  3. Celeste

    This makes sense to me and I could write down all the howcomes and the why nots explaining why I am sooo tired…sufficienr to say this is me.

    I am looking for that sliver of time. I feel one step forward, two steps backward.

    Which means that I need two nights of good sleep to make up for the one lousy sleep. Anyway, I take heart from these words.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Celeste, praying that you find joy, grace, and rest today!

  4. Kris Camealy

    This rings true for me as well. Lack of sleep and rest makes me weak in so many ways. I am thankful that God can do much with little. That is a great gift.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      A great gift indeed, Kris!

  5. ro elliott

    Yes…isn’t God a restorative God…always leading us to rest in Him…drawing us to find our sabbath rest…and invites us to an ever deepening love relationship which always leads us into deeper rest. I love love this book…Margaret,I live more wonderstruck of God because of your words and wisdom. Thanks for the opportunity Shelly…I only have a kindle copy….a hard copy would be wonderful. Blessings

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Ro, I am so glad you continue to enjoy Wonderstruck!

  6. Mary Gemmill

    I agree that is so much harder to remember to pray when we are sleep-deprived
    and exhausted- at those times I ask my prayer partners to pray FOR me 🙂
    My heart responded in agreement to these words you write:
    By taking time—even if only a portion of a day—to stop working and rest, I’m reminded that God holds all things together. Not me. Rest helps reorient my life Godward.. Amen- I agree. I need to STOP my busyness, close my eyes or look out at nature around me- and rest my heart dwelling on HIM for a while- thern peace is restored.
    I love Margaret Feinberg’s writing- she ” hits the spot” so succinctly, as you have done in this post.

    Thank you!

  7. Mary Gemmill

    Am I allowed 2 comments? A relevant quote fromMargaret Feinberg just turned up in my inbox:

    God often chooses to reveal the wonder of Himself in quiet moments. Sit in silence for twenty unbroken minutes. Set an alarm, if need be, so you know how much time has passed. Keep paper and pen nearby to write down any fluttering thoughts. Embrace the silence then invite God to speak. Reflect on what you hear in this posture of listening. Pray that God reminds you of people for whom you can pray. Ask God to bring scriptures to mind that he wants you to consider. Enjoy the wondrous silence of just being in God’s presence.

    – Margaret Feinburg, Wonderstruck

    • Margaret Feinberg

      I am so thrilled this resonated with you, Mary!

  8. janetb1

    For me it is the computer. I need to put it down.
    Thank you for the giveaway! I would so love to win this.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Janet, praying for grace, joy, and mercy for you today!

  9. Courtney Buxton

    I like that detail of going to a place that is “lonely.” Sometimes being completely alone with God is such a treat and welcome release in this busy, noisy world. I also appreciate that he can work in just a moment – he is capable!

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Courtney, amen!

  10. Sandra Heska King

    Yes, we forget how important simple physical sleep is. And now I’m off to check out Mark 6:31 and oligos in detail. (I just had a vision of Susanna Wesley’s small lonely place–under the cover of her apron.)

    One of the things that continues to hold me back is plain old physical clutter. I’m perpetually working towards a more minimalist style in my home to give more more white space in my life.

    Since I’ve already worn out Wonderstruck, I’ll be crossing my fingers for one of the other books. They’re all on my wish list. 🙂

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Love this, Sandra!

  11. DeanneMoore

    I too love the small detail that Jesus and his disciples rested “a little while.” It makes me try to picture what that might have looked like. They certainly weren’t crawling into 1,000 thread count sheets or rolling out the memory foam. The key was they turned aside to do it. (A hammock under a big oak would be lovely!) Finding rest is intentional like so many things in our lives, things that bring us alive to even greater things. Thanks Margaret for Wonderstruck. Loved it and how God is using your life and your beautiful gifts.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Deanne, I am so thrilled you enjoyed Wonderstruck!

  12. Jillie

    Hi Shelly. Wonderful post from Margaret this morning. I know that one thing, and it’s a biggie, is use of the computer first thing in the morning. This robs me of valuable God time. And yet, I do it every day. AND, sleeping-in, like I’ve done, again today. I’m making myself angry, at myself! If computer time could be equated with my “rest time”, then I’m getting way too much “rest time”.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Jillie, I am so glad you enjoyed the post! Praying that God would help you with time management!

  13. Sandi H.

    Too often we see rest as a luxury or find pride in being so busy. Knowing and truly believing that God is the one that holds all things together allows for a rest that is deep and satisfying.
    Loved the post… thanks

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Amen, amen, amen, Sandi!

  14. Nancy Franson

    I think I’ve bought and given away at least 8 copies of this book in addition to the one I’ve got on my Kindle (which is very heavily highlighted). I think I need to own a hard copy for myself 🙂

    My pastor is quite passionate in his preaching about the importance of observing Sabbath–of receiving it as a gift. Something I’ve been thinking about since he taught about it recently is that when God became angry with his people, he withheld rest from them. When they tested Him in the wilderness, He swore they would never enter His rest.

    Peace and rest are mine in Christ when I cease striving and submit, remembering that He is God and I am not. But these are gifts I so often forfeit when I insist on doing things my way.

    So lovely seeing the two of you together here in this space.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Nancy, beautifully written! Praying for grace, joy, and mercy for you today!

  15. kw

    Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning (Ps 30:5) As our Father wraps his arms around us, we rest in his care – sleep or sleepless…

    • Margaret Feinberg


  16. Emily

    Time management is my biggest struggle to getting enough rest.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Emily, praying for time for you today!

    • Shelly Miller

      Congratulations Emily! You were selected as the winner of Margaret’s book, Wonderstruck. I think I have your email address but send it to me anyway at I know you will love it.

      • Emily

        So excited to win. I can’t wait to begin reading! Thank you.

  17. LuAnn

    This sweet truth about rest encourages me, the often tired. Margaret Feinberg’s words that share this truth are as clear, refreshing and invigorating as a cold glass of pure water on a sweltering day. Also, chapter 8 of her book Wonderstruck is life-changing. I encourage anyone who has lived long or even not too long (since I’m 54 I mean any one over, say 12:), to read her book.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      LuAnn, praying that God continues to leave you Wonderstruck!

  18. Diane Bailey

    Typically, my rest is interrupted, especially on the Sabbath, by my own lack of discipline. I seem to be programed to feel that I am being slothful when I am resting. It is a lie from the pit, but one I quickly respond to.

    I have Margaret’s book, Wonderstruck, and LOVE it!

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Diane, I am so thrilled you enjoyed Wonderstruck!

  19. Linda@Creekside

    For sure, our spirits, minds, bodies are intricately connected, woven together with wisdom and beauty by the Lover of our souls! A lack in one life arena ends up as a domino effect on the rest of who we are, knocking the pins out from under us. I loved this, Margaret! And I’m so glad to meet you today …

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Linda, beautifully stated!

  20. Anna White

    Too many things to do and not enough hours in the day!

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Amen, Anna!

  21. Vintage Revd

    Absolutely loved this post. Such a tonic for the busy London life! Many thanks.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      I am so thrilled it resonated with you!

  22. JViola79

    Loved this post. What an amazing word, “oligos” – a small sliver of time. Our God knows that there are days that a small sliver of time is all we have & He fills it big enough to meet the demands of the day. Thank you so much for that thought & the giveaway. Would love to read the entire book.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      I am so thrilled you enjoyed it!

  23. Marilyn

    Very timely! Getting ready to get away for a few days of rest with my husband.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Marilyn, praying for that time for your to rest and relax!

  24. Jane Fawkes

    This post made my day. I’m in the middle of three weeks of madness, with work, church commitments and the end of the school term in the UK all colliding to create a storm of no space. I’ve not managed to observe a whole day of Sabbath for the last two weeks, and feeling it. However, since joining the Sabbath Society I’ve been learning how to rest. On Saturday afternoon I had a spare hour between activities. I went out into the garden, lay down and slept. A year ago I would have never given myself permission to do this, I considered it lazy. Now I recognise how important it is to my physical and spiritual well being these times are. What made it more special was Emma was staying, we are learning how to rest as friends. We commented afterwards how much we have both changed and have both felt the benefits of practising Sabbath. I love the fact we are invited by God to take away ourselves and stop, I’m learning how to find that space. Thank you.

    • Margaret Feinberg

      Jane, I am so glad you enjoyed it! And am so thrilled to hear that you are learning and giving yourself permission to rest!

  25. Chris Malkemes

    Great post (yes I’m late), I loved it. Your words add a whole knew perspective on what Jesus told us. “Come. Enter into My rest.” In Him alone our rest is complete.

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