10 Surprising Songs for When You Need to Rest in God


{Join me for a Lectio Divina from this next Sunday’s lectionary below and listen to this great hope that we have from 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. Subscribe on the right to receive a weekly lectio divina in your inbox and join the SLOW Word Movement.}


I woke up on Sunday morning with what Brene Brown calls a vulnerability hangover.


Saturday I led a workshop at our Diocesan Synod on overcoming anxiety by learning to rest in God’s love. My talk was not some nice info I spliced together from a pile of books I’ve read all neatly objective. What I presented was my own story filled with the debilitating paralysis from anxiety and how God is healing my brain through his love. It was a complete joy to share and the fact that many experienced God’s love in a fresh way, I felt like Mary witnessing Easter. But when I woke up on Sunday morning my legs were slow and my brain was slower. I sat in the bath filled with Epsom salts and put my finger on it. It felt like the outskirts of depression.


When I was in the parish, every Sunday night this hangover drove me to escape into the Help Wanted Ads looking for those ever cliche greener pastures.


This time, however, I was expecting it.  Vulnerability hangovers are a part of the risk of using our deepest wounds to offer others the greatest healing. The day after big movements of ministry, I always have two thoughts: first, maybe I overshared and they’re going to think I’m an idiot, and second, perhaps it will all come to nothing. Even worse: Why did I offer anyways? Sounds like a toxic cocktail of my greatest fear and Satan’s greatest lie, right? But I’ve heard it all before.


That cocktail no longer has the power it once had.



First, I’ve received such powerful healing that sharing is integral to my gratitude. I can’t stop. I’m the woman at the well running towards the townspeople, “Let me take you to a Man…”

I’ve finally separated my deepest lie, “I will always be rejected,” from physical exhaustion. It’s no longer intertwined. Now, I know to rest, eat healthy food, exercise, and keep clear of the toxic whirl.

Second, I again recognize that it’s not about me. That truth is a deep sigh of relief.  I’m not the center of the world. I’m not the center of God’s world. I’m just a pointer to Jesus.

Third, He’s in charge of outcomes, I can only be responsible for offering.


But when I’m deep in the exhaustion of a vulnerability hangover and crawling back into life I often use music. I’m too tired for journaling. I’m too tired to pray. I can only pray through liturgy or music.


This is what the movement of my music listening prayer sounds like. It’s a sampling of my favorites from bluegrass to pop, from the profound to the quirky. I hope you’ll find a deep breath right here:


When I have a ministry hangover I often start here acknowledging the exhaustion:





Songs for resting in God’s love:



We’ve got all of these Scripture Lullaby albums. The kids often go to sleep to them. Loveliness. You can buy them here:


This next song is for celebrating our smallness and worshipping. I bought this album before one of our trips to Mount Desert Island, Maine and every time I hear the words, it’s forever linked to the winding drive up to Cadillac mountain, the bald rock hills on one side, the oceans dotted with islands on the other. Nature always reminds me how small I am, that I’m a very small part of a great big redemption story. I can say yes to my very small part and then turn and worship.




This song by Audrey Assad is an invitation to confession. It comes from the Litany of Humility here. As I listen, I ask myself, “Am I holding onto outcomes? Was I hoping it would be a validating experience, that I would come out as the hero of the story?”



After confession, we receive the victory of Christ and start to walk into hope. This song by Steffany Gretzinger takes twists and turns and captures us by surprise but somehow it’s exactly what we needed to hear:



This song is perfect when I’m exhausted in the morning but still need to get going: (This song from The Brilliance is usually on repeat while I make breakfast.)



When you’re ready to move out into the day. We are late the the Josh Garrels party but oh. my. word. after hearing this two part podcast about his vision for his vocation, we fell hard:


Quirky to the Nth Degree, this song is from my favorite movie, About Time. It’s a gentle reminder to listen to the spaces of redemption among the ordinary.



And then prayers for further anointing:


I’m linking with #tellhisstory over with the fantastic encouragement guru Jennifer Dukes Lee here.

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  1. Summer—how I know the debilitating anxiety and depression. I am in a dessert season right now…anxiety and depression are my companions….I am trying to feel God holding my hand, but I feel nothing. I KNOW in my head and somewhere in my heart that He is there right now loving me. And it feels very empty and lonely. I can barely pray–I am so glad that the Holy Spirit carries my groanings to the Lord. I am trying to reach out, but it seems every one is busy and everyone I call is in their own “stuff”. I will be ok in time. Pray for me, ok??

    1. Praying for you right now Diane. And emailing you the name of someone I think will be an amazing gift. Much love, my dear.

      1. Diane, I am sorry to hear about the season you are in. I have been there too, my friend. Still am, to a degree. It’s hard, I know. Hang in there and keep clinging to God. (I share my journey through all this at my blog, https://lovehealme.blogspot.com.)

        And not to make light of it, but may I point out that you said you are in a “dessert season,” instead of “desert season.” I know it’s a typo, but I LOVE that. I love that a tiny little adjustment changes our “deserts” into “desserts.” It reminds me that oftentimes the best things come from the hardest times … that even in our driest, desert times, God brings sweet blessings. It just might take us a while to see them. Hang in there … deserts transform into desserts eventually! I’m saying a prayer for you!

  2. Thank you for sharing these songs and for being honest about your anxiety/depression. I, too, have been dealing with that for awhile and trying to learn to rest in God and let Him heal my fragile mind. It’s quite the journey. But it’s very humbling. And it’s encouraging to hear other people being transparent about their own struggles. I don’t think we can ever “share too much” when it’s honest and comes from a heart that desires to help. God bless you!

    1. Heather, I hear you. It’s an extremely difficult journey for some of us and learning the landmines is essential for our health. I found that my struggle affected my family in a huge way and the more healing I get, the less gets passed on to my kids. Praying blessings on your hard work.

  3. Ms. Summer,
    I feel the same panicky way most Wednesday morning s after I finish leading my Bible study. I loved this post. I have come to be grateful for the insecurity as it is a reminder my group is not mine, but God’s. Thanks for including the songs!

    1. Janelle, that’s powerful: “I have come to be grateful for the insecurity as it is a reminder my group is not mine, but God’s.”

  4. Hi Summer, thank you for sharing this list of songs! I found all of them (minus the lullaby) on Spotify and have created a playlist, “Rest In God Summer Gross.” I hope to meet you someday; my husband is an ADOTS priest. I missed Synod this year, so maybe I’ll get to hear you speak another time. Blessings, Elizabeth

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