Thanks to technology and innovation, our complex world has created more complexity for our lives. Since we can do more, we do more. My iPhone is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to me. It allows me to talk, text, email, shop, schedule, purchase, play, and watch every single minute of every single hour of each day – even when I shouldn’t be doing all of those things.
Then, there’s life. Life wears us down, right? Every 24 hours, we cycle through highs, lows, smiles and struggles. We can be celebrating in one minute and feeling like our life is over in the next. It’s exhausted just navigating the emotional and relational swings we must manage throughout the day. How in the world can we stack the deck in our favor so that we don’t break down under the pressure of life. In a word: REST.
When was the last time that you completely disconnected from your life and did absolutely nothing?
Folding laundry while watching television doesn’t count.
Worrying about how you are going to get your life done doesn’t count.
Neither does paying bills on your iPad in bed.
When was the last time you rested? Rest happens when we stop working at our jobs AND at home. Rest happens when we choose to disengage our minds from thinking about those tasks and life’s other pressures. Let me ask you again: When was the last time you rested?
I’m not good at resting. (My friends are laughing at me right now.)
I think some of you are bad at it, too. We don’t want to be bad at resting, but we are – for good reason, right? We are always taking care of someone or something. It doesn’t matter if you are single, married or single again, our feminine mindset drives us to constantly nurture or fix our environments. It doesn’t matter if you are motivating your sales staff, raising children, cleaning the house, listening to friends on the phone or growing our garden, most of us are ALWAYS doing something. Good things.
But, here’s a truth: At some point, we’ve got to press the “power down” button and voluntarily – even forcefully remove ourselves from the worship of Busyness. We must take time to sit our down and rest.
God Blesses Rest
I love that God blesses rest in Genesis 2:2-3:
“On the seventh day God had finished His work of creation, so He rested from all His work. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all His work of creation.”
Here is how God models rest for us:
1. God prioritized what He needed to do.
2. When God’s work was finished, He stopped and didn’t add anything else to it.
3. He didn’t let the pressures of future tasks get in the way of rest.
The Jewish word we use to describe the kind of rest God models for us is called a Sabbath. During Sabbath rest, we cease our labor. So, if you are employed, you’ll need to establish your Sabbath on your day off. If you work seven days a week, you need to rethink your job. Why would I make such a bold statement?
This is why: When we rest, we turn the care and custody of our lives into God’s hands for Him to protect and provide for us while we rejuvenate.
I understand that there may be certain periods of life when we work more than usual, but this should not be your constant rhythm of life. For the months that I was writing this book, I missed out on regular rest. When the book is over, reinstituting this discipline is my first task. (Even before catching up on my laundry!)
Friday is my day of rest. I love Fridays! I work about six days a week, except on Friday. Thursday nights are exciting for me because I know Friday’s up next. My toughest challenge is shutting down my brain from thinking about work. So, I read fiction books and eat grocery store sushi in bed. I take long walks and practice deep breathing. I sit and pray. Sometime, I just wander around my house in the quiet.
No matter the stress and pressure of my life, by the end of each Sabbath rest, my soul is refreshed and I feel alive again. I’m much more equipped to handle those pressures and bear up under those stresses after choosing to rest. Life happens, so we must rest in order to deal with life. I want you to be able to deal with life from a place of strength, rather than a place of just-barely-hanging-in-there. The choice is up to you.
When will YOU take the time to rest?
1. When you choose your day of rest, keep it as consistent as possible. Be vigilant until this becomes a part of your regular rhythm of life.
2. Do not schedule anything on that day! It’s not rest if you’ve got a schedule to follow. Just be.
3. What about mothers with children or women caring for elderly loved ones? God still wants you to experience rest! This means that you might need to get creative with solutions such as trading babysitting or even paying for respite care. Trust me, any expense or effort you put into arranging for your Sabbath rest will have an incredible ROI (return on investment)!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU? If you had a free day with nothing to do, how would you rest? Would it be easy or difficult for you to wind down and just “be”? How would you know that you actually rested?