Discovering the Importance of Rest

Why did I reach to write this article, and the word lazy was put on my heart? Rest doesn’t equate to lazy in any sense.

I think I know why though. Because we live in a culture that is go, go, go-push, push, push-squeeze, squeeze, squeeze. Go faster, push harder, and squeeze in more. We don’t go to rest often. Rest can elicit a sense of failing or not doing enough. We find so much importance in the noise and busyness produced by our lives that we down play the need to rest. It comes second, maybe third or sometimes not at all (sleep is not the same as rest!) Maybe it is because we don’t value rest the way we value getting ahead, or moving forward. And I don’t think it is because we don’t want to value rest, it is instead we don’t understand the value of rest-not just in our physical bodies, but how essential it also is to our minds and souls.

Though we are called to give our best-just as Jesus put his best forth-we should still maintain a healthy balance of work and rest and all else going on in our lives. My problem for a while was I just didn’t really know how to. I would do, get overwhelmed-slow down, get frustrated-and start the cycle all over again.

I’m starting to look to see what God says about rest.

One thing I know for sure is we need to rest. The more obvious reasons are to rejuvenate and recharge, but so many of us can go on without doing this (burnout). That is the physical, but I was thinking-what is this doing to our spirits?

If we are running around always creating more to do, how can we know to slow down and lean into God? God whispers to us. How can we hear and interpret those whispers if the noise of our busy lives drown them out?

Throughout scripture God calls us to rest in him. Jesus tells us in Matthew 11:28 “come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Putting physical tiredness aside, I think he commands us to rest in him to save us from spiritual weariness. His command to rest is simply a piece of wisdom. When we are worn out mentally and we feel low, we can’t give our best. Jesus knew this. He knew the demands this life would have on us, and he knew we needed to rest from them.

I think God communicates the importance of rest not only through his word , but also through his own nature. Even God, the Almighty, all-powerful, amazing Maker of this universe-even he had to rest after pressing out all of creation. It says in Genesis that “on the seventh day God finished all his work of creation, so he rested from all his work” (2:2). So my thoughts are, if God had to rest while putting forth his best, and I was made in his image, why do I think I can skip out on resting, and still be at my best? I can’t. Rest is sequential and essential in the routine of a person who puts forth his or her best. Hebrews 4:10 reminds us that rest is set a part from all other parts of our routine, saying, “for all who have entered into God’s rest have rested from their labors, just as God did after creating the world”. We get this same rest-in God of course!

Putting time aside to rest, is obedient to the word of God and it also positions you to move toward spiritual fitness. You can be a devout person of faith, but if you are always stressed and go through life without experiencing the peace of God in your life, you are not experiencing optimal spiritual fitness. Scripture describes the importance of spiritual fitness, placing the importance above physical fitness (“physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come” 1 Timothy 4:8). Prepping our bodies will get us through the physical labors of this life, but training to live for God serves beyond the physical and into eternity, however still offering us wholesomeness and a sound mind, here in this life.

I encourage you to pick a day of the week that you disconnect to reconnect. Pick a day and time you walk away from the work and from the chaos and you rest in God. Here everything is okay, and here we understand his divinity.

Be still, and know that I am God! 
-Psalm 46:10

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