The Importance of Rest

Like many, I struggle to know how to rest.  I waste my time sufficiently but true rest seems to escape me. Not that long ago I found myself feeling completely burned out and on the express route to bitterness. I had forgotten that we are intended to rest and be refilled. After all, even God rested on the seventh day. One of the dangers in never stopping to rest is misplaced identity. We are not what we do. God chose to love us as we are before we did any work to become holy.

There are countless books written to help us understand the importance of rest. Let me save you some time. Here’s the gist, if you don’t stop to rest how can you live the life you were intended to live? It’s simple really.  How can we continue to serve when there is nothing left in our cups? How can we continue to experience the blessings given to us if we do not have time to enjoy them? So what does this mean? Practically speaking maybe this means you may say “no” to the next ministry opportunity that comes your way. Maybe it’s staying in on a Friday night. Maybe it’s reading a book.  It can mean a wide range of things for you individually, down to are you sleeping enough?

Another argument for rest is allowing room in your life for the unexpected. If we are constantly overloaded, how can we be available to the opportunities or emergencies that present themselves to us? We are then faced with having to turn down or “squeeze in” an event that might be enjoyable or something we feel responsible for.

Furthermore, being consistently over-committed and overloaded creates a significant difficulty in attending to the relationships in our lives. Our relationships suffer and we often fail to equate our busy lives with this problem. If we are truly resting and allowing space in our lives, we will be able to be more attentive to the relationships we are engaged in. We are more apt to be ourselves when we are rested. Often stress and being overburdened leaves us at our worst. Allow yourself time to rest and be refreshed. You were intended to labor but you are also responsible to take care of yourself by enjoying life, restoring yourself (physically, mentally, and emotionally), and being available for the unexpected.

If you happen to be a reader and are looking for more on this subject, here are a few of my recommendations:

Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend

Margin: Restoring Emotional, Physical, Financial, and Time Reserves to Overloaded Lives by Richard Swenson

Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver

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