Off-Topic Thursday: The Need for Rest
As I write this, I’ve had less than two hours of sleep in the past 36 hours or so, which means the importance of rest is on my mind—since I haven’t had much.
Even when I haven’t had the enforced lack of sleep (due to an ER visit and some associated waiting and activity), I tend to stay up too late, and/or get up too early. I have my tasks that need to be done, and I push myself very hard to make sure I do as many as I can, even if that means I live my life somewhere between tired and exhausted all the time.
In American society, and several others, that would be lauded. I’m working hard, achieving my goals, doing what has to be done, and so on. But is that really what I’m doing?
There are times when we need to work extra hard, put in some more effort than usual. Those must be brief, though. At a time when the lives of Jesus and His disciples were like that, this is what the Bible says, “Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, He said to them,’Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.’”
The work they were doing was valuable. It was ministry. People were being helped, and any time they took for themselves was time away from people who needed them. And yet Jesus tells them they need to take that time.
It’s a matter of relinquishing control. When I rest I am telling God that I recognize that I am not indispensable. and I am not infinite. I will trust Him while I rest that He will take care of what needs to be taken care of, and He will restore me so that I can continue to serve Him.
Physical rest restores our bodies. Sleep restores our minds. “Resting in God” restores our souls. All are necessary—and no one has to tell you when you’re not getting enough of any of them.
There is so much I could say on this. We could go in depth on the meaning of rest, spiritual applications, and more. Instead, I offer you this encouragement and challenge: Look at your to-do list for today and choose one item that you will intentionally not do, and rest instead. Take a nap (or go to bed earlier than usual). Watch a movie. Read a book for fun. Play a game. Do something—or nothing—that allows you to get away and rest.
It could be something that takes a few minutes, or a few hours. It doesn’t matter. The point is to accept your limitations, acknowledge your dependence on and trust in God, and give your mind, body, and soul the rest they need.
And now, I will take up my own challenge, and go get some rest.
Question: What are you choosing to remove from your list for today, and rest in its place? How do you feel about doing that? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.