As I was running this morning, I was thinking about what do the women in my life need to hear this morning. The sun was coming up and was so beautiful. There is something about running that makes it a great time to think. My first thought was, they need to hear to make time for and respect the need for rest. My next thought, which felt bizarre was…running provides rest and clarity for me.
The 4 Letter Word
I know its not that way for everyone. And it doesn’t need to be. But in that moment when I was thinking of you all. I was thinking about our need for rest. REST…It’s one of those words that is hard to define. But I think rest encompasses calm, peace, being able to let down, and sense of feeling relaxed. Rest is something that we need to incorporate into our life for our whole person- physical, mental, spiritual, and social. Rest refuels us for the everyday nitty gritty way we do life.
Not to sound wishy washy but rest is a very individual thing. What rest means varies from person to person.
As I am writing this, it is Saturday. Saturday could be looked at as a common day of rest. It’s the end of the week and a lot of people have the day off from work. And Sunday even more practical and rooted in a Christian perspective of spiritual refreshment and rest. However, let’s be honest, often times Saturdays and Sundays are not only…not rest days… they are power days. Saturdays and Sundays are easier days to get all of our stuff done for so many reasons: off from work, spouse is home, kids are occupied with other activities, and… So often our approach to Saturdays and Sundays is to pack as much into them as possible: errands, exercise, social activities, cleaning, catching the kids up on activities or school work, and on the list goes. We use Saturdays and Sundays to get caught up after a busy week. We use them to accomplish everything we need to at home, with friends, and out and about that we can’t accomplish during the week. It feels like the weekends are more of a race then anything else.
Check It Out
Rest is important. It is commanded by God important. It is health and wellbeing important. It is finding fulfillment in relationships and interests important. It is connecting with God important. While, it can be easy to let it slip by and not do rest, it needs to be a regular part of our lives.
For those of you that know me or have read my posts before, you know that what the Bible says and God’s view of me is so important. God’s desire for us is to work hard and then to rest. He is the God of the universe and yet He built rest for Himself into His days of creation (Genesis 2:1-2). He has made us for hard work and rest.Time after time God offers his people rest and relaxation. He asked His disciples to rest after their hard work by taking them by boat to a secluded place (Mark 6:31-32). Scripture goes as far as to say that rushing about and getting up early and going to bed late to get things done is toiling in vain and that God blesses those that sleep (Psalms 127:2). Interesting to think about and let that soak in. He tells us to rest and offers to take the burdens that we have so we can rest (Psalm 23). Matthew 11:28-30 ESV “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” We need to take advantage of this need and this offering from the Lord. For more information about God’s provision and desire for rest for us, check out this sermon by my brother-in-law, Matthew Scogin, The Rest of Your Life (January 6, 2013). The perspective that he shares from scripture and the challenge he gives is powerful.
There is not an exact formula for rest. The most important thing is just to do it. Rest is one of those things that doesn’t just happen. The only way it will happen is by making the choice to set aside time for it.
Take a Look
I am going to share with you several ways to incorporate rest into your schedule. But before I do that, take a minute to think about a couple of things. Think about your days and life for a moment. What sounds restful and peaceful? Jot them down. They may be activities, words, or lack of activities.
Now list the categories: mental, physical, spiritual, and social. Jot down a few words that those areas of your life are about right now. Now put a star by the top two areas that you need rest in. If that feels hard, rate each area on a scale of 1-10 (1 is dead tired, beaten down and 10 is completely refreshed).
Now with those thoughts in mind. Here are several ways to incorporate rest into your already busy schedule.
- Schedule rest into your calendar: If you don’t squeeze it in to your calendar, it won’t happen.
- For your first period of rest, make a list or plan in advance for what you will need to rest
- Anticipate the obstacles or quirks that keep you from resting: kids, too many obligations, a noisy household, someone needing 24 hour care
- Take what you can get: It won’t look the same for everyone. For some people, it will be a day for others it may be just a matter of minutes.
- Don’t give up: If at first you don’t succeed try try again
We need to be realistic about what it takes to be the women we want to be. When we are not rested the people around us suffer. Take a look at the kind of rest that you need. Make time for it. Then find someone that will support you in this effort.