I have a confession to make. I have a hard time sitting still. Now, those of you who know me are probably laughing right now, but really, resting is hard. After decades of working shift work, caring for a family, and also participating in community activities, I find it hard to relax. I struggle with the need to feel “productive”. Maybe you can relate.
While camping with my family recently, I enjoyed a very relaxing day doing nothing! Well, I reclined in a camp chair and read a book all day. But seriously, how often do we take the time to relax and do nothing?
So often in our busy world, we idolize productivity and feel guilty if we take any time to just rest. As a result, we often feel weary, tired, and depleted. Jesus said: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-29
God created rest. We NEED rest! For our bodies, our minds, and our souls. As in nature, there are seasons of growth and dormancy. We require physical rest to refuel our energy each day. Our minds need rest to refresh our imaginations and dreams. Our souls need rest to release the anxiety and worry of each day and find peace, calm and restoration. “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day, he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”(Genesis 2:2-3)
In past generations, everything was closed on Sundays, which was usually a day of rest from the physical stress of farm or factory work. A time for family, church, community, and personal rest.
Unfortunately, we have created an international 24-hour working cycle which allows little downtime for rest or relaxation. Even our hobbies keep us so busy we often don’t take time to slow down, relax, and daydream. Our minds need time off to dream and imagine. Rest helps us ‘create’ and explore beyond the tasks and duties of our everyday lives. We need to find a balance between accomplishing tasks and spending time in leisure.
Even Jesus spent time in rest and escaped the crowds who sought his teaching; the disciples who craved his companionship; as he sought rest and communion with God, his father, in the desert alone. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.” Mark 1:35
I encourage you today to make time for yourself to rest, relax, and daydream. Even if it is only for ten minutes with a quiet cup of tea or a walk around the block. Or schedule some time to take a break from your daily pressures and do something that refreshes you. I’ll join you as I sit down, relax, and take a deep dive into another book.