Have you ever been in such a busy season that it’s hard to even enjoy what you’re a part of? Even the most life-giving activities need to be balanced by a time of rest.
Real rest is hard. Especially when we view rest as the opposite of productivity. Making a space in our schedules for rest is usually accompanied by reluctance and the idea that we simply won’t get as much done.
Yes, society tells us that self-care is important… but doesn’t society also tell us that the best self-care is being productive and successful? What does this say about us? How do we reach our potential and also value rest?
It probably feels restful to cozy up on the couch and watch a new tv show for a few hours. Or allow yourself some extra uninterrupted time on social media. However, these things are actually just distracting you from true restorative rest.
Rest and Faith
There are rhythms of rest woven throughout the Christian faith. God did not intend for our lives to be as busy and hectic as they are now. Our culture welcomes distractions, but distractions draw us away from rest more than anything.
Our God of the Bible works in patterns and through seasons of life. After creation, there was a full day of rest. After exile, there was a promised land. Slaves were freed and debts were forgiven each year of Jubilee. Jesus retreated to pray in solitude morning and night. The coming new heaven and new earth are promised to bring joy, relief from suffering, and infinite community.
Is your heart calling you to adopt a new rhythm? Do you know that God prescribes rest because it actually makes you more effective in work, less distracted, and more in tune with the Holy Spirit and God’s love for you? Rest is a gift. A gift that helps you in all other areas of your life.
The most outward example of rest in the Bible is the Sabbath. Every seventh day God commands the Israelites to rest from all of their work, following His example in creation. The Sabbath rest has existed long before our culture and long before our notions of self-care. Don’t get me wrong, God still loves you even if you don’t practice the Sabbath. But Sabbath rest is a gift from God to us.
How can we even practice the Sabbath? Choosing a day of the week to not work on your job, homework, or even housework is a place to start. Don’t just use that time to entertain yourself, though. Spend extra time with the Lord, maybe go on a walk with yourself or a loved one. Make one of your favorite meals and enjoy it. Make time for an activity that you love and don’t get to do very often. Sing songs with your family, read a great book, take a nap in the sun! Your day of rest should be a source of joy to you and be filled with your favorite things.
Implementing the Sabbath in your life could make a huge difference in your work, your relationships, and your spiritual life. Even if you feel like you can’t set aside a full day, start with devoting an afternoon to Sabbath rest. Regular rest adds a holy rhythm to your life, and helps you renew your mind each week to God’s promises. God will meet your efforts with faithfulness and transformation!
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