Do You Need A Rest?

Jen’s Gem: Your rest is blessed.

My dear friend and Elevate the Day podcast co-host, Karen Salisbury recently gifted me a book on the topic of resting. I devoured its contents in a few hours. Clearly I have a lot to learn about this sought-after goal. It was an outstanding read and every page contained insights about the need for and the importance of true rest. (Click here to order a copy.)

For me, the last month of 2021 contained both forced and planned rest. Forced rest due to my hand surgery. Planned rest for the holidays. During this much-needed time off, I have slept in nearly every single day. Waking up close to 9 or 10 a.m. has been “delicious” as one of my besties would say.

However, it’s also been disconcerting. I’m an early riser and sleeping in threw off my “routine.”  I felt less productive and struggled to find my way through my day. Wait…isn’t that what vacation is supposed to be? Unproductive and unstructured?

Guess I didn’t get the memo!

Long defined by accomplishments and completed to-do lists, initially this carefree time left me scratching my head. Who am I if I am not producing something? What is my worth and value if I don’t complete my list of chores?

Here’s what God’s Word says about my worth and value (emphasis mine):

“Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.” (Matthew 10:29-31 NKJV)

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16 NKJV)

Each of us is likely in desperate need of rest after the events of the past couple of years. Operating at a speed that would make the Energizer Bunny look like a slacker, we have been going non-stop. It’s more than tired. It’s more than  weariness. It’s burnout.

Our candles are barely flickering at both ends as we seek the deep respite and restoration for our bodies, minds, and souls that a one hour mani/pedi cannot provide. We view rest as a luxury as opposed to a necessity in our uber-productive society that rewards busy-ness. This is not God’s intention.

We see no commandment from God that says “Thou shalt work yourselves to death and then you can retire.” Quite the contrary. God was so intent on the importance of rest that He dedicated and blessed a whole day for it – the Sabbath.

“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh dayTherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it. (Exodus 20:8-11 NKJV; emphasis mine)

Even God, the Creator of everything took a rest from His work. Now let’s be clear. God was not tired after He finished creating the universe. He didn’t collapse on the couch in exhaustion and binge watch the latest Netflix series after He put the finishing touches on our planet.

God doesn’t get tired but He knew we would. Our human bodies are not designed to run 24/7/365. God knew ahead of time that we would need to restore ourselves periodically if we were to complete our race. So He made rest a ‘rule.’ Yet it’s a rule with a blessing as you can see from the last verse in Exodus above. Set aside one day for rest and you will be blessed. Wow! 

If you read the New Testament, there are oodles of times where Jesus took some time off. He often went away in solitude to spend time with His Father, rest his physical body so that He could fulfill His purpose. 

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28 NKJV)

As you crack open your 2022 planners, I want to encourage you to add regular “R&R” to your calendar. Not in bits and pieces but true rest. How about a weekend or longer at the ocean? Perhaps a trip to the desert or mountains if that’s your fancy. If these getaways are not in your budget, step away to a local quiet place each day devoid of people, phones, and other distractions. Make the world go away so you can see and hear from God.

Professional athletes have rest days. Nature is in a period of rest here in the northeast. Your Father in heaven rested. His Son Jesus rested. So can you.

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Jennifer Covello, Copyright 2011-2024