Written by Cheryl & Dennis Gowin on October 27, 2016 at 9:55 am
Cheryl Gowin and Dennis Gowin. Call us at our counseling practice with your feedback, comments, issues, or questions at 434-808-2637.
Do you view rest as a luxury or a necessity? In your weekly schedule, what time have you allocated for rest? Can you remember the last time you rested? And when you were sick does not count as resting.
It has not been that long ago that the concept of Sunday as the day of rest was forced upon us. Some of the people reading this article may be surprised that not so many years ago, stores and businesses were not open on Sunday. Yes, Chick-fil-A did not come up with the concept of closing on Sunday. You could not work; you had to rest.
What is the meaning of rest? As a verb, rest is defined as ceasing work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength. As a noun, rest is an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity. To put another way, rest means taking a break from your usual demands and stresses of life. Complete rest encompasses the mental, spiritual, emotional, and physical components of life.
So why rest?
First, God gave us the example of resting. The creation story in Genesis tells us that on the seventh day God rested. In the New Testament, several examples of Jesus resting show Jesus’ view of the importance of sleep. In one example, Jesus slept in the front of a boat while his disciples struggled in a storm. After waking, Jesus told his disciples they also should have rested.
Second, rest prevents burnout. Burnout is the feeling of being depleted in every area of our life and needing radical rest to recover. Isn’t it logical that we take rest breaks in order to prevent burnout and the need for extreme rest? Our current day culture may consider rest as optional but the fact is that rest actually empowers us to work.
It is a myth that sleep is non-productive time. We are discovering that important biological processes are only performed during sleep. In spite of the pressures to do more and more, wisdom calls us to be good stewards of our bodies and allow time for sleep.
Modern inventions are not helping our rest cycles. Before the invention of electricity and artificial lights, people averaged 10 hours of sleep per night. Now, the average number of hours of nightly sleep is 6 to 7 hours. Artificial light allows us to keep working after the sun goes down. However, this artificial light interferes with our natural circadian rhythm that tells us when to sleep. Also, studies show that artificial light breaks down melatonin. The brain’s pineal gland produces melatonin at night and it is vital in regulating our sleep cycle, blood pressure, and body temperature.
Third, restful activities can help us renew links in our important relationships. Lack of rest can cause us to feel disconnected. If you don’t find time to rest, are you finding time for your relationships? Are you getting overwhelmed in doing and forgetting to reach out and connect?
What are some practical ways you can rest? Learn how to say no. Sometimes, rest involves saying “no” to others’ requests. Learn to listen to your need for rest. Your body and mind are limited in what they can do without rest. If you are having trouble concentrating, feeling unproductive, or having gloomy thoughts, listen to yourself and take a mental rest. This can involve getting outdoors for a few minutes, deep breathing, prayer, focusing on the things for which you are grateful. Give yourself permission to rest. Rest gives us perspective and helps us prioritize, making us more productive. Develop the discipline of rest by knowing when you are tired, knowing what works for you, and doing it. This week, make it a priority to set a pattern of rest. Your rest plan should include all elements of rest, spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. A way to help meet your plan is to be sure to include your spouse, family, and friends in your plan.
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Isaiah 30:15
Call us with your feedback, our phone number is 434-808-2637