Part Five in the Series:
What is your default speed or pace of life? Perhaps, like me, you have two speeds–on or off. You’re either doing or sleeping and your doing is at a pretty aggressive pace throughout the day. Perhaps your personality drives it, the achiever in you striving daily to see what you might be able to accomplish if I put my mind (body and soul) into it. Does this sound like you or someone you know? The problem for many is–this is our pace every day.
We have mastered speed, productivity or at least, the go-go-go mindset. It is vital that we learn to slow, to pause, to bring down the RPMs and to master REST.
Well-trained runners understand the benefit of rest. They know that muscles need recovery in order to perform at their best. The runner who hits the trails seven days a week is missing out on a crucial part of their training–the rest/recovery. And it goes beyond just our bodies, it is part of the mental conditioning as well. Don’t we perform better when we know what the end game is, when we know there is a day off? What would it look like if you had to work day after day without knowing when your next day off would be given? Perhaps you work like that now! We need the carrot. We need to anticipate and work towards the reward. And, there is a great deal of reward in resting.
REST is a critical part of our daily and weekly rhythm. Our bodies, minds and souls need regular and strategic pauses–pauses that allow us to recharge, refocus and truly rest.
What is true rest? Sure, sleep is important and most of us need more of it. But it is not the same as rest. Taking a nap to give us the push we need to finish out our day can make all the difference, but it is that “grab a quick 10 minutes so I can power through” mindset that leads to exhaustion and eventually burnout.
What if I get comfortable on the couch and check in on my Instagram account, does that count as rest? Brain science actually shows that scrolling through social media, playing a game on our phones, watching television or having a conversation with someone does not qualify as rest. While our bodies may not be in motion and we are not “working”, it does not qualify as rest because our brains are not actually getting a break.
Do you ever find yourself wanting to schedule your day off or the couple of free hours you have? What am I going to do with my “time off” you ask?
In today’s world, we never allow ourselves to be bored, to daydream or let our minds wander. When we have a moment to spare, when we are on the train, waiting in line–what do we do? We look at our phones! Have you tried recently to just stand in line and wait? Nothing else. Just look around…think.
True rest gives the body, mind and soul, collectively, the proper pause they need to recharge.
Consider…No…Experience the benefits of doing nothing. Experience true rest. It is the slowing, ceasing, setting work and all thoughts of work aside, giving yourself permission to just be still.
Yes, I am actually suggesting that you do nothing–absolutely nothing!
Research continues to show that doing nothing can lead to new ideas, creativity, better problem solving, and less stress.
WAYS TO REST: Here are a few suggestions that you can add to based on all you have learned and discovered from our R=6+1 series, knowing that it may be hard to do at first but with intentionality, it will be key to solving for “R”:
- Do nothing – absolutely nothing.
- Sit in your favorite chair and allow your mind to wander.
- Take an easy walk and find a bench and just sit. Let the sun warm your face.
- Watch your children or grandchildren at play. Linger there with no thought of work.
- Enjoy a meal – eat slowly – with no urgency to move on to “what’s next.”
- Settle in with a good book, feel your eyes get heavy and let them close.
- Read scripture. Pray. And listen. Rest in God’s presence.
Jesus rested with no guilt or apology, often with no warning or explanation. He unburdened himself and allowed himself to rest before he would be called upon again. He instructed us to take up his easy yoke, his burden is light. Jesus showed us how to live a good life. He worked, he taught, he rested, he prayed, he spent time alone and he enjoyed time around the table with friends, he ate well, and I imagine he laughed often.
It will take some practice and you will get better at it. Some of you might ease right into it. Wonderful! Slowly, but clearly the results will be felt in your “other 6”. We can actually work, create, wonder, dream, and lead better when we take the necessary rest. Let me put it another way, if we rest regularly and well, our doing actually improves. Not more doing……..better doing.
Greg McKeown, author of Effortless and Essentialism puts it this way:
Don’t do more today than you can recover from tomorrow.
- What new understanding are you taking away from this devotional about REST?
- How will you enjoy the practice of resting?
- Try a Spiritual Discipline. Adele Calhoon, author of the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook suggestions this exercise: Write down what a perfect day of rest would look like to you. Plan when you can take this day or a version of it. Schedule it on your calendar. Receive the gift of rest that God has given you.
Amy Moran | June 2023