Have you ever been so tired you couldn't think straight?
One evening, I made spaghetti and put the leftovers in the cupboard, not the fridge! I shook my head and laughed. What am I doing? I was exhausted.
The past few months had been a whirlwind, working full-time while writing a book and leading a Bible study and taking care of aging parents—and last but not least, my own life! Most nights, I was up late doing "one more thing" before bed, wondering why the days were so long and the nights so short.
Have you ever felt overwhelmed and stressed? It seems that we are a generation of busy people, working hard but hardly living. Getting enough rest, real replenishing rest, is often at the bottom of our priority list. Here's the good news: REST is not a four-letter word. Well, technically it is, but you know what I mean. It's a word to value, not avoid.
Why Don't We Value Rest?
We all have our reasons for not taking breaks or getting real rest. Some people stay busy all the time in order to avoid emotional pain. Others are constantly active because they are trying to please others, or think it's a badge of honor among their peers.
To be sure, there are busy seasons of life—like tax time for accountants—but it's a season. And seasons change.
Or do they?
Is there a better way to find a better life? I believe so.
Addressing the Lies
There is a time for work, for sure. God uniquely crafted each of us with talents and abilities to make a contribution in life. But there is also a time to cease from labor—in the workplace and in the home place.
Being driven is one thing, but being a slave to work—bound by guilt and condemnation or wearing the shackles of perfectionism or people pleasing—is bondage. Unknowingly, you are buying into the lies of a culture that devalue silence and stillness, rest and reflection.
"The lie the taskmasters want you to swallow is that you cannot rest until your work's all done, and done better than you're currently doing it," says Mark Buchanan in The Rest of God.
"But the truth is," he continues, "the work's never done, and never done quite right. It's always more than you can finish and less than you had hope for."
So, if we address some of the lies and release them, then physical rest and peace—soul rest—can replace worry, fear and trying to control everything around you. And things can begin to change.
But, I Don't Have Time to Rest!
Let's look at some of the false beliefs—lies, in fact—that may be keeping you from getting the rest you need and having the life you truly want.
Read each lie listed here and talk to God in prayer about what's keeping you from real and replenishing rest.
1) Lie: I can do everything and do it all on my own.
2) Lie: Rest is a luxury for a privileged few; not for me.
3) Lie: I don't deserve to rest.
4) Lie: Rest is a waste of time
5) Life: If I rest, I won't get it all done.
Rest is essential to a physically and emotionally healthy life. In trying to gain more in life by doing more, we often fail to realize what is lost in the process. In the demanding pace of modern life, we may…
Lose peace of mind,
Lose loving relationships, or
Lose close connection with God.
Often, we lose heart. And we need to find it again.
The truth is, you don't have to do everything for everyone. And do it all by yourself. You're not a "Junior Jesus" and you don't have to save the world. In fact, Jesus himself already did that for us.
Rest is God's idea. Check out Genesis 2. It's a gift, and you don't have to earn it. Taking time renew your weary self is time well spent. It's an investment that will pay off physically, mentally, relationally and more because you will be a better you, for others and for yourself.
A major heart shift happens when we realize that life is about God's plan, His story playing out. He will enable us to get done what He wants accomplished each day when we are surrendered and willing.
Talk to God. Ask Him to help you realign your priorities and to show you how to incorporate rest into each day of your life. It could be in the form of a brief walk. Or a nap. Or lingering over a cup of coffee or tea with a friend who fills you up, not depletes you. Or a weekend away. Maybe you need a real vacation, or a spiritual retreat. Replenishing rest looks different for everyone.
Release your worries and cares to God. Let Him be the architect of your life and your time. Make prayer a priority. Your days may be full, but your heart doesn't need to be empty or anxious. Here's to a new—and better—way of living!