Not long ago I had an unusual experience. Cathy and I rented a car and drove through the Great Smoky Mountains National Park for several days. We had no agenda but rest.
For an achiever like me, a vacation can feel like a waste of time. Usually my vacations mean time off from my regular work to do chores around the house or to do a writing project.
But last week was strange. I actually took a vacation to rest.
- I turned off my work email and never opened it. (Yeah, the swelling number of emails showing in my Mail icon tempted me.)
- I got a full night’s sleep every night.
- I even found some roses to smell. (Real roses.)
But it was tough at times. Why do we struggle so much with rest?
I think it’s a spiritual issue.
Rest—It was God’s Idea
Just as God created humanity to work, so He also created us to rest. Both of these occurred before the fall—and both of these God modeled in creation (Exodus 20:11).
Whatever you believe about the Sabbath, the principle of rest remains. The word sabbath comes from Hebrew term meaning “to rest from labor.” The Sabbath forced time of refreshment. (In fact, if you were found doing work on the Sabbath you could be laid to rest permanently.)
In fact, it’s wrong not to rest.
Rest—Jesus Modeled the Principle
Even in the midst of a ministry that would change the world, Jesus modeled rest.
- Jesus saw the Sabbath as something to meet humanity’s needs and not a legalistic burden to bear (Mark 2:27).
- Jesus modeled rest—even amidst a busy, busy ministry.
And He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a lonely place and rest a while.’ (For there were many people coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.) —Mark 6:31
As important as vacations are, I’m primarily talking about working in regular times of rest—insisting on a regular diversion from your routine.
How to Find the Rest of Your Life
We don’t rest because we’re done with our work (we’re never done), but we rest because it’s right.
Therefore, taking time to rest is an act of faith.
It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for He gives to His beloved even in his sleep. —Psalm 127:2
Psalm 127:2 teaches us when it’s time to quit—quit!—and trust God with the lack. If we don’t take time to rest, we live under the delusion that we are more important than we are. But God got along fine before we came along, and His kingdom won’t skip a beat when we’re gone.
I want to challenge you with what Cathy often challenges me: “When have you scheduled time to rest and relax?”
Try taking your calendar and blocking out some time each week or month where you do nothing but rest and enjoy some leisure. And then guard it like you would a million-dollar client. Otherwise the urgent things will crowd out the important part.
Okay, now I’ve got to get back to work.
Tell me what you think: Why do you think we struggle so much with rest? To leave a comment, just click here.