Rest is one of the most overlooked yet much-needed activities. We are taught about rest in the early chapters of the bible where God demonstrated to us that after His hard work of creating the world, He rested on the seventh day. He gives that gift to our mortal bodies so that we can use it to rejuvenate our tired bodies. When we rest, we can pause and reflect to move forward with greater power.
I have been a victim of living life in the fast lane, where I had activity after activity. I simply did not find time to rest and continued for weeks on end. By the time the year ends, I would be completely burnt out and bitter at how hectic my life had become. Although most of it was activities that I enjoyed, even those can tire a person out. “Not all pain is bad”, I heard a minister say. Now, I understand because when I reached a painful breakdown and realized how exhausted I was, then the idea of a schedule change became a necessity for me. The pain I went through resulted in a more targeted approach to life. I slowly started to plan better, place boundaries, reject offers, and try new and less demanding activities that I enjoyed. This brought a newness to the way I view life and I simply started to appreciate the gift of rest. I think I exhausted myself because I had equated my busy life to productivity, and to be honest, not all of it was productive or as impactful as I would have liked it to be. I also somehow thought this made me an important person that contributed to society. While works based performance has its place, as the Bible encourages us to do good, but it should not be done at the cost of one’s mental health. I thank God for the revelation and grace to see and accept rest as a gift. I now know that my worth is not necessarily attached to what I do but rather to who I am and to who I choose to become daily.
What does rest look like?
This can look different to all individuals. For me, staying in bed for an extra hour or two is such a blessing. For someone else it could be lazing around in their pyjamas, watching movies all day. I do not think there is a one size fits all solution, you just simply need to do more of what you know makes you more relaxed. See it as a way of rewarding yourself after all the work you put. Work, by the way, can mean anything from doing chores at home or working at the marketplace. Our bodies get tired and need to be well taken care of. I have introduced development plans that I monitor weekly that include doing little activities each weekend that allow me to experience rest.
God cares about our well-being; He needs functional human beings to do His work. Functional means you can show up when needed and be as effective as you possibly can. This leads to excellence and therefore represents God in a good way. If you are tired, lethargic, and irritated, guess what others around you will experience? You guessed right, they will experience your heaviness and you end up doing more harm than good.
Since we are approaching the end of this year, my encouragement to you is to allow selah (pause and reflect) moments to become part of your regular check-in. These will help you to reflect on the activities you engaged in this year. Note down the good habits you would like to carry into the following year, also interrogate what was damaging to you and your mental space. When you have reflected, make up your mind to do better, and be better in the following year. The power to nourish your mental space and to take good care of yourself is in your hands, be intentional and do what is good for you. When you are better, your inner circles and communities become better.
Rest, selah (pause and reflect).
“Learn to relax. Your body is precious, as it houses your mind and spirit. Inner peace begins with a relaxed body.” -Norman Vincent Peale.
“Now it came to pass when the king was dwelling in his house, and the LORD had given him rest from all his enemies all around” -2 Samuel 7:1.