Rest means so much more than relaxing or sleeping when we are tired. There are times when I haven’t worked physically hard, but still feel exhausted.
At first, I think I’m being lazy, weak or not strong enough, but really it’s about needing holistic rest. We aren’t just physical beings. We need emotional rest, mental rest, relational rest (and all the introverts said amen), and even spiritual rest.
In this series on Resilience, I want to take time to reflect on all 7 Keys to Resilience. In this video, we are going to focus on the key of getting rest.
I recently read a quote from Pete Scazzero that said, “Sabbath is not about resting from our work but learning from our rest.”
This sums up the purpose of rest so well.
From the beginning of time, God modelled rest by establishing a Sabbath.
God, the creator of the world, could have said that the universe was created in 6 days. Instead He included the 7th day, a day of rest, as part of His perfect creation even though He didn’t need rest from His work.
God, who is perfect, rested. Rest is part of our work, not a result of being lazy or having fallen bodies.
When we don’t include rest in our work, ministry, and schedule, we are not fulfilling all that is expected of us.
My family loves to go camping. We have a trailer and we often camp with friends or family. We hike, bike, swim and have campfires with s’mores, sparklers, pie irons, and stay up late. Everything you could want as a kid. We try to say yes as much as possible to our kids because it’s vacation after all.
However, without fail, there is a moment when it’s bedtime. The kids are exhausted, but they know the parents are going to stay up a bit later and chat around the campfire.
In their exhaustion, the kids cry, whine and complain that it’s not fair. This is not their normal behaviour. They are normally reluctant but obedient to go off to bed without a fight. But when they are overtired they are irrational, easily upset, offended, and fight with their siblings.
In a less dramatic way, we, too, don’t act our best when we are tired and worn out. Despite all the goodness around us, being tired and worn out can cause us to make poor decisions, act out of character, and become sensitive to offence.
Even Jesus recognized the importance of rest. We see this at different times throughout the gospels.
In Mark 6:31 Jesus tells his disciples to find a quiet place to rest and in Luke 5:16 It reads that Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.
We need rest, not because we are weak. We need rest because that is God’s perfect model of work and it provides us protection.
Resilience is all about being able to bounce back when you face difficult times. Rest is an important piece to staying resilient.
Having regular rhythms of rest and understanding your unique signs that you need rest is a discipline that will allow you to avoid getting stuck when you face adversity. Rest is necessary to have endurance, a clear mind, and the emotional capacity necessary to not be overcome by life’s challenges.
Keeping a Sabbath is a great way to maintain rest. Additionally, if you’re a task-oriented person like me and have trouble stopping and taking a break, here are some signs that you are weary and may be needing additional rest.
- You lose interest in the things you’re usually passionate about and that bring you joy
- Your temper is short and you are easily provoked
- You become offended easily or take everything personally
- You are constantly overthinking
- You always feel exhausted despite your rest and sleep
By having a weekly Sabbath, and recognizing when you need some extra mental, emotional, physical relational and spiritual rest, you are able to remain resilient.
These principles can be applied both to your personal life and to those you support. Oftentimes people don’t realize that they’re running on empty and the best support we can offer is to encourage rest. In our achievement-focused culture, sometimes people just need to be given permission to rest.
If you would like to hear about the other 6 Keys to Resilience, check out the hopemadestrong.org/blog or subscribe and be notified when videos are posted.