“He that can take rest is greater than he that can take cities.” —Benjamin Franklin
I saw a disturbing quote recently that said something to the effect of 'God won't throw it in the nest. You have to get up and work for it.' With a hashtag of hustle. My heart hurt for all of those precious women who liked and loved the post. The feelings that rose up were from a past mindset that hustle was where life began, where dreams happened. True, that kind of work ethic will certainly get you everything you ever dreamed of, I suppose. But as a mental health coach, I have to ask myself- at what cost?
Books and seminars on rest don't sell millions of copies. Yet...
Ask any physician and they will tell you rest is essential for physical health. Your body requires rest.
Ask any athlete and they will tell you rest is essential for physical training. Rest is needed for muscles to repair themselves and prevent injury. Your muscles require rest.
Ask many of yesterday’s philosophers and they will tell you rest is essential for the mind. Ovid, the Roman poet, said, “Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop.” Your mind requires rest.
Ask many corporate leaders and they will tell you that rest is essential for productivity. Forbes magazine recently wrote, “You can only work so hard and do so much in a day. Everybody needs to rest and recharge.” Your productivity requires rest.
Ask the scriptures, note the number of verses that are dedicated to the command of taking a Sabbath rest. Your soul needs rest.
Rest... from all your work.
Your mental work, your job work, your muscle work. Everything requires rest. We need only look to animals in creation to note how simple rest is. Our bodies and minds are not design to go without a significant amount of rest. Imagine a life from a posture of rest. You can feel it can't you? A day each week, totally devoted to rest and devoid from work of any type. In 2020 my family was given the gift of rest, we all were really. As it typical with our crew, we jumped in, both feet and embraced rest. Indulge me the opportunity to give you a vision of what benefits you reap from rest:
Healthier body. We each get one life and one body to live it in. Therefore, we eat healthy, we exercise, and we watch our bad habits. Rest is as essential to our physical health as the water we drink and the air we breathe.
Less stress. Stress is the perception that the situations we are facing are greater than the resources we have to deal with them—resources such as time, energy, ability, and help from others. Concentrated rest confronts stress in two ways. First, it reduces the demands of the situation. We have no demands on us as long as we have the ability to mentally let go of unfinished tasks. Secondly, rest reduces stress by increasing our resources, particularly energy.
Deeper relationships. I can say this is 100% without a doubt the best part of rest. A day set aside each week for rest allows relationships with people to deepen and be strengthened. When we aren’t rushing off to work or soccer practice, we are able to enjoy each other’s company and a healthy conversation. Long talks prove to be far more effective in building community than short ones on the ride to the next task or event.
Opportunity for reflection. Sometimes it is hard to see the forest through the trees. Turns out, it's even more difficult to see the forest when we are running through the trees. Concentrated rest allows us to take a step back, to give pause to your intention and purpose in life.
Balance. Taking one day of your week and dedicating it to rest will encourage you to create balance in every area of life, and not be so laser focused on the one big thing. Trust me, that one big thing may take a little longer than you anticipated. Cultivating balance will lend itself to a better you overall.
Increased production. Similar to resting physical muscles, allowing them to rejuvenate, so providing our minds with rest provides it opportunity to refocus and rejuvenate.
Reserve for life’s emergencies. Crisis is no respecter of persons. Trials come yet if you are not adequately rested, you'll have nothing to give when it does, nor will you ever emotionally recover when it's over.
Discussions of rest are not popular, chances are, you may not even hit the like button here. But I pray this word seeps into your soul. Don't wait to rest. No matter what your life looks like, I can say with most certainty, you can take a day of rest.