Rest – the ceasing of work or movement in order to relax, sleep, or recover strength.
In our busy schedules and the usual fast paced type of life that many of us tend to lead rest is probably the last thing on most of our minds. We multi task and think ourselves efficient and clever when we are able to do ten things at once, as we juggle our schedules to fit more in.
Yet rest is imperative to our health. Through rest we rebuild, rewire and are renewed. For example studies have discover that the inner subcellular of our heart cells are functionally replaced in three days; a process that takes place during rest. The process is fast. The skin on your face is replaced in two weeks, and our gut lining cells take two days.
Unfortunately in many cultures rest is seen as laziness and we can even feel guilty that we aren’t’ doing anything when we do try to slow down and rest.
In sleeping there is amazing things happening within us that are adversely affected when we don’t rest. In deep sleep, we redo the acts and motions of the day, replaying our brain circuitry, and we grow new brain cellsIn REM sleep, we lose temperature control, while our brains soar with the creativity and power of dreams.
So with these things in mind we may need to rethink our viewpoint on rest. Especially when the bible refers to rest and it’s importance. We don’t really get the picture of God being lazy or unproductive, and God’s word tells us clearly that God rested. In Genesis, the story of creation tells us that,
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
A lifestyle of ceaseless labour, day after day, no matter how noble or worthy our cause is not good for us, nor pleasing to the God. God chose to rest setting an example for us that we are designed to follow.
Jesus also set an example for us, in that He often withdrew from people in order rest and commune with the Father.
“The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)
Interestingly Jesus withdrew to rest from the demands of the day at the height of his popularity. There were literally thousands and thousands of people crying out for Jesus to heal them, to teach them, and to bless them. The need and opportunities were great and yet Jesus chose to rest and take time off because He understood if He was to accomplish His purpose he had to remain spiritually, mentally strong. And that required regular times of prayer, rest and recuperation.
Rest is the invisible part of our time, the part that rebuilds and remakes us every day. Without adequate rest we will suffer and struggle to fulfil those things that God has placed in our hearts to enjoy, experience and accomplish.
Today follow God’s example and take time to rest. Schedule rest in your diary and day, and honour that time as just important as the other more visible productive parts of your life. Let’s be wise and cease from all our activity when we need to and come away and rest.
Prayer: Lord help me to understand the importance of rest and to set aside a regular time to cease form all my activity and labour so that I can recuperate, reflect, relax, and fully rest. In Jesus name Amen.