I have somehow managed to have this dreamy dreary day of quiet and rest. My cup is spilling over and I wanted to put pen to paper on the importance of REST – especially in busy days.
Over the last few years, the word rest has a renewed importance in my life. I’ve been learning about taking a Sabbath and the importance of rest for my body and soul. As a busy mom of two little ones, rest becomes so much more valuable because it’s so hard to get! In the past year, I’ve focused on stealing moments of rest and refreshment.
I am constantly learning about resting but I felt like I started over when I became a mom. Thankfully many women and moms gave encouragement to me on prioritizing rest in their busy lives.
Rest is Necessary
When looking at rest, we first see that rest is necessary. God created us as finite beings. It’s easy to flippantly lament our need to sleep or that we only have 24 hours a day, but THAT is how God made us and the world he created us to live in. We are finite beings. We are needy creatures who need food and sleep in order to live.
When we sleep, our bodies repair, restore and rejuvenate. There’s many benefits of sleep but scientists have no consensus of why we need it. I love this quote from William Dement, a sleep researcher who co-discovered REM sleep. He says “as far as I know, the only reason we need to sleep that is really, really solid is because we get sleepy.” I get such a chuckle out of that!
Yes, we get sleepy. As Christians, we can see our need to sleep as a reminder that we are not God, that we are not ultimate and that we are needy. That’s not something to be scoffed at or annoyed at, but should draw our eyes to Jesus who IS God, who IS ultimate and can fulfill ALL our needs.
Rest is a Reminder to STOP
Somehow, sprinting through life has become the norm. We jam pack as much as we can into our waking hours and lament “there’s not enough hours in the day!” or “we just need another day in the week!” When people ask how we’re doing and “busy!” is often the first response. We’re tired and worn out and frustrated.
Striving becomes a normal and expected part of life.
Until we get exhausted or get sick because we won’t stop and we’re reminded we can’t do it all.
I spent much of my life running hard until something external stopped me – typically I got a migraine or got super sick or was so tired and cranky I was starting fights with my husband and getting extra emotional about every little thing. I can’t count the number of times my husband would lovingly say “you need to go take a nap.” It would feel frustrating when I felt like my outrage and indignation was warranted. But then I took a nap. And what happens after a good nap or a great night of sleep?
Ah!!! Suddenly we feel better!
When we aim to rest or Sabbath, we have to force ourselves to stop. It doesn’t come naturally for me and I imagine it doesn’t for you either. But once we stop from our work we can exhale… we can celebrate…. we can relax and enjoy.
Just like we can feel better from a good night’s sleep, our souls often feel better when we take a break from our work and rest.
That’s not a guarantee. Having one Sabbath day isn’t necessarily going to change everything in your whole life. I’ve seen in my life when I am habitually not resting, it actually takes continual breaks and continual change to chip away at the busyness in my soul. But rest is necessary for our soul’s health and reminds us that we are finite and need to stop. And better with all of that, rest is a gift from God.
Rest is a Gift
I remember as a newly married and working woman hearing a sermon on Sabbath and thinking “what? How could I EVER do this?” At that point my job was emotionally taxing and I saved most of my chores for Saturday. We had church on Sunday mornings and Community Group Sunday nights. My thought process was that if I tried to Sabbath on Sunday, it would be short and if I tried Saturday, it would make the rest of my week harder.
While that may not necessarily even be false, it missed a foundational truth about Sabbath and resting –
Rest is a gift from God.
God introduces rest by modeling it in Genesis 2. After He created the light and earth and oceans and man and woman, He RESTED. Genesis 2:2-3 says:
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all of 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.”
The Sabbath is HOLY and blessed. It is a mercy filled gift to us to rest from our work. When we see it as a gift, it becomes something we long to do instead of another item on our to-do list. Sabbath becomes something we look forward to, that we crave.
Remembering these critical thoughts, it can be a lot easier to prioritize rest. I’ve found – especially as a stay at home mom – that rest NEVER happens if I’m not intentional about it. But when I remember that I physically NEED to rest, that my soul needs to rest and that rest is a GIFT it is much easier to make it a priority.