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Mastering the Art of Rest

by Jason on May 30, 2011

I have to admit, I am in no way, shape, or form qualified to discuss this topic, but this post called “Learning How to Take Time Off” from Matt Bell, got me thinking.

It sparked some thoughts because I know I need to do a better job of learning how to “rest”.  Even now, it’s Memorial Day and I’m typing this post at 8:30 pm mainly to stay ahead of the game for tomorrow morning.  Earlier today, I spent some time working on a Community Study Guidebook I’m helping to edit.

I just can’t seem to rest when I’m supposed to.  I think some of it is because I put a lot of things on my plate and so I always feel like I need to be doing something.

Tips for Becoming Better at Rest

I don’t think resting means we completely veg out on the couch and sleep.  I think there is something to finding things we enjoy doing that is relaxing.  It could be reading, gardening, or relaxing with family.  The point is that there should be some notable “down time” in your life.

Here’s a few things Matt mentioned in his post that may be helpful if you find it hard to rest, even when you’re on vacation:

  • Make time off a calendar entry
  • Leave your laptop at home when on vacation
  • Choose a vacation with a bad Internet connection
  • Make a commitment to rest and tell someone about it

I like the idea of creating calendar entries.  I’ve done a much better job of that before than I do now.  But just last week, my wife and I planned our trips to the zoo this summer and penciled pen’d a couple other Family Fun Days for coming months.

Earlier this month, my wife and I went on a cruise with some friends.  With no phone or Internet connection, it was quite enjoyable.  I couldn’t check my blog, my email, or my texts and I have to tell you…I loved it!

Why Rest is Important

Here’s a few reasons why rest is important in my opinion:

  • God rested. (Genesis 2:2)
  • God created us in his image (Genesis 1:27), therefore rest should be important to us.
  • Jesus rested.  We see Him numerous times in the Gospels getting away to rest.  Jesus understood the importance of being refreshed.
  • We were created to have a certain rhythm to life.  In the Bible, it was work six days, rest one.  In our culture today, we have a “work five, rest two” rhythm.  Those two days are extremely important keep the flow to life.
  • Rest is a gift from God to keep us humble.  In his book, Humility, CJ Mahaney talks about sleep as a gift and says this:

The fact is, God could have created us without a need for sleep.  But He chose to build this need within us, and there’s a spiritual purpose for it.  Each night, as I confront my need again for sleep, I’m reminded that I’m a dependent creature.  I am not self-sufficient.  I am not the Creator. (Mahaney 83-84).

  • Rest allows for us to be refreshed for new challenges.
  • When rest is done rightly, it’s a great way to bring glory to God (1 Corinthians 10:31).  In other words, when we take time to unplug and enjoy life, we can ultimately turn to God and praise Him for the beauty of rest.

Perhaps you need to work on your rest like I do.  Let me know if you have some good ideas at mastering the art of rest!

I’m off to go rest by reading a good book!  Hope you find your rest some time this coming week!

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