What comes to your mind when you think of the summer?
Maybe it’s sunshine, swimming pools, the beach, fishing, golf, walks by the water, taking a vacation, going to camp, ice cream, good food and much more! Hopefully, somewhere in that list though, you add the word REST.
Of course, the way we answer that beginning question is dependent upon what we have going on and what season of life we are in. But, for all of us, at some point we hopefully have some type of intentional rest carved into the summer months. Personally, living in southeast Louisiana, I often dread the heat and humidity of the summer months. What I don’t dread though, is the opportunity to rest a little bit more and retreat somewhere!
We ALL NEED to get away and rest! We also just need to take some time to rest during our normal schedules and on the weekends. Unfortunately, this is something a lot of us are not very good at. Culture often feeds us the lie that we aren’t living to the fullest if we aren’t going non-stop, filling our calendars up, and constantly working long hours.
When we look to how God created us and placed things in order though, we see a different model.
Here are a few thoughts on rest that I hope encourage you:
- Rest does not mean weakness.
At times, we may all think that if we take a day off, turn off our phones, get away for the weekend, or go to bed a little early, that we are being weak. We may think, “I’m a strong person because I work hard and constantly stay after it!”
Yes, you may be. And you should work hard. But, just because you take some time to yourself, doesn’t mean you aren’t a strong person. I would say that when you take time to rest, you are actually making yourself a stronger person, because you are recognizing that if you are going to give your life 100% as you should, you first have to be fueled up and re-energized through rest.
- We aren’t meant to go non-stop.
I’ve seen people work themselves so hard, that they eventually found themselves burnt out, depressed, or spread so thin that it began to take a negative toll on them, physically, emotionally and even spiritually.
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that there are seasons of life where we will just be busy. Sometimes, you can do nothing about that. There will be days when you have to work long hours, get up extra early, stay late and put in over-time. The issue though is when that becomes your normal way of living.
There is a difference in living in a season, yet understanding that you can’t stay in that season, and just living in a state of non-stop going. We were created to be able to function with a certain capacity. Once we have hit that capacity, we should then take the cue to rest.
- It’s okay to say no sometimes.
This one is so hard for me. Naturally, I’m a people-pleaser. I remember times in the past in ministry, where I would say yes to everything I was asked or nudged to do. I would think, “Well, if I’m going to be effective in ministry and truly grow, I need to learn to do everything. I don’t want to let them down.”
There is obviously great benefit with having different experiences and exposure to various things, but you can’t do it all, all the time time, every time!
We may have a hard time saying no to a social event, volunteer opportunity, or a task someone wants us to do. But you can’t do everything! Not every good opportunity is a God opportunity.
- Small decisions now will pay off in the future.
Wherever we are and may find ourselves, we can establish some of these things now. It doesn’t matter our age or what we’ve done. One of the things I love about the gift of life, is that tomorrow is a new day!
As long as the Lord wills, we have a new opportunity to establish some healthy rhythms in our lives. Even if it may seem small, it will pay off. Small changes over time can change our lives, and help us define our new-normal moving forward. Try making small adjustments now, stick to them and see how they help you.
So, what’s the play call?
I believe we should rest consistently for many reasons, but ultimately, God commands us to. As a Christian, I believe that God set things in place for a reason, one being our work rhythms and the amount we are able to handle. We see this being put into place in the creation account from the very beginning in the Old Testament.
Genesis 2:2-3 says: “And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.”
There are so many passages of Scripture that speak to the importance of rest in various ways: Hebrews 4, Matthew 11, Psalm 4, 23, 34, 62, Deuteronomy 5, Mark 6, Philippians 4.
At the end of the day, I hope you found this blog encouraging, and you make some time to rest this summer. Maybe even begin some new rhythms in your life that can you can incorporate into your weekly rhythm.
Let’s honor and worship God through our rest. Get some rest this summer and enjoy it!
Blog written for Team Jesus Magazine