I am a lot like my German grandmother,
She constantly bustled around the kitchen making späetzle and sauerkraut, and
it took some doing to get her to actually sit down at the dinner table with the
rest of us.
Like her, I want to get stuff done. I have many lists and find satisfaction in crossing off what I’ve accomplished. While it’s true that being productive can be a good thing, I’ve often gone to extremes and it has taken time to learn the value of rest. It is essential for many reasons.
First, we need rest, both physical and emotional. It’s essential to life and good health. Without enough sleep we may get cranky and tired. Sadly, we may become so preoccupied with trying to gain more in life that we often fail to realize what is lost in the process.
In the demanding pace of life we may lose perspective, forget things or mess up our priorities. We lose peace of mind, and connection with God and others. Our health and relationships suffer. We feel cluttered, scattered, or alone.
In our efforts to be efficient, we may not always be effective. Often, we lose heart.
And we need to find it again.
Perhaps we don’t value rest because we’ve forgotten what it means. Our perception may be skewed by a culture that praises busyness and devalues silence, stillness, and reflection.
Rest brings margin to your life, spaces that allow you to replenish and restore beauty and balance. Without it, life is an endless cycle of work, chores and errands. And that’s not what God intended. Joy, peace, fun and play are essential parts of life, too.
It’s like a score of music. Without well-placed rests, beats of silence, a song would run on and on; it would fail to achieve its true purpose. And it would surely weary the listener’s ear. So composers use whole, half or quarter rests—longer or shorter beats—to make beautiful music. Is there a way for you to find some well-placed rests in your own life? For example:
A quarter rest, which is brief, could be a 10-minute walk to clear your head and say a short prayer. Often I get my best ideas when I get up from my desk and have a change of scenery.
A half rest could be a weekend away or even getting a restful night’s sleep.
A whole rest, a longer period of time, could be a much-needed vacation or spiritual retreat.
Replenishing rest looks different for everyone. Whether you linger over a cup of tea with a friend, take a twenty-minute nap or a one-minute vacation gazing at the Hawaiian beaches on your wall calendar, think about how you can get refueled in your life.
Because when we’re well-rested, we are better equipped to serve God and others, and enjoy our lives.
Read more about finding rest when you’re busy and stressed in Powerful Prayers for Challenging Times by Jackie M. Johnson.