In our busy world, it is difficult to carve out time to rest. Is it necessary? Important? What are the benefits. Let’s talk about it, because it is worth being intentional about.
Self-talk blah blah blah
I am tired of the self-care talk. I am weary of being lulled to spend money I don’t have and take
time that can’t be spared for self-indulgence. And yet I will admit that taking care of myself has
somehow been lost in the race. I admit I do not stop to take care of myself like I should.
Somehow our culture has crossed some wires—taking care of myself is critical, but a pedicure
or a massage might not be the answer.
What you REALLY need
What we truly need (although a pedicure would help this worn out polish) is to incorporate a
true and effective time of rest. I would love to take credit for it, but it was very much God’s idea
and he laid it out clearly as a command in the Old Testament for Jewish people to rest. They
were to stop work from Friday sundown through Saturday sunset as a symbolic reminder of
how God rested after 6 days of creation.
What I Really Needed
God has been trying to get my attention about this for some time now. I am a slow learner,
especially when it involves surrendering my agenda (just ask my husband). I was trying to get a
lot accomplished, finding my value in my productivity (even though I knew better) and was
burning the candle at both ends. In November 2018 my husband sent me away for 2 nights in a
hotel (all by myself!) to regroup. I had been running really hard and needed time to process and
refocus. I took 2 books with me—both 2/3 of the way finished and I was eager to wrap them
both up. Both of those books ended with chapters about the importance of taking a Sabbath. I
mean hard-core, compelling chapters that made a lot of sense. Alright already, God… you have
my attention. It was at that point I made a plan for a Friday night and Saturday morning
Sabbath and also began to value time set aside to be stop and be quiet.
Awesome Benefits of Pause
We all need time to pause. Here are just a few of the awesome things you get when you pause:
1. time to refuel (especially if you are introvert like me that needs to be alone)
2. time to re-center (because the world has loud voices that get us off path)
3. time to reflect (identify how you feel about life and relationships and issues)
4. time to rest and reboot (because we cram it all in and run fast)
5. time to listen and hear God’s voice (since his voice matters more than anything)
If you want to maintain your emotional, physical, mental, and spiritual health it’s important to
reconnect with God and yourself, and also your family / community if you aren’t in the habit of
doing so. Health is a wonderful benefit of rest!
But What if I Look Weak
I often default to the fear of being wimpy. And not even what other people think of me, but
rather what I think of me. Depending on our personalities, we see things differently… but for me my inner critic is the hardest. Rebecca Lyons book Rhythms of Renewal has been a pause
point for me to reflect on how I am doing at several points of critical rest. She hit me in the gut
“Taking a rest isn’t a sign of weakness. Yet our culture whispers the opposite: if we try harder,
work smarter, make the right career moves, get that next degree, work overtime, connect with
influencers, and go for our dreams, we might just live a life of significance. But God declares we
are already chosen, beloved, appointed, and set apart. He ordered our lives with purpose and
intention. We don’t need to hustle to prove something God says is already true.”
Ouch. That hurts. And she goes on to say, “Your value as a human being isn’t found in what you
produce; it’s found in who you are in Christ—a person designed in the image of God to glorify
him forever. From the beginning, God designed his creation to be more abundant, fulfilled, and
joyful when we work from a place of rest and renewal.”
There are different paces to apply this to as well. I recommend small baby steps toward getting
rest on one of these rhythms. Here are some examples to get your mind flowing. Which one
can you imagine starting first?
How it Works for Me:
Weekly- Friday night and Saturday morning stay at home, limit technology, read a book and
play games with my kids
Monthly- date night with husband and not talking about things to fix and take care of
Quarterly- a family adventure to reconnect without the pressure of ministry and routine life
Annually- 2-night getaway to journal, reflect, and set goals. Ideally there would also be a couple
nights for getaway with husband. Sometimes they are the same trip and sometimes they are
How About You?
1. Are you practicing Sabbath? Assess where you are on this principle. If 1 was “not
happening” and 10 was nailing it all, what would your number be?
2. What are some of the benefits of keeping a regular sabbath rest?
3. Brainstorm a list of 3 ways you could start (and pick only 1).
4. What keeps you from setting aside time to rest? Name some barriers wither internal or
external and identify how you could overcome those obstacles.
Ordering Your Private World by Gordan MacDonald
Emotionally Healthy Spirituality by Peter Scazzero
Rhythms of Renewal by Rebecca Lyons