When did rest become a four letter word?
Yes, when counting the letters in the word rest, there are in fact 4 letters but I am talking about the kind of 4 letter word you use symbols for (%$*&) and is rendered a "bad word". By society's standards - rest- might be the worst of the worst when it comes to 4 letter words.
The other day I posted about laying down and taking a nap with my daughter and the response I got, although not surprising, was that most people felt guilty resting. Guilty.
The average American adult needs (not wants but needs) 8 hours of sleep a night according to Mayo Clinic while 65% Americans sleep less than 8 hours according to a 2013 Gallup poll. That's up from 36% in 1942. In 1942, the majority of Americans were getting enough rest, now they are not.
When my daughter was 2 and had yet to sleep through the night consistently, I went to the doctor sure something major was wrong with me. My doctor did a battery of tests and then asked how my sleep was. My answer was half cry, half laugh. I had literally not slept in years. When the tests came back fine, she told me I needed to sleep. Lack of sleep and rest can literally take a toll on us.
Somewhere along the way we were told rest is for the lazy, the unambitious, the fool hardy but what if the person who understood the importance of rest was the wisest of us all?
Rest comes in many forms but it's an important part of God's design for His people. You don't have to read too far in the Bible to find that in 6 days He created the world and on the 7th day He rested.
Here are 3 Reasons to Rest:
A car on empty only runs for so long before its left sitting on the side of the road. It won't be long before your immune system, adrenal glands and physical health will put a halt to your hectic lifestyle. Instead of reacting to your health, be proactive and take time to rest.
The other day I was vacuuming with my beloved cordless vacuum. When the charge ran low, the vacuum didn't suck as well. It would take twice as long to get the job done. Rather, than waste my time, I put it back on the charging station and after it was fully charged took care of the crumbs. I let my vacuum rest and recharge.
Sometimes, we can get so engrained in what we are doing we can't see the forest through the trees, taking a moment to step back, reflect and rest will give us opportunity to approach our work with more thought and reflection which will prove fruitful.
So, how do you rest?
1. Build rest into your day.
If you are a to do list maker, add it to your list. If you do not plan for it, the best intentions won't make it happen. Often times, the very thing we just have to do can wait 15 minutes. Very few things are so important, they cannot wait.
2. Make rest a priority.
We do what matters most to us. If rest is important, we will make it happen. Take back the word rest and don't let it be a dirty word in your vocabulary. You should not feel guilty by taking a moment to relax, to breathe, to read, to sleep, to rest. Practically speaking, build rest into your day.
3. Determine how you rest best.
Do you even know how to rest? Take a moment to breathe, put down the phone, go to bed on time, say no to commitments, take a 15 minute walk, do a yoga class, read a book for 15 minutes, or go to lunch with a friend. Become a student of yourself and incorporate more restful activities into your day.
4. Cultivate the habit.
Just like anything else, we need to practice rest. It doesn't come naturally to any of us in a hustle and bustle culture but the more you are proactive with rest, the more you will be able to combat stress and illness in your life. A healthy, rested you is the best version of you.
If vacuums need to recharge and cars need refueling, surely we do too. There are plenty of expletive 4 letter words but rest is not one of them. Be intentional, be practical and make rest a priority, you will be better for it.
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Until next time, keep on keeping on with a joyful, faith-filled life. #tribekoko