With a federal holiday on the calendar, permission to rest is granted. Well, permission to have a three-day weekend, depending on your job. Most people know, though, that not going to work doesn’t equal not working. We merely labor in other ways; we do not simply clock out of life and rest.
Why is rest so hard? Often, unless we are sick – and I mean, can’t-move-sick, because many will do housework or work from bed if they can move, if the misery isn’t a 10 (ask me how clean my house ended up on Saturday) – we won’t slow down and rest.
Sure, every once in a while, we do something that looks like rest, but let’s call a spade a spade — we’re just very bad at resting.
I’m currently on a three-day rest. I declared this Labor Day weekend that I was logging out and NOT working. “Not working” has consisted of a long To-Do list and me getting up at 6 a.m. on Labor Day to write. Because rest, I’m very good at it!
We go about life telling others how tired we are, and then we resist rest. Our bodies and brains fight us, going weak, screaming out for a break, and yet, we still resist. We push on and on, and then we wonder why we’re forgetful, why we’re sick, why we’re burnt out from things we used to love. We leave no room in our lives for rest. We are told we must push on, get up extra early, stay up extra late, GET ALL THE THINGS DONE! But for what? So the only thing we have to show for it all is a life we rush through?
I’m getting off this crazy train!
Even God rested on the seventh day. Not only does He think it’s a good idea, but He also COMMANDS us to rest.
“Don’t kill? Got it. Good idea, God. Oh, and have faith, do good works, don’t steal, don’t lie. All very good. Thank you, Father, for these instructions. You take good care of us. Oh wait…rest? Ummmm…whoa, I think you missed the ark on that one. The rest are good, but this one? Kind of silly. No thank you.”
I mean, really?
Have you ever taken a real day off? The kind where you don’t clean your house from top to bottom, where you don’t log onto the computer to network, where you don’t catch up on the mail or paperwork or laundry or yard work? Where you just…read books for fun, watch TV, go out with your family, walk for the sake of enjoying a walk (not to work toward your marathon goals), chat with friends for hours, take naps! And at the end of the day, you don’t feel one ounce of guilt because rest is good?
I know how much better and refreshed I feel when I take a real break from work, so why do I fight it so much? Why do you? Let us today make a pact with ourselves that we will listen to God and take a day of rest each week, that we won’t fight this command He has given us. He knows what is best for us, so let us remember that when guilt tries to creep in and whisper lies to us. Lay down your worries; the world won’t end if the laundry isn’t finished, if your work must wait a day, if the leaves aren’t raked.
I’m very bad at taking breaks and resting, but today I vow to listen to God. I vow to allow rest to be a weekly (and daily) part of my life, because I trust that God knows best. Trust with me.
Do you take a day of rest already? Share with us any tips you have to help the rest of us get better at doing so, too. What reasons do you have for not being able to rest one day out of the week? What can you do to make some small changes? Let’s talk about this. We’ll all be better for it.
*Calendar by (in)courage
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