The Importance of Rest
When I was a toddler, my
mother taught me a little bedtime prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I
pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my
soul to take. I’m still not sure what it was about the thought of
dying in the middle of the night that was supposed to calm me down to
Mom would then “soothe” me by singing “Rockabye Baby,” a lullaby about a child in a treetop cradle that came crashing down in a high wind. As a young kid I thought that surely if I was to die before I woke, that would be how.
And parents wonder why we’re in therapy.
Our bodies, minds, even our souls crave times of peaceful rest. For our own health and well-being — not to mention the well-being of those around us —we need regular periods of calm and quiet. Not just at night as we sleep, but throughout our week.
For many in today’s hectic culture, rest and relaxation are foreign concepts. We have become proficient at burning the candle at both ends. We wear “busyness” like a badge of honor; we’re quick to share — to the point of bragging — how many hours we’ve worked, how many meetings we’ve had, how little sleep we’re getting in any given week. Thanks to all our electronic gadgetry, multi-tasking has become so prevalent that our vehicles have become second offices. We can now work on the way to work. It’s gotten to the point where many of us don’t even get rest in the restroom anymore.
We may want to make self-care a top priority but can’t seem to find the time for it. When our schedules begin to fill up, getting proper rest in which we care for our bodies, de-clutter our minds, and quiet our souls is often the first thing scratched from our “To Do” lists.
Jesus once said, The thief comes to steal and destroy; I have come that (you) may have life, and have it to the full (Jn. 10:10, NIV).
When we think of living a “full” life many of us think of life jam-packed with activity, accomplishments and the approval of others. But the fullness of life to which Jesus refers is characterized not by our productivity but by His peace — a peace that comes from understanding that He loves us not for what we do but for who we are. A peace that is found in spending regular time in His presence and simply resting in His arms. As Corrie ten Boom advised, “Don’t wrestle, just nestle.”
It is said that “if the devil can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy.” Truth is, Satan can use our schedules as much as our sins to keep us from the kind of life our Creator longs for us to have.
A rubber band that is continually stretched to its limits will lose its elasticity. In time, it will develop hairline cracks and will eventually snap. So it is with our bodies, minds and souls. For us to function at our optimum level and truly experience life to the full we must allow ourselves to rest, to regularly return to a natural, relaxed state.
In the book of Matthew Jesus offers us this invitation: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:28-29, NLT).
Make that appointment. Write it at the top of your “To Do” list. Take the time to get away alone with Jesus. Find rest for your body, mind, and soul. And begin to experience life God wants for you — life to the full.
By Dan Kuiper
Dan completed his initial Crucible weekend in 2009. He is an author and speaker and leads a ministry called, Finding Father’s Love which helps wounded souls find love, healing, and grace in relationship with the Heavenly Father. Dan’s first book, When Father is a Bad Word, illustrates the parallels between our relationship with our earthly father and our perception of our Heavenly Father. Dan leads Finding Father’s Love seminars across the country, offering hope and healing to those who have experienced brokenness from dysfunctional family relationships. More information can be found on Dan’s website: www.dankuiper.com
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