Our pastor challenged us to choose a word to focus on over the next 30 days or so. He asked us to pray and reflect as we considered the word.
During the service, my mind jumped from one word to the next but didn’t settle on any word until later at home, when my mind kept returning to the word I knew I must choose. Rest.
I am driven, busy, always pushing to get more done during the day. I’m in one of the busiest seasons of my business so far. My home life feels non-stop, too. How can I rest in the midst of non-stop action?
Rest is not only physical, it’s a mindset. Rest may mean staying in bed a few extra minutes, or taking a string of days off running, but it’s far more than that.
When I rest, I take time to breathe. When I rest, I take time to think. When I rest, I silence the whirl of worried thoughts that sometimes tornadoes through my mind and replace them with a quiet trust in God. He is the one who calls me to rest. He is the one who gives me rest.
I can rest, even when I’m moving quickly. Though my calendar may be full and my to-do list long, I can choose rest in every moment, in my thoughts, wherever I am.
Sometimes, I’m not at rest, even when lying still. Rest is a discipline. I must choose it in every moment, and be aware of when my physical rest is suffering because of choice to keep moving mentally when I could be resting.
Rest restores. We all need regular, restoring rest. Not one of us can continue to contribute our best energy to others when we allow ourselves to become dangerously depleted.
The only way I can get more done is to choose rest. There are times that my disciplined self rebels against the idea of rest. This weekend, brilliant sun and blue skies beckoned me outside when I had planned to work. My daughter asked me to push her on a swing. As I joyfully answered yes, my inner thoughts swirled with worry about my to-do list. But when I got outside, I focused on the breeze blowing through our pine grove; I looked into my girl’s smiling face. I stretched out on a bed of pine needles. Yes, rest. On Monday morning, those moments of rest fueled me to greater focus and productivity.
Rest looks like leaving my laptop at the office on a night when my best choice is no work. It looks like a walk through our office yard for a few minutes between calls. Rest is reading a novel on my hammock, but it’s also an evening game of four-square on the driveway with my family.
Active rest energizes. The difference in my mental state, focus, and joy is vastly different when I run than when I don’t. While running may not seem like rest to you, when I run, my mind is at rest. I am free, during those miles, from the other concerns of my day. I breathe more deliberately, by necessity. I feel strong and alive.
This will speak to the heart of many. We need rest and if we go without it until we are totally depleted, there is heavy consequence. Our bodies know what they need. We can’t fool them.