Americans stay on the hamster wheel of work, family, community responsibilities. We typically only rest at holidays (unless we are the ones doing the cooking) or on vacations (unless we like to pack in all the activities and end up needing a vacation from our vacation). Rest is difficult to find. In fact, the only time I’ve ever heard people encouraging others to rest is when they are sick.
Rest is difficult to define. It looks different for everyone. Essentially rest is any behavior aimed at increasing physical and mental wellbeing. It can be active like going for a hike or sitting down to do 10 minutes of deep breathing. Getting outdoors or laughter with friends can be just as restful as a nap.
If we ask any athlete, they will tell us rest is essential for physical training. Rest is needed for muscles to repair themselves and prevent injury. No one will refute that, and yet when we ask people in today’s frenzied culture if they intentionally set aside time for rest, most say they are too busy. Nobody can afford to waste time resting in today’s results-oriented world.
There is a reason we run faster, work harder and only fall farther behind. We’ve lost the essential practice of concentrated rest. Rest is a radical act — deliberate, unconditional rest is the only remedy for burn out.
In Genesis, God wove rest into the creation. Something about the speed of modern life is not conducive to human flourishing. Our rapid pace is not leading to restoration of our souls. There is something wrong with the current rhythm of our life.
God wove rest into the creation.
When we use things in the way they are not designed, they break. Ever use the heal of your shoe as a hammer and break the heal cap? What about when you use a knife to pry something open? Most of the time when we use something in the way it is not designed, we damage it. If we want to use our bodies and minds the way they were designed, we need to take our cue from the designer. He wove rest into His creation.
Rest is a radical act.
How will you build rest into your summer?