I don’t know about y’all, but I like to keep myself pretty busy… between double majoring, joining a sorority, becoming involved in other various clubs, serving the community, and everything else I have signed-on for, college has been the busiest time of my life. So busy that I rarely find time for rest, and when I do, I feel guilty that I am resting! It feels wrong that I would spend a chunk of time doing something unproductive or even doing nothing at all. College (and the competitiveness required to earn a spot in grad school) has conditioned me to constantly remain on the go. Whether serving the community, studying for 40+ hours a week, or attending sorority chapter meetings, I am always doing or stressing about something. At the end of seven semesters in college, I can identify almost every muscle in the body, recite all the Rockhurst core values, and mesmerize you with my sorority’s chants/songs (with hand movements!). However, I couldn’t tell you the last time I truly rested. I’m not talking about sleeping (I do plenty of that!), but honest, take-time-for-myself rest.
The dictionary defines rest as:
Rest (v.) 1. cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength 2. be placed or supported so as to stay in a specified position Rest (n.) 1. an instance or period of relaxing or ceasing to engage in strenuous or stressful activity 2. an object that is used to support something
When I think of rest, I think of the first meaning of the word – to relax. I usually forget the second meaning – support- which is where God comes in. In the Bible, God commands us to rest, but He also promises us that we will find rest in Him. God promises us that no matter where we are (physically or emotionally), we can go to Him for rest – for support. Not only does He make these promises, He leads by example. On the seventh day, God rested, and in order to live life more like God, we must rest too (without feeling guilty).
Finding Rest in Scripture: "So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation" - Genesis 2:3 (ESV) "And he said, 'my presence will go with you, and I will give you rest'" - Exodus 33:14 (ESV) "He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I shall not be greatly shaken" - Psalm 62:2 (ESV) "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light" - Matthew 11:28-30 (ESV) "For whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall but the same disobedience" - Hebrews 4:9-11 (ESV)
Although God calls us to rest, it can be difficult. It can be hard to find time for rest, it can be hard to trust God’s rest, and it can even be hard to find the best way to rest. Much like the multiple definitions of rest, there are multiple ways to rest, and it is very individualized. Each person rests in their own way, so it is important to find the way YOU rest best. It may not look the same as the way your friends or family enjoy resting, and it may not even look the same for yourself in different seasons of life, but it will be what benefits you and your journey the most. I pray that each of you find time for rest, find rest in God, and find your best rest in order to live your best life.
Here are some ways I have found rest: -Reading -Journaling -Learning to play piano -Painting -Lettering -Hammocking -Talking to God -Exercising -Blogging For me, rest is whatever refreshes me. That doesn't always mean sitting idly, but rather doing something that will relieve whatever stresses I may be facing that day. Whatever I do for rest, I make sure I take that time for myself - away from others, away from distractions, and away from the stress of life. Tip: If you struggle to find time for rest, schedule it in!