Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Power of Rest

What, you're probably asking yourself, does rest have to do with personal and spiritual growth?  The answer is that it's a very important, rarely thought of component of it.

Among fitness buffs, it's well known that rest is an essential factor in growing muscle mass.  Without rest building muscle just wouldn't be possible.  Weightlifters formulate a delicate balance of stress and rest in such a manner as to increase optimal results. They lift the weights to the point of stressing the muscle to fatigue and then follow with a period of rest so that the muscle can recover.  When done correctly they become lean, mean metabolic machines whose bodies operate at maximum efficiency.

The same principle applies in our personal and spiritual growth.  We live in a world where routinely operating at a high stress level has become the norm and not the exception.  I think that I can truthfully assert that a great percentage of us run at high stress most of the day, juggling family, work, and personal responsibilities.  There just never seem to be enough hours in the day to get everything done.  Something or someone always seems to need our attention in some way and we usually end up neglecting our own bodies and spirits to try to get everything and everybody taken care of.  How can our beings rejuvenate when we're constantly under an unrelenting assault of stress, worry, and anxiety? Most doctors will tell you that a lack of rest can undermine your health in ways that you wouldn't have thought possible -- blood pressure, metabolism, blood sugar levels, immunity, energy, even our mental health among other body systems can be profoundly impacted.  When our bodies don't rest our our minds don't rest, we get overwhelmed, and our stress levels increase even more.

I encourage you to make a purposeful effort today to slow down the pace of your life.  Rest your body. Rest your mind. Rest your spirit. Let God teach you how to rest in Him. I think that you'll be surprised at how much of a difference this one decision can make in the quality of your life.

Are you the type of person described above, always on the move and trying to squeeze 26 hours out of a 24-hour day? When was the last time that you just took a day for yourself, that you took a vacation? What is your idea of rest? Comment below.  We'd love to hear your opinion.