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.


  1. This article really hit home for me. I have been surviving for decades on on less than the RDR (recommended daily requirement) of rest. I am so convicted, that I will try to take a nap in a few minutes, and follow through on a daily basis.
    Thank you. Your sight is inviting.

  2. Hmmmm... Where do I begin? I don't think I've really got good rest since I got married. I've been married for 28 years. Now, I don't even have children, but I do have a husband (who is a minister) and he also works at a bank which takes up about 20 hours of his time 5 days a week. In the past I was working, but since I've had 2 shoulder surgeries, I've been out. It has only been since I've been out with these surgeries that I've gotten "some" rest. God made me rest and that's what is happening to many of us...God is putting us in a position where we have to rest (our bodies are breaking down). I didn't want this to have to happen but it did. Once I can get through this '1-year recuperation' we'll see if I've learned anything at all about rest. Now that I've been resting, my body has shown me just how tired I really am. The more rest I get, the more I realize I need more.

    Looking at my father's and mother's health has made me realize that "no rest and stress" will just about take your life away. My father can't get stressed out at all because if he does his body goes into "meltdown". He is a diabetic and has had about 3 major back surgeries. We just returned from a special church Council meeting and even before they got there, mom and dad were already exhausted. Well they continued to press, but by the time they arrived at their destination, they were totally zaunked out, so much so that by the end of the Council meeting, dad had to be rushed to the hospital. He was totally dehydrated and his body was thinking it was going throughg total starvation. The doctors had to administer nourishment through an IV to help get him back up to where he should be. Of course the doctor said "the main thing you need is rest".

    My mom, on the other hand has been a caregiver for the last 15 years (taking care of my 'now-deceased grandmother, and continuously caring for my father, who is insulin-dependent for over 40 years). Mom is self-less and has truly gone without rest for so many years that now she experiences headaches, ankle swelling and complete exhaustion. Being the wife of an Elder who presides over a District of churches, Plus pastoring over 3 churches, isn't easy. She never complains though. She just keeps going, but now it has caught up with her. Every chance I get, I go by there to check on the both of them and I constantly encourage them to take it easy and get some rest or they won't be around long and this holds true for everyone.

  3. Thank you both for confirming the message of this post, that rest is so very important. I pray that you will implement the principle of rest in your own lives and encourage others to do the same to its best benefit.

    Be blessed! :)