Sunday Morning: What is Rest?

Rest. What is rest? It seems to me that people constantly run through the day, getting one thing done, then another, never stopping until it’s to dark to work. The next morning they get up and do it all over again. Whether they want to or not. Are you one of them? Or do you find satisfaction in crossing finished task off your list? Or are you so caught up in work that you don’t think of life any other way?

Work is important. Paul says in 2 Thessalonians 3:10, “. . . The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” We know that God worked six days in the week, creating this world, and on the seventh He rested. If you’re the man of the house you surely know the importance of work. If you didn’t work your family couldn’t eat and the bills wouldn’t get paid. If you’re the lady of the house you know that without work you’d live in a junk pile. Often times the lady will work at her job until she’s tuckered out, then on her way home she picks up the kids from school, wishing she had ear plugs to avoid the noise. When she gets home laundry’s piling up, the bathroom’s a mess, and dinner’s waiting to be made. She looks at the calendar and sees dentist appointments, soccer practice, and art classes all jammed into that week. While the man of the house dreams of some rest, he cleans the garage, mows the lawn and when he finally thinks the days done, his kids ask for help with their homework.

How does that life sound? Does it sound like yours or does it sound way to busy? Some people enjoy a schedule like that, it makes them feel important. I’ve heard girls say, “I like the sound of your life, it sounds so hectic. Not like me. I never have anything planned.” I admit, I like a hectic life. When I don’t have anything to do I go crazy! Yet I long for rest. Perhaps you’re a teenage girl who’s always on the run. Tuesday you have a Sunday school meeting, Wednesday is youth night, Thursday is Bible study, Saturday you’re going shopping with the girls, Sunday’s game day, Monday you planned to meet up with your friend to plan a birthday party for another friend. Above all this, you have CNA classes, a part time job, a little brother to babysit, a thirteen year old sister who begs to be driven to the mall and Mom and Dad who depend on you to do a good job with, well . . . everything. Sure the youth nights, CNA classes and game days are fun, but where does the rest come in that you so desperately need?

So often I hear moms saying they’re always busy. I know one mom even put it on her social media profile. I also heard a girl say, “Literally, I don’t know rest. I am always on my feet. I get up, go to work, come home with a ton of chores waiting for me. Then I work until it’s time to go to bed. I read, sleep and start all over again.” I heard another girl say, “I work all day every day, when Sunday comes all I want to do is rest.” This gives the girl no time for friends, because obviously, when we’re so tired hanging out with friends is the last thing on our mind.

In my case I’m the teenage girl who has a ton of things to plan, with work that adds up to be a full time job, all the while thinking she can do everything and do it all by herself. There’s so much to do, so many possibilities, with such little time to do it. When this happens frustration hits, we feel left alone with work stacked ten miles high on our shoulders. This happens to everyone who never has time to rest. To the tired parents, to the overwhelmed teenager, to the single parent, to the nine year old boy with to much homework. So in a world with over enough work, how do we find time to rest and why?

Why? Because don’t you feel your body breaking? Even when you think you’re fine and used to it, you’re body’s slowly cracking. Your brain literally feels like it could explode any minute with all this pressure. The Lord worked six days, then He rested. He found rest important and He even commands rest in the fourth commandment. Paul says we are the temple of God (1 Cor. 3:16). In many places he tells us to take care of our body. In most places it means keeping our body clean, but should we not also keep it healthy? In Mark 6:31, after the apostles had done and taught so much, Jesus told them to come with Him by themselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

Sundays are often filled with family and church activities, which does not rest our bodies at all. I was raised with people all around me thinking Sundays were for rest and weekdays were for work. But when Sunday came friends and families would get together and we’d get just as tired as we would on a weekday. You see, hanging out with friends or family on weekdays was not acceptable; you must work. So that only left Sunday for fun activities. While weekdays are for work, it’s very important to squeeze in some quiet, simple, fun and restful moments. I’m not saying do no work at all, as we read earlier, whoever does not work, should not eat.

I also understand that finding time to rest is nearly impossible. Just today I found so many excuses not to rest, I heard so many excuses, I heard people saying how they don’t need it. And well, I felt kind of awkward hearing all this, while I was trying to write an article about rest. Yet I know how badly it’s needed, even though it seems like it’s the most unimportant thing in the world. When we get so tired or caught up in our work we get angry, we push people aside, we complain, we forget to put God first, we eat to fast or not all giving our bodies lack of nutrition. We start thinking, ‘I don’t need food. I don’t need sleep. Rest is not for me.’ Pushing people away, complaining, giving in to anger are all things that rot our soul. So why would we not prevent this by letting ourselves find time to rest.

So how? How does the busy mom find time to rest? How does the overwhelmed teenager find time to herself?

To be Continued . . .

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