Finding Rest Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically

Finding Rest Spiritually, Emotionally, Physically
Many of us struggle with feeling completely worn out, overwhelmed and just plain hopeless. As Christians we often think that we need to do more to be pleasing to God and others. We live our lives striving to meet expectations at home, work and unfortunately even at church. God didn’t make a mistake when he mandated one day a week for rest. Let’s take a look at the benefits of rest and how science is proving that God’s plan has always been the right plan.

What did Jesus have to say about rest?

  • After finding out about the death of John the Baptist: “As soon as Jesus heard the news he went off by himself in a boat to a remote area to be alone. (Matthew 14: 13)
  • After he fed the 5000 + with the loaves and fish: “Immediately after this, Jesus made his disciples get back into the boat and cross to the other side of the lake while he sent the people home. Afterward he went up into the hills by himself to pray. Night fell while he was there alone.”(Matthew14: 22-23).
  • “Come to me all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle, and you will find rest in your souls. For my yoke fits perfectly, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28).

What does science say?

  • Androniki Naska, Ph.D., University of Athens Medical School, Greece, and colleagues studied 23,681 Greek men and women ages 20 to 86 who did not have a history of heart disease or any other severe condition when they enrolled in the study between 1994 and 1999. At the beginning of the study, participants were asked if they took midday naps, and if so, how often and for how long at a time. They also reported their level of physical activity and dietary habits over the previous year.
  • Over an average of 6.32 years of follow-up, 792 participants died, including 133 who died from heart disease. After the researchers factored in other cardiovascular risk factors, individuals who took naps of any frequency and duration had a 34 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease than those who did not take midday naps. Systematic nappers, those who took a siesta for 30 minutes or more at least three times per week, had a 37 percent lower risk of heart-related death.
  • Among working men, those who took midday naps either occasionally or systematically had a 64 percent lower risk of death from heart disease during the study than those who did not nap, while non-working men who napped had a 36 percent reduction in risk.

What about work?

  • The typical American worker puts in nine to ten weeks more than his or her European counterpart.
  • According to Boston College sociology professor Juliet Schor, the typical American now works 47 hours a week – at least 164 more hours per year than only two decades ago.
    • As a culture, we see productivity as the ultimate virtue and idleness or play as weakness or a character defect.

So how can we combat our obsession with work and the busy life style we Americans have come to value? Let’s take a look at some ideas.

Remember how to play

      • Cut the electronic umbilical cord-how can you replace time on your Blackberry, PDA or lap top with real relationships (face to face)? Have lunch, coffee, tea, play board games or cards
      • Find time for outdoor activities, bike, walk, hike, picnic, fish, throw a ball, go to the beach, sled, ice skate, snow tubing, lie in the sun, watch the birds, garden..
      • Reconnect to your true passions for fun. You may have to go back to your childhood to remember what you really enjoy What were your hobbies? Were you a collector, a reader, or a lover of pets? Are you competitive, or maybe an inventor? Do you love art or music? The list is unending. Take some time to remember what really brings you joy.

“We’ve forgotten the sheer delight of play. To really savor life, however, we must indulge in this most intrinsic need. Play is an opening to our very being”,  writes Lenore Terr in Beyond Love and Work. “It allows emotional discharge, with the added benefit of carrying no risks.”

      Play and fun energize us and provide gratification – a life worth living. Play takes us out of our thinking, analyzing mind – which is often overly focused on the past or the future – and brings us in touch with the present and with ourselves. Most adults perceive play as a luxurious indulgence, but it is essential to health, happiness and deep fulfillment.
      As we are being asked to work longer hours, the need for play should not be something we only talk about, but should be actively sought after. Here are some suggestions on how to incorporate more play into your daily routine.

Cultivate an attitude of Gratitude

    Like happiness, being thankful and more positive in your everyday life can be contagious – just as being negative and always complaining can be quite catching. In her article Five ways to cultivate an attitude of gratitude, Susie Michelle Cortright says, “Help your friends develop more positive traits by living those positive traits yourself. Know what kind of friends will help you nurture your soul, and set out to find some.”

Pamper yourself sometimes! 

    With the rat race of life, it is crucial for you to stop and savor something pleasurable or even indulgent – on a regular basis. In the article Seven secrets to happiness, author Meaghan Buchan recommends, “Splurge on a gourmet sandwich one day for lunch instead of brown bagging it. Get the deluxe spa pedicure or massage. Take a bubble bath with the candles lit. (Guys you’ll have to fill in the blanks here). Pampering yourself does not mean you’re being selfish. It’s taking some time to relax and enjoy the pleasures that God has provided you with.

Accept what is

      Your perception is reality. If you look around you and everything is wonderful but you remain unhappy and unfulfilled, then the problem lies within you, with how you think or perceive life. Give yourself permission to feel good and enjoy your life. Sometimes simply giving yourself permission to be happy is all it takes to eliminate and move beyond your limiting beliefs. You have permission! Be happy.
      Jesus said it the best of course: “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries, Today’s trouble is enough for today.”(Matthew 6:34)
      God plan does not include overwork, stress, worry and anxiety. In fact His plan is the opposite of that. He begs us to trust him and rest in him. He wants us to experience joy in our lives and relationships. He asks us to slow down and take time for Him in prayer and scripture. He set the example for slowing down and getting away from the crowds when he was tired. He wants us to begin to experience the joy of our salvation and eternal life now-not to wait until we get to heaven. He reminds us if we taste the “Living Water we will never thirst again”


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About the Author

Lori Hommer