Rest is imperative to our health, but unfortunately we can feel guilty when we aren’t producing anything or when we do try to slow down and rest. However it’s through rest that we rebuild, rewire and are renewed. Studies have discovered that the inner subcellular of our heart cells are functionally replaced in three days; a process that takes place during rest. The process is fast. The skin on our face is replaced in two weeks and our gut lining cells take two days.
While sleeping there are amazing things happening within us that are adversely affected when we don’t rest. In deep sleep we categorise the acts and motions of the day which causes changes in our brain circuitry, plus the releasing of creativity and dreams. It’s also as we sleep that new brain cells for the next day are created.
God’s word also tells us clearly that God rested and we don’t really get the picture of God being lazy or unproductive. In Genesis, the story of creation tells us that;
“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. And God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” (Genesis 2:2-3)
A lifestyle of ceaseless labour day after day, no matter how noble or worthy our cause, is not good for us, nor pleasing to the God. God chose to rest setting an example for us that we are designed and created to follow.
Jesus illustrated this model in that He and his disciples often withdrew from people and activity in order to rest and commune with the Father.
“The news about him spread all the more, so that crowds of people came to hear him and to be healed of their sicknesses. But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” (Luke 5:15-16)
“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31 NIV)
Interestingly Jesus withdrew to rest from the demands of the day at the height of his popularity. There were literally thousands and thousands of people crying out for Jesus to heal, teach and bless them. The need and opportunities were great and yet Jesus chose to rest and take time off because He understood that if He was to accomplish His purpose he had to remain spiritually, physically and mentally strong. And that required regular times of prayer, rest and recuperation.
Rest is the invisible part of our time that rebuilds and remakes us every day. Without adequate rest we will suffer and struggle to fulfil those things that God has placed in our hearts to enjoy, experience and accomplish.
Today determine to take more time to rest. Schedule rest and recuperation time in your diary and day and honour that time as just important as the other more visible productive parts of your life.
Prayer: Lord help me to understand the importance of rest and to set aside a regular time to cease from all my activity and labour so that I can recuperate, reflect, relax, and fully rest. In Jesus name Amen.