Ironically, as I lay here battling my own bout of insomnia the word of encouragement the Lord put on my heart to share which was literally utter by my wife before she drifted off into her sweet slumber is rest; go figure!
Unfortunately, our culture basks in busyness, wearing stress and lack of sleep like a badge of honor. Sandra Dalton Smith, M.D. said, “If you’re waking up (after sleeping) and still exhausted, the issue probably isn’t sleep. It’s likely a rest deficit.” As the news regularly reports, more than half of Americans don’t use their allotted vacation days and are likely to bring work with them when they do take a vacation. Work provides our identity with busyness assuring our status. Stimulants like caffeine and sugar provide the means to get moving in the morning while sleeping pills, alcohol, and herbal remedies enable us to forcibly shut down our bodies and minds to get fitful sleep before starting it all over again because, as the adage says, “You can sleep when you are dead.”
My beloved brothers and sisters, God honors a good day’s work, but He never intended for His creation to work themselves to death. God Himself who doesn’t grow tired or weary (Isaiah 40:28) chose to rest after manufacturing creation on the seventh day (Gen 2:2-3).
In biblical context, rest is more than the absence of work (Matthew 11:28-30). Rest demonstrates where we place our trust for provision, identity, purpose, and importance. Rest is both a regular rhythm to our day and our week as well as a promise with fuller future fulfillment, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from His” (Hebrews 4:9-10).
At the end of the day, we can’t do it all. We can’t get it all done, even with 24 hours a day and seven days a week. Therefore, it behooves us to completely relinquish our attempts at earning an identity through our works and rest in the identity God provides as we are loved by Him and free to rest in His provision and care. This desire for autonomy through self-definition forms the basis for the Fall and continues to plague our functioning in relationship to God and others today.
Lastly, vocational rest is not the only thing we need to balance in our every evolving and constantly changing lives. There are 7 other types of rest we need to actually feel recharged and for the sake of time I will list them below and for validation purposes I invite you to biblically research them on your own:
Like my twin brother likes to say, “The enemy is focused on busyness, but God is focused on business and the only difference between the two is the “I” in the middle of it all!