“The Lord God has given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: He wakens morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.” Isaiah 50:4
Do you feel like when you take time out to rest, you feel like you’re wasting time? Your mind rushes. You may feel a bit of guilt mixed with a little hesitation?
Everyone needs to take a break to enjoy the simplicity of life. With so much to do in your daily schedule, taking time out can cause anxiety in itself. You may feel restless: tempted to reach for the cell phone to follow up on a project, text a friend, or check your email.
In today’s complex lifestyle, it is very easy to get caught up in constant motion. Even if you decide to unwind, you find your mind wandering, thinking, planning, solving, and even worrying about your next task or responsibility.
The pleasure of rest is lacking or even non-existent in today’s society. Most people do not even acknowledge Sundays as a day of rest anymore. It’s just one more day to squeeze some type of activity or work into their schedule, whether it’s shopping, cleaning, fixing, or some other project that needs to get done. Much like a foreign language, you simply do not understand the importance when your battery needs to be recharged. The whole concept is unimaginable, unrealistic, or unthinkable.
You may be juggling a long commute to work, looking for a job, taking care of kids, cooking, cleaning, washing clothes, and buying groceries. The list goes on and on. The challenge is not in doing but in the delegating. You must learn to free up some time for yourself. It’s not selfish. It’s necessary.
Your body will speak to you when you need to rest, but we must also listen to the signs and act accordingly. The pressure and demands of life can cause severe health issues down the road if you are not diligent in learning how to treat yourself with care.
When you take a break from the complexities of life, you gain productivity. You’re refreshed with a sense of energy and clarity. Simplicity is bliss. You may gain a new perspective, get a new idea, and even solve a problem.
You may feel like you’re missing out on something at first, but actually you’re taking back your life and regaining control and order. When you are rested, you perform better. You are also less irritated and handle problems with a clear head.
I’m reminded of the Bible story of Mary and Martha. One woman, Martha, worked hard for Jesus while he visited their home. While the other, Mary, rested at his feet and listened to him teach. Martha got upset that her sister offered no help. However, Jesus acknowledged Mary who rested. “Martha, Martha, you are careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary has chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Luke 10:38-42
Taking a break is not a lazy or a bad thing, as long as there’s balance in your life. Spend time alone. Get enough sleep at night. Meditate. Watch birds or clouds. Sit in silence. Do nothing (not even think). It’s a challenge, I’m sure; but it will definitely recharge your spirit, especially if you make it a daily or weekly habit.
“And on the seventh day God ended His work which he made and he rested on the seventh day from all his work he has made.” Gen 2:2
1. Elevate Your Thoughts
God wants us to align our thinking with His thoughts. The natural mind does not understand spiritual things. It is a constant battle to think on a higher plane because our world is so negative and evil. It’s so much easier to think negatively which immediately drains our energy. That’s why we should always be aware of our thoughts, actions, and environments.
As soon as our thoughts begin to focus on fear, disbelief, doubt, or any other toxic emotion, we need to consciously change our thought patterns. It is very challenging to switch your thoughts when so many problems are staring you in the face. The advantage is knowing the Gospel and being able to draw from God’s promises and meditate on His word which is life and substance to your soul. Once we elevate our minds, we raise our energy level and begin to feel much better. It is a spiritual war that manifests in a physical realm. Often times, we use physical components to fight our spiritual or mental battles such as sleeping pills, medication, drugs, alcohol, or sex. We may even contemplate suicide as a means of escape.
2. Take Care of Your Body
We must take care of our bodies including eating healthier and exercising daily. Many people overlook the importance of a well-balanced diet. However, diet plays a vital role in how we deal with stress and challenges in our lives. When we eat healthily, we have a clear mind. Our bodies are able to fight off disease and illness and even stress better. You can also take vitamins to supplement your diet such as B- complex vitamins which alleviate stress. It’s best to consult your doctor for specific vitamin supplements based on your physical needs.
Another important factor is to get enough rest. When all else fails, go to sleep! Just make sure you have a balance. When we sleep, our stress levels go down. We are able to fight off illness, deal with problems, and make better decisions. We are less irritable and able to manage frustrations with ease. We are also able to control our emotions and we are much more productive in our daily lives.
“He who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His. Let us labor, therefore, to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” Hebrews 4:10–11
Unfortunately, Satan understands our weaknesses and attacks us when we are most vulnerable which often means we are lacking rest. When we are tired or weary, it disrupts our peace of mind. When we have inner peace, we are able to interact with others much better as well as have the ability for the Lord to direct us in our daily decisions. “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace.” I Corth 4:33
God is actively at work at all times even while we are resting. The Lord never slumbers. “He will not suffer thy foot to be moved. He that keeps thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keeps Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.” Psalm 121
3. Seek Solitude in Prayer, Worship and Reading the Bible
Most of all, this is the most obvious but required. We should have a set schedule to spend time with God. We should continue to seek God in prayer. We must not give up hope. We should pray without ceasing knowing that God will answer our prayers in perfect timing.
We must also continue to worship Him regardless of our situation. It’s in the hardest struggles that our praise is strengthened. No matter what the situation looks like we must continue to be faithful in worship. There is always something to appreciate and be grateful for.
We should read the Bible on a regular schedule to keep our spirits strong and to encourage ourselves daily. Faith is by hearing and hearing is by the Word of God. We should surround ourselves with a body of believers who will encourage and support us. This will raise our spirits, as well as our thoughts and actions.
When we take care of our mind, body, and soul, it strengthens our spiritual well-being to hear from God. By developing and building trust in Him, it draws us closer to Him. When we begin to see how He delivers us out of our situations and circumstances, our trust and faith will be strengthened to overcome any obstacle that we face.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only so but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed: because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Romans 5:3-5