Rest to Be Your Best!

Rest to Be Your Best!

By Leah Parker

We know that we are called to work hard in life, in everything we set our hands to do. The Bible is full of examples to support this. God created a garden, but then placed Adam in it for him to manage it. We also see principles of being rewarded for your labor, sowing and reaping, working your talents, and so on. The Bible is a book of leaders and overcomers, written for those who are also destined and designed to achieve incredible things.

It’s easy, then, to look at our lives and see where we could do more or try harder or get better, where we could grow in our field or enlarge our capacity. It’s not hard to get motivated when the Word of God is your example!

But, what about the concept of rest? What about the need to build breaks into our busy schedules so that we can maintain a high level without becoming overwhelmed or ineffective?

Do we take the need for rest as seriously as our drive to push ourselves in our field of work?

The Sabbath Principle

The purpose of the sabbath rest is twofold – spiritual and physical/emotional. Spiritually, it is to keep God, His Holiness, and who He is in the forefront of our minds and our lives. It is for us to reset and refocus, to remind ourselves of Who God is and the place of prominence He deserves in our lives. If we have the proper priorities in place in our spiritual journey, acknowledging and reverencing our heavenly Father above all, then everything else in life to falls into place more easily.

There is also a physical/emotional component. From sociology to psychology to biology, science confirms that our bodies and souls need rest. How we cope with external stress has serious implications for our internal world. Stress levels that go unchecked contribute to higher anxiety, heart rate, and blood pressure, which can be linked to heart disease and other chronic illnesses.

When we feel overwhelmed or over-worked, we can find it difficult to stay calm, think clearly, or respond appropriately, falling into a downward spiral of frustration and fatigue. Proper rest allows us to decompress, re-focus, and regain our energy and strength.

Knowing the necessity for rest, the question becomes, “How do we get it?”

Here’s a simple framework of three ways to begin to build rest into your schedule:

Divert Daily
Make a moment each day, even if it’s just 5 minutes, when you can unplug and divert your focus from your projects, responsibilities, and to-do list. Many times, taking a break and then returning to a task brings a fresh energy and perspective that could otherwise have been lost in unrelenting attention.

The most effective breaks are the ones that allow us to do something different – if you’re at a computer all day, get up and enjoy a quick walk. Or, if your work is physically intensive, sit and relax for a few minutes. If your workplace is crowded, find a place to be alone, or if you’re a freelancer who often works independently, perhaps make a quick phone call if you’d enjoy hearing another voice.

Withdraw Weekly
Even if your days off aren’t Saturdays and Sundays, it’s still important to give yourself a weekly opportunity to pursue hobbies and activities other than your primary job. This also allows you to devote your energy and attention to the other important roles you fulfill in your family, church, or community, as well.

We typically associate weekends or days off with more freedom and fun. These days off provide a departure from the restrictions of work or school, and give us time to connect with others, explore our own interests, or simply relax and recover!

Abandon Annually
Whether it’s a vacation or a stay-cation, at some point we all need to fully unplug from our work responsibilities and rigorous schedules. The benefits include reduced stress, increased ability to focus, stronger relationships with friends and family, and enhanced productivity.

A change of scenery helps us clear our head and gain fresh perspective. Being away from timeclocks and deadlines give us the mental break we often need to think outside the box and explore new alternatives and solutions. Our families, too, certainly benefit when we are able to give them our full attention!

The Bottom Line

We all can see that we have a responsibility, in whatever role or field God has graced us, to do our best so that we can reflect a God who exemplifies goodness, order, and excellence.

In the midst of all our schedule-making and goal-setting, let’s remember the sabbath principle, keeping our spiritual priorities in line and giving ourselves the rest we need to be our best.    

For more insight into the Sabbath Principle, click here!

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