The great philosopher Bon Jovi once said, ‘I’m going to live while I’m alive, and sleep when I’m dead!’ And while I don’t specifically subscribe to this way of thinking, I find that it subtly works its way into my behavioral pattern. I find myself thinking of rest or sleep and unnecessary or not really needed. I find that I attempt to get by with as little sleep as I can. This may be the way you do things. This may be your approach to life, I don’t know.
What I do know is this – we need to rest. We need to have time to veg-out and chill out and rest up. One of my favorite passages of Scripture is in Hebrews chapter 4 when the writer speaks of the Sabbath Rest for the people of God. The writer, I think, is making an analogy towards Heaven… but what I really like about this is it gives the idea of there being a time when I can rest… I mean really rest, when my mind doesn’t have to be racing thinking of what I am not doing because I am resting. I can really relax, because there isn’t something else I should be doing.
I find myself to be a relatively driven, purposeful individual. A few years ago, I had a mental breakdown. And there have been many lasting repercussions for this event, but the most frustrating of them has been my drive has diminished. No, I am NOT talking about my sex drive. I am talking about my drive to accomplish things, to do stuff, to be the leader, the father, to invite my wife on the adventure of our lives with me, to cherish her and my kids, to make life exciting, to set goals and furiously work towards them.
By the grace of God, each day I get healthier. And I get healthier the remnants of that illness fade away. With each passing day I become more of who I used to be (the good parts) and less of what I became. And in becoming more of who I used to be and less of what I became, my determination, my drive have returned. This is a very good thing.
But this is also a thing that I must watch very carefully.
I must guard against over-extending myself.
I must guard against biting off more than I can chew.
I must guard myself against getting too busy that I miss the things that truly matter.
I must guard myself against trying to fill my life with so many things to keep me busy that I fail to rest when it is needed and I begin to, as one of my counseling professors used to say, decompensate.
We all need it. It takes different forms for each us. What is rest to me, may not be rest for you. But the key to rest, whatever it is, is that it refreshes. It rejuvenates. It encourages. It gives us more energy. It makes us whole again.
What do you do to rest? What keeps you from resting more?