Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 ESV
Repeat after me: It is okay to rest.
Did you hear what you just said? Now, do you believe it? I am not taking about others resting, I am talking about YOU taking time to truly rest.
Repeat it one more time: IT IS OKAY TO REST.
I feel like for most of us, this is a hard concept to grasp and live out. We live in a world that esteems busyness as a sign of success or productivity. An active schedule adds value to your life, or so is the lie we are told. We fill our calendars and lists with more activities than we have the energy for, but yet, we just keep pushing forward and adding more. Rest is just a nice thought of something we will get to in the future. When we get caught up at work, then we will rest. When all chores are done, then we will rest. Once this month is over and the schedule clears up, then we will rest. But guess what, there will always be chores, activities, or events that come up to fill our hours and days. So we press on, pushing our mental and physical health beyond its limits. I dare say that eventually our spiritual health will take a few knocks as well as a result of our overwhelming agenda.
Below is the definition of rest from the Dictionary app:
Rest – the refreshing quiet or repose of sleep; refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor; relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs; a period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility; mental or spiritual calm. ( I really like the 3rd definition – freedom from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs. Who doesn’t want that? Can I get an Amen? )
We NEED rest. When we continue to run at our highest speed day after day, we will at some point crash. We should not feel guilty or have shame for taking care of our physical bodies and our mental health. Mental health issues have sky rocketed the past several years. I see it and I hear it all around me. People are exhausted, worn down, and fatigued. They want to rest, they need to rest, but yet they feel guilty for taking time to find that calm their soul craves. Have you ever felt that way? I have repeatedly over the years. I don’t know about you, but when my life is busy and chaotic, I am not at my best. Those closest to me take the brunt of the consequences when I run myself ragged. Sometimes it comes down to my body just being wore out from all the go, go, go! But there are other times, when from the outside looking in, things are at a slow pace, but boy if you could see my mind…..it’s like a hamster on a wheel who has had one too many energy drinks. I try to keep up with the daily flow, but all it does is dig a deeper hole mentally. I am learning, and it hasn’t been easy, to just say no. It is difficult to release myself from the guilt, but it will be okay if I say no to that invite, event, or activity. I am learning that what I need to do to regain my thoughts and sanity is not what others may need or even agree with, but guess what? It is okay. I know my limits and I have felt the consequences from where I continue to push myself.
In today’s world, it seems like the word “rest” can sometimes be can confused or looked at with a negative mindset. I do think that how we view rest and how we seek it in our lives are very different. We are all created uniquely with varying personalities, needs, and wants. Some in my circle of influence are extroverts, some introverts, and several fall in the the middle having traits of both which is called ambivert. The older I have gotten, I have tried to learn more on the different personality types to better understand and I have found it helpful to my relationships. Let’s be honest, we can be very judgemental towards the personality group we are not a part of just because of the diversity. Extroverts can see introverts as “anti-social, selfish, or lazy” . Introverts can see extroverts as “loud, bossy, or attention seekers”. Do you see where this thinking can lead to some trouble in relationships? Whether you are extroverted or introverted, you are not wrong, nor do you need to be fixed. You are who God made you to be for his purpose. You should not feel guilty for just being you. You should not feel pressure to be more like the other. Either way, God can use you! I have become aware that how we use energy and spend energy is as different as night and day. What extroverts see as a way of charging one’s battery, introverts see it as mentally draining. The way we seek out peace and rest can be just as opposite.
I am an ambivert, but definitely lean more towards the introverted scale. Reading up on the different personality traits, it has opened my heart and eyes to how my perspective was skewed. We throw labels on people so easily without taking the time to consider one’s actions or motives. Being intentional and taking time to understand one’s “why” can help us to show more grace and understanding.
Do take care of yourself. Do what you can to make good choices for your mental and physical health. Do not feel guilty. God never created us to be so overbooked and burdened down by the things of this world. Instead, I think he wants us to take more time to just sit and reflect on him. I pray that if you find yourself in the midst of chaos and busyness, you can find a way to slow down, seek God and find some time to just breathe. Whether it is physical rest you crave, or mental solitude, God can help you with both if you let him.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 ESV
Keep moving forward,