Sometimes Life Needs a "Station Break"
TIME FOR A BREAK
It has been a while since my last Hub and I have to admit that things have been a little crazy. Life has so many moving parts and at times it can get to be a bit much. I have no idea how people who have no relationship with the Lord make it through the day!! I am indeed grateful for a God who gives comfort, rest, and joy even in the midst of storms. One thing I have come to understand over the past few months is that the ability to live life well requires rest.
When I say it is time for a break, it goes beyond taking some time off from work or going on vacation. I am talking about looking at the 24 hours God has provided and carving out a little piece of that EVERY DAY just to stop, focus, readjust, seek guidance....just be still. As a child of God, I found myself longing to hear His voice, feel His presence, know that He is an ever present help. So, I took a break and guess what....that was EXACTLY what I needed.
BEING BETTER MEANS BEING STILL
- the job
- the laundry
- the groceries
- the budget
- the yard work
- the kids
- the homework
- the in-laws
...and the hits just keep on coming. If you really take a moment to carefully analyze life's "to-do" list, all that we face in the course of a day should drive the average person over the edge. Yet, we continue to operate in the energy of the flesh, pushing past appropriate meals and adequate sleep just to get to the next thing on the list. Oh yeah, don't forget to throw in that 15 minutes of quiet time with the Lord for good measure!
John Muir said is best, "Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul." In order for our lives to be better, it has to start with moments of stillness each day. We are reminded in the Word of God to "Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof." (Matthew 6:34)
So why are jumping out of bed like full bred stallions out of the starting gate, shooting through the shower and out the door with our cell phones in hand? What happens in a day is going to happen with or without us, so why not stop and enjoy choreographed, scheduled moments of stillness before the bell dings and the race we call life begins?
Resting the mind, body and soul provides relief and allows us to better focus on physical, emotional and spiritual growth. When a fever of 104 degrees forced me into a three day hospital stay last October, I learned very quickly that life goes on, work goes on, people carry on without me. One thing is certain, those 72 hours of stillness allowed both my body and my spirit to get better. Rest brings balance to our lives.
THE POWER OF REST
Dr. Matthew Edlund, M.D., researches rest, sleep, performance and public health, and is the author of The Power of Rest. He made a thought-provoking statement in that book that bears repeating here.
Doing "Nothing" May Be The Most Active Thing You Do
So while you are busy doing nothing, your body is re-making you with extreme velocity. How fast? Most of you, barring skeletal materials like bones, teeth, the lens of the eye, cytoskeletal proteins like elastin, is made, gone, and replaced inside 3-4 weeks. When things work hard, the process is even faster. Your gut lining is gone in 1-2 days. The pumping proteins in your heart that let you read this sentence are, according to Ana Maria Cuervo of Albert Einstein Medical College, made, used, repaired, pulped, and recycled inside 60-90 minutes.
Another excerpt from Dr. Edlund's book makes it clear that rest is regeneration. Stop sleep and you can die. Short shrift sleep and you wreck your ability to learn and remember, increase your chance of stroke and heart attack, set yourself up for colds, mess up your skin and set yourself to gain weight, quickly and reliably.
And that's just a passive form of rest, sleep. Because there's far more - the active forms of rest you consciously control that reactivate your own regeneration. There's physical rest, mental rest, social rest, spiritual rest, ways to renew you and restore you as your body rebuilds itself.
And rebuild itself it must.
OBEDIENT & DILIGENT REST
“But there’s so much that needs to be done.”
“If I don’t do this no one else will.”
“I’m ok – I can keep going.”
The list of reasons we give for pushing beyond the limits of what is reasonable are without limit. We ignore loved one's advice to take a break for fear that the world will cease to rotate on its axis without us -- or at the very least, the payroll checks won't get signed and distributed on time! Heaven forbid we appear lazy or selfish.
All too often we tend to ignore what’s best for us in some kind of misguided sense of martyrdom. At the end of the day, it is not the voices of those around us that we ignore, but the wisdom and guidance of God who Himself rested on the seventh day of creation. Jesus commanded the disciples to "rest a while" from their labors of love. So yes, there is a season for every purpose under heaven, including a time to rest.
God urges us to be diligent in taking our rest. Failing to recognize our need for moments of stillness is disobedience. We don't often see it that way. When we push ourselves too hard, refusing to allow ourselves to take the break we need, do we actually stop and think and recognize it as disobedience to God?
There’s no fooling God when we pretend that we can cope, even though we’re exhausted. God’s not convinced when we protest that without us things will fall apart. God cares for us and He knows our needs. He knows when we need a break. It is imperative that we diligently seek those quiet moments that we may find rest and restoration to rise up and fight another day.
For those of you that follow my Hubs, you know my story. I have the awesome responsibility of raising my grandson and that is not without its challenges at my age. The struggle to balance this stage of my life with his stage of life requires focus, effort, and a ton of commitment to the cause. The energy level of a woman nearing 50 is well below that of a growing, thriving, active nine year old boy. So when I landed in the hospital, and my grandson survived 72 hours without me, I had an epiphany -- God has graced me with family, friends, favor and faith -- now I understand the imperative nature of quiet times, still moments, and rest.
The struggle to raise my grandson to the glory of God the Father is real, but as I purposely inject those quiet times, still moments and rest into each day, I find the strength to carry on. My home, my job, my grandson and the ministries in which I serve benefit from a well rested Sonjia -- and God is glorified with the results.