Starting in college, I realized the importance of rest and committed to taking one day a week to rest. This day usually involved spending time with friends, going for walks, taking naps, reading books, watching movies, eating, and playing piano. However, I’ve found that living life outside of the routine of school, it is much more difficult to discipline myself to maintain a day of rest.
Since coming to Uganda, I have had little time to rest and it is entirely of my own doing. I would rather be spending time with people than go off somewhere alone but in this context, being with people means being at school which means the possibility of doing work.
Upon returning from a recent trip to Kenya, I realized just how little people here take time to rest and recover and rejuvenate themselves. They function on very little sleep and are going from sunrise to after sunset every day. I have quickly learned that I don’t have the stamina for this kind of lifestyle and likely, people have grown accustomed to this lifestyle and know nothing different.
During the weeks prior to going to Kenya and during the week following, I was becoming deeply convicted to take days of rest again and to encourage those around me to do the same. It is so easy to get caught up in doing things for Christ that I forget one of the things He wants us to do is to honor a day of rest every week and that day is to be kept holy, set apart. Even the God who needs no rest, rested. We see it in Genesis during creation; we also see it in Exodus when God ordained a holy day of rest when He gave Moses the Ten Commandments. Later during Jesus ministry, he would go off by Himself to pray and be alone. God as God created rest and honored it and Jesus as a man, did the same! How much more do we as weak human vessels need rest.
As a result of rest, the quality and energy in which we are able to do our work throughout the rest of the week is vastly improved when there is a commitment to rest—it shows how much we care for our physical and mental beings and recognize our human abilities and needs. God doesn’t expect us to be heroes or god-like abilities. He wants us to embrace who we are, needy people. Rest should be something we want! Why on earth would we choose to not rest? It’s amazing and feels so good! Well, we are sinners who are predisposed to not obey the commands that God has set before us for our benefit. Weird to think that it is a sin to not honor the holy day of rest that God has given to us.
So many of us feel guilty for not allowing ourselves one day a week to veg around or do something purely out of enjoyment. We feel guilty if we don’t achieve certain work related things or don’t push ourselves beyond our max. But I tell you, this guilt is not of God! When we live a work filled life, we crash and burn, get sick, realize we need to slow down, and once we’re only semi recovered, are up and at it again.
All of that to say, I ended up getting sick once again (thankfully just another cold) this last week in the midst of having all these thoughts about rest on my heart and mind. It’s time to recommit myself to weekly Sabbaths. I need to be an example of Christ to everyone around me including taking care of myself so that I can take care of others. And so here I am, taking an extended weekend to sleep, eat good food, go on adventures, make memories, and most especially spend some quality time with good friends! And I’m not allowing Satan to fill my mind with guilt that I’m doing this, that, or the other thing back home.
Let’s not fight against our need for regular rest. Not a day set apart that turns into a day to do laundry and catch up on things we haven’t done the rest of the week; but to really be revitalized for the next days’ responsibilities. It’s one of God’s gifts to us! Receive it, relish it, and be thankful! Happy resting!