“Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Jesus in Matthew 11
To Live Freely – The Rest Series – Part 6
Rest isn't/shouldn’t be a luxury in your life. It should be on your list of priorities, of things to DO, time set aside that is just as important as appointments, tasks, and meetings.
It’s a part of the process. We need to rest just as much as we need to work. They are complementary, not oppositional.
Rest looks different for everyone. For me, it's quiet and books, a winter fire, or the summer sun, the beach or a library; a good movie or TV Show, a cuppa (Australian for cup of tea or coffee… FYI) or wine with a friend; playing Lego with my kids, sleeping in till after 9am, going to be bed early or staying up late stargazing.
Rest isn’t all stop; it's allocating time and space in our life to play, explore and rejuvenate. Play is just as important as sleep. Yep, even for us adults. We need it to unwind our minds and hearts, to build strength in our bodies and souls, and to activate wonder and imagination and faith in our spirits.
Now listen, I am not advocating being ignorant of issues that need our attention; work that does, indeed, need to be done. I’m not suggesting that we turn a blind eye to helping and reaching out and doing good in the world. Or that we should not worry so much about the people we are responsible for and committed too. Not at all. There is much that needs to be done in our lives and in the world, and we would do well to put our heart and soul into the work of our hands, feet, and hearts.
I’m suggesting that part of the work of living involves resting. It’s reflected in nature, and in our biology. There are night and day, winter and summer. A time to plant and a time to harvest. Our bodies are designed to work hard, but they are also designed (ON PURPOSE) to sleep and rest.
Rest is a part of work. We do our best work when we are well rested.
There have been, and will continue to be, seasons where it's hand to the plow, seemingly relentless tasks to engage, urgent needs that beg for our attention. Sometimes we will be able to push through and work a little harder than normal. And other times, we will have to stop and give our bodies, minds, and hearts, time to recover and replenish.
Listen to your body, it speaks to you all the time. Listen to the spirit, she knows what you need and when. But most of all, learn to trust. Trust that the world can do without you for a while. And trust that in the resting, you will find the strength you need.
If you don’t rely on your productivity to feed your sense of value, then you’ll be able to stop when you need, or humbly keep on going when it's required. You’ll learn the rhythm that your body and spirit need for health and vitality. And you’ll discover that it’s all grace.
In Matthew 11, Jesus said: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”