For many, the title alone is imposing, because so many of us have experienced the need of rest alongside its impossibility. Finding the time or opportunity — we’ve tried and tried, but so often we’ve been thwarted. Or sometimes we’ve actually made the space to rest, but our mind wouldn’t switch off.
The burdens of the past or future continued to toll a bell that rang so loudly in our present we found resting futile.
Don’t give up so easily.
Rest is a fickle thing, or at least it seems that way. Closer to the truth, rest is a habit. It’s like how God taught me how to nap for alertness — it was all in the relaxation routine I could put my eye lids through. It took me a year to learn how to lose consciousness in a minute. Rest is something we have to actually learn. We have to be willing to press in and engage in it. God will teach us if we’re willing to make the room to learn.
We have to persist in learning how to quiet the mind. We’re blessed when we’re in touch with the physiological act of slowing our heart rate through focused mindfulness.
If we struggle to engage in rest, beyond excuses (which are all too easy to find and vocalise), we need to ask ourselves if we believe in it; in its benefits; in having the capacity to achieve it; in making the efforts required to give rest a chance. Belief could be our challenge.
But rest is easy to believe in. We all know it works. But it’s only as we truly journey with rest, over the years, that God teaches us the multiplicity of creative and recuperative blessing in it. Through rest is more of the fruit of the Spirit: peace, joy, gentleness, self-control certainly.
Tomorrow morning, real early, I’m going to the beach. Only for a few hours. But it’ll be enough for God to reconnect me with my spirit and my soul. God’s Presence will prove real in some surprising way. Something new will happen, and the smaller that thing, the better for my soul. I’ll sit there on my little sand-level chair, with a snack and a beverage, a pen and some paper. And, there, get lost.
Rest is a rewarding activity, spiritually, which helps us emotionally and mentally.
So come again to the question: what’s stopping you? Depart. Disappear.
Disappear for a few moments and you learn the world works just fine without you.