Are you weary? Is your family tired? Is your work team running on empty?
“How are you?” We ask one another.
“Busy,” is the common reply.
Imagine answering, “Well and rested.”
How rested are you, really?
Take the Quiz
____ In the past four weeks I’ve enjoyed four days off that were care-free with minimal work around the house.
____ This last week I’ve had five nights of 7–8 hours of sleep.
____ I enjoy a purpose-driven pause on a regular/daily basis.
____ I took a restorative day or weekend away in the last six months.
____ I enjoyed four evenings last week with no out-of-the-home obligations.
____ I took all my vacation time last year.
Score 0–3: You are running on the fumes of an empty tank.
Score 4: You are familiar with the rejuvenating aspects of rest and renewal, but gaps remain.
Score 5–6: The life-giving rhythms of rest are established in your life.
We humans have lost the wisdom of genuinely resting and relaxing. We worry too much. We don’t allow our bodies to heal, and we don’t allow our minds and hearts to heal.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Each year, we traditionally set resolutions and goals to help us develop healthy habits that improve our lives and relationships. Yet, food and fitness are merely symptomatic of deeper issues. Sometimes the most loving thing we can do for ourselves and our families is to take a nap. And regularly get to bed on time.
While rest is the missing piece in our hurried and harried schedules, rest is the first thing in Scripture that God blessed. Rest is an action God tells us to weave into our lives. Without recovery, we lose joy, productivity falls, creativity dries up, and satisfaction with life morphs into discouragement.
When we are well rested, joy returns, relationships flourish, productivity is optimized, and troublesome medical conditions diminish. Our unhealthy habits mask a lack of restoration to our bodies and souls that is only found in a balance of work and transformational recovery. When we are eating junk food, sleeping poorly, feeling sickly, addicted, and avoiding exercise, we are medicating our need for rest with all the wrong medicines.
But in a culture that values a strong work ethic and superhuman productivity, we can feel guilty about our need for rest. The result is that we lean on entertainment and escape as a substitute escape for rest, only to continue feeling depleted.
I’ll get seven hours sleep a night, but after breakfast, I’ll have an hour just resting, to recover. In Spain they all have siestas, even businessmen. ~Joshua Anthony
God knows what we need, and he provided life-giving rhythms of work and rest. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done, (Genesis 2:2–3 NIV).
Sleep: Are you getting enough?
Adults require eight to nine hours daily. Less than seven hours of sleep has an immediate and negative impact on our body. Chronic deficits sabotage health and shorten our life.
Babies to one-year-olds: 12 to 15 hours
One to three-year-olds: 12 to 14 hours
Four to six-year-olds: 10 to 12 hours
Seven to 12-year-olds: 10 to 11 hours
Teens through adult: 8 to 9 hours
For better sleep,
- One to two hours prior to bed, turn off all media. TV, movies, and computers stimulate the brain, making it harder to fall asleep. Use the period just before bed to play board and card games, read, and bathe.
- Balance blood sugar with a bedtime snack that includes protein, fat, and carbohydrates. This could be a half a tuna sandwich, peanut butter on a banana, almonds and raisins, or hummus and crackers.
With adequate sleep, life looks better, we make smarter decisions, and we hear the Lord’s voice clearer. We experience better health through rest.