The Power of Rest

We live in a busy world with constant distractions. There is always something else to do or somewhere else to go. In College especially, finding the balance between school, social life, and extracurriculars can be really hard. We can get so wrapped up in everything going on that we forget one of the most important parts of life; rest. A lot of times when we think of rest, we think of taking a nap or sleeping, and sleep is important too, but when we look at the Bible we get a different picture of rest.

The first time we see the idea of rest in the Bible is almost at the very beginning. Genesis 2:2,3: “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.” Here we see God creating and working for six days, and then taking an entire seventh day to rest - aka taking a sabbath. This is where we first see the sabbath in the Bible. The word sabbath comes from the Hebrew word shabbāth which means “to cease from” or “to stop”. In order to sleep or nap, we have to stop what we’re doing, but here we see God resting in a much different way than just sleeping. He stops creating and just takes time to relax and not do anything. God doesn’t get tired though, so why would He want to rest? I don’t think He would rest unless it’s absolutely necessary, and if we’re created in His image, then we need to follow the model He sets for us here and make the sabbath a part of our lives.

We see that God rests and takes a sabbath, but we don’t see how or what He does when he’s not creating. So what can we practically do in our lives to align them with what we see God model for us? I think that rest looks different for almost everyone, and what’s restful for me might not be restful for you, and vice versa. Knowing what is restful for you is important. Maybe it’s going out to a park, setting up a hammock, and reading, maybe it’s taking a walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind, or maybe it’s listening to music in your room by yourself with a candle lit. Sometimes just saying no is what we need to do. No is one of our least favorite words, but it is one of the most effective when you want to rest more. FOMO sucks, but being tired all of the time is even worse so don’t be afraid to say no sometimes. Again, rest is subjective, but finding what is restful for you specifically is very necessary, especially when the environments and circumstances around us cause anxiety.

When we feel anxious or overwhelmed, we should follow God’s footsteps and take a break. Take time to stop and just relax for a little bit. This is easier said then done because, even if we take a break physically, our minds can still be focused on what is going on around us or what we have to do next. Aligning our minds with rest can be a lot harder than aligning our lives with rest. As cliché as it sounds, turning your thoughts to God is one of the best ways to do this. When you feel like you can’t control your thoughts, ask God to control them for you. He wants what is best for you, and He will help you when you invite Him into your struggles. Maybe turning your thoughts to God looks like prayer or maybe it looks like worship, but whatever it is, when you turn it over to Him He will help.

In the midst of this crazy and busy world, find time to rest this week. Take a break from everything and refresh your mind. Sleep a little more, pray a little more, spend some time outside. Prioritize your rest over hanging out with friends sometimes. Sometimes just say no. If the God of the universe needs rest, then so do we so find out what is truly restful for you and do it. You deserve it.

Author | John Wesley





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