Of all of the blog subjects in this series, thirty-eight to date, this one has been most likely to knock me out of phase. Rest is difficult for me. My mind always seems to be racing with things I “need to” or “should be” doing. Or, if not that, it is thinking through a song idea, or how to best tackle the next two or three projects on the list.

For some, the resistance to rest could be rooted in pride: thinking they should not lack the needed energy or ability. For others, it could simply be an over-exaggerated sense of what is humanly possible. For me, the struggle to relax and rest is found in a sense of shame: in not being enough.

Like all children we desire the approval of our parents, particularly our dads. This is not to diminish the roles or influence of mothers. Our moms are no less important; they just serve different roles in our lives. Growing up, the best chance I had of gaining my dad’s approval was through hard work. Consequently, I developed a sense of never feeling as though I was doing enough (shame). This is not to demonize or blame my dad in any way, I truly appreciate the work ethic he instilled in me. This realization is, however, helpful to me as I still find it difficult to simply relax.

Though it can feel as though rest and relaxation are a distraction from our work, it is actually quite the opposite. When we do not allow ourselves to rest, it will ultimately cause our efforts to be less efficient, effectively knocking our productivity—and possibly our calling—totally out of phase.

We are told in Genesis 2:3 that “God blessed the seventh day and made it holy” (emphasis added) by resting on that day. And, by following His example, we are to do the same.

In the next book of the Bible we read about God, through Moses, leading the Israelites out of Egypt. After four-hundred years of slavery the Israelites had learned to live under the command of their task-masters and had either forgotten or had been forced out of the practice of taking a Sabbath rest. So, God gave to His people the ten commandments, one of which is to rest. Later in scripture, Jesus reminded us that “the Sabbath was made for man” (Mark 2:27). In other words, the keeping the Sabbath is much less a command than it is a gift.

God knows what is best for us. He knows that to best serve and enjoy this life He has given us we need rest. I believe the best way to combat our struggles is to remind ourselves, often times out loud, of God’s truth. For me, in order to keep my focus and productivity in phase this often means I have to remind myself that rest and relaxation are not laziness, but gifts rather from God that He desires me to enjoy.

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