1. Relief or freedom, especially from anything that wearies, troubles, or disturbs
2. A period or interval of inactivity, repose, solitude, or tranquility
3. Mental or spiritual calm; tranquility
Ever woken up more tired than when you went to bed? Chances are you were not resting. In fact, reading those definitions above, ask yourself when the last time you truly rested was? Not slept, rested. Like most people, I used to equate rest to sleeping, or being on holiday, but in actual fact, you can be laying on the beach sunbathing and not be resting; you can be asleep but not be resting.
Prior to 2013, I had no clue what rest was, and it is something I am still learning to do. I have always been a very busy person
- Working/studying full time
- Music ministry (The Levites 3:12)
- Speaking at youth events
- Head of children’s church, media team & now choir
- Mentoring 8+ young people
- Regularly blogging
What I used to find was once a year, around Easter, I would have a breakdown for at least two weeks; one year I had a migraine for 3 weeks and ended up needing injections at the hospital to help my facial nerves as they had drooped, and another year I was off sick for 4 weeks with suspected fatigue due to suspected glandular fever (I never tested positive, but that’s all doctors could put it down to). This isn’t to say that I didn’t go on holidays, or weekends away, or just sit and chill, but I wasn’t resting because my mind was never at rest. I was always planning and calculating what next I had to do, who I had to see, what assignment needed to be handed in, and analysing my day. What I needed was definitions 1, 2, and 3 above, but what I was doing was sleeping.
The trouble is, a lot of us don’t really know how to rest – to just turn off, and refuel. Refuel. We give so much of ourselves and never refuel so we crash because we end up running on empty, and we were never designed to do that. We need to rest.
I had to learn how to rest and I am only now getting it right:
- Praying & journaling – when ever I start to feel like I’m tired or overwhelmed, I have to pray for myself. I usually do this in the form of journaling, and then it becomes an actual prayer, but I literally write how tired I am and how I need strength. I pour out my heart to God and cast my burdens on him. He refills me, I usually end up crying, and when I fall asleep, he gives me rest – real rest.
- Doing something different – I’m a very spontaneous person, but that’s because I’m a very busy person. My job & life is very mental & people based, so I find that if I really want to rest, I need to do something totally different that doesn’t involve many people or much thinking. I love being in nature, by lakes or oceans, or with a small group of friends quietly enjoying the company to rest. If your job is more creative, you may need something more mental for a break.
- Getting rid of things & people that drain you – yes, some things add nothing, but take everything away from you. Get rid!
- Worry about what is in your power to control – a very wise friend told me this and it has become my motto. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it. Do what you can, and be comfortable with the best you can for someone, not the things you can’t do for them.
- Turn off your mind – again, when my mind starts running, usually just before bed time, I have had to learn to quickly pray, journal, speak to a friend and let it go. An overactive mind is the thief of rest.
- Say no – I do lots, but I am not a superwoman. I know my limits, and boundaries and I am happy with them. Say no.
- Deal with your past and issues – when there are loose ends and situations hanging over your mind, you can never be fully rested. It takes energy to be angry, bitter, anxious, afraid or pretend to not be, and it will steal your peace and rest. You are not responsible for other people’s ingratitude, insecurities, and mess. You are however responsible for how and if you deal with them and how you let them they affect you. Check out my previous post about dealing with your past.
- Do what makes you happy – I love serving and helping people, and I have noticed that a lot of the time, I gain strength from helping those around me. We all have a love language, a way in which we give and receive love, but we have to remember that your love language is as much about you, as the person you are loving. If you are not able to love in the way that comes natural to you, you can easily end up feeling drained.
Sometimes, by doing even the first thing on this list, I can immediately feel rested and at peace.
We all know that stress & tiredness can lead to all sorts of illnesses, so let’s learn to rest guys.
Your face will love you for it because it also means less wrinkles haha.