Now, I am a high achiever myself and I will say the word “rest” can be such a difficult word for me to wrap my head around. It can be easy to find my identity in what I do and what I can accomplish, but was it meant to be that way? I think we can get so caught up in everything that we do, versus who we are, that we can tend to overwork ourselves to the point of exhaustion. The interesting thing about that is that the more we over work, the more we can actually lose ourselves. If you think about it, by operating out of what we do and not giving ourselves moments to breathe, we can easily be clouded by the actions and let those be the definitions that we carry of ourselves. It is important to, yes, get work done and execute, but it’s just as important to find moments of rest and reflection. I know that can be easier said than done, but if you find yourself in this category of always moving and on the go, my hope is that this blog is a reminder that rest is okay.
Integration of Faith and Rest
I do not think it is by coincidence that a day of rest is literally embedded in the creation story of the world. In Genesis 2:2-3 it says, “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.” This verse is so telling of what is important to God and what should be for us.
Even if you think about our physical body, we cannot operate to our fullest potential without sleep, a form of rest. The study of sleep and why we need it is interesting in itself, something to elaborate on another day, but technically, we do not fully understand the need for sleep – we just know the impact it has on us if we don’t have it. Sleep can impact our mental wellness, our cognitive functioning, our mood, even our physical balance. It is so telling to know that God operated us in a way where rest was essentially hardwired into our bodies. Knowing that, it is vital that we accept the need for rest and are able to incorporate it into our days, weeks, and overall life.
The word “rest” in the dictionary is defined as, “[ceasing] work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.” With this as the definition, that means that “rest” should fall in line with either relaxation, refreshment of the self or gaining strength back. Often, I hear from clients that they struggle with identifying the difference between rest and laziness. Rest can easily turn into laziness or lack of motivation and that distinction is important. If we look at the definition of laziness it is, “unwilling to work or use energy.” With both of those definitions in mind, the difference is one is used to refuel while the other is staying idle and ultimately doing nothing of use for you.
Practically speaking, rest can look like a multitude of things such as going for a walk, sleeping 8 hours at night, connecting with friends, reading a book, listening to a podcast, having a “date night” with your significant other, and so much more. If we can keep that initial definition I shared as our foundation and find “rest” throughout each day, then I believe the impact will be one of strength both physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually.
You may find yourself in a place where it’s hard to even know how or where to start incorporating rest in your life and that’s okay! I talk about this frequently with my clients and we collaborate together to see what works best for them. I would encourage you to reach out to our office today and set up an appointment. Your rest matters and it can be brought into your life. I would love to help you on your journey of the balance of rest, work and wellness.
Written by therapist Fallyn Lara