It’s strange how my thinking changes on little things, so that my whole behavior ends up hinging on one little realization. Flossing for instance – I’ve never done it with consistency because I can’t seem to cram my hand into my mouth very well, and my fingers end up with the circulation cut off – makes them hurt just thinking about it! Last time I was at the dentist and they were chewing me out for not flossing, I realized that I didn’t mind adding it to my routine at all – I just needed something reasonably convenient if I was going to do it once a day. So I’ve been using those little flossing things instead of regular floss, and I’ve been flossing almost every day, something I’ve never done before in my life. Can’t wait for the next dentist appointment!
So I’m finally doing something my Mom tried to get me to do for ages, all because of a simple realization that I didn’t mind using little flosser doohickeys. Now, flossing is important, at least that’s what the ceiling posters at the dentist claim, but brain-rot trumps tooth-rot and I haven’t been mentally (and spiritually) flossing like I need to. In comes another small realization, and things begin to change.
I’ve struggled with consistently reading my Bible and spending time with God for a while now. I think the reason it’s been a struggle has been finding a good reason to do it besides just “you’re supposed to.” But Pastor Yarborough just preached a sermon on rest and it really got me thinking about how I rest and what’s important in rest.
A few thoughts on rest – first of all, it’s not a cessation of activity – rather a change in activity. Second, good rest, true rest, is restorative. It will leave us ready and willing to get back to our normal routine, and we’ll be better at what we normally do because we rested. Third, mental rest is just as important as physical rest, not to mention the need our spirit and soul have for rest. Fourth, the best rest comes from God:
Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light. Matthew 11:28-30
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep. Ps. 127:2
As I read my Bible and write about what I’ve read these days, I do it because I know I need rest for my mind, my soul and my spirit, and the place to find that rest is in God and in the things of God. It’s often challenging to not dwell on the million things I have to do and instead just quietly read and write and pray, but I’m learning to rest, and to enjoy rest. It’s amazing how much it helps all the other things I do.
For thus the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said,
“In repentance and rest you will be saved,
In quietness and trust is your strength.”
But you were not willing,
And you said, “No, for we will flee on horses,”
Therefore you shall flee!
“And we will ride on swift horses,”
Therefore those who pursue you shall be swift.
The small idea that “rest is a change in activity” has really pointed me towards another key component to making this new behavior stick: writing. It’s so important for me to write down what I’m learning because it forces me to really learn it and the thought that maybe I can write something that my wife or kids or even some stranger will read and be affected by (for good) is powerful motivation. The change in activity is also very good for my mind, and pleasurable when I get in to it.
So are you getting the rest that you need? What are you going to do today to ensure you get enough rest tomorrow?