The Importance of Rest

Discovering the Need to Fight for Rest

by Michael Heiden
Rest is an essential need that often gets overlooked in our busy lives. The world, our culture, and even our own desires can push against our need for rest, which is why we must fight for it intentionally and purposefully. This fight for rest can be challenging, as I discovered during my first year as a pastor. I was so focused on proving myself and changing the world that I said 'yes' to everything, which was a 'no' to my wife and newborn baby. It took a wake-up call from my wife to realize that things had to change, and I embarked on a journey to discover and fight for intentional, meaningful, and real rest.

The Gift of Sabbath

This type of rest is known as Sabbath, which was woven into the fabric of creation (Gen. 2) as a precious gift from our Creator. It invites us to take a whole day to enjoy Him, His creation, and who we are to Him. If we take an honest assessment of our lives, we will likely find that we are tired and in desperate need of rest. We need someone to sit us down and say, 'something has to change.' Consider this message as that conversation and invitation to come and rest.

Practical Steps for Fighting for Rest

To help in this fight for rest, we can start by distinguishing what is restful and not restful in our lives. On a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle, and on one side write 'restful.' Under this section, answer questions such as 'what gives me life?' and 'what connects me to God?' On the other side, write 'not restful' and answer questions such as 'what takes life away from me?' and 'what disconnects me from God and others?' This exercise can help us identify what to prioritize and what to avoid.

Next, we can make a plan by opening our calendar and blocking off a day for rest. Ideally, this should be a full 24 hours, but if that's not possible, we can start with a morning to afternoon or afternoon to evening. We can label this time as an 'appointment' on our calendar to prioritize it, and if possible, make it recurring to establish a rhythm. We can then map out what we will do on our day of rest and what we will avoid doing. For example, we can pray, read scripture, and worship in the morning, go hiking in the afternoon, and enjoy pizza and a movie night in the evening.

Finally, we must execute our plan and win the fight for rest. This is not always easy, but it is worth it. Sabbath deepens our connection and relationship with God and those around us. It reenergizes, rejuvenates, and restores our soul, reminding us of who we are and filling us with our true identity in Jesus. This spiritual rhythm is beautiful, precious, life-giving, and life-changing. So let us fight for rest and enjoy the gift that our Creator has given us.