What do you think of when you hear the word rest? Do you picture a nap or watching TV? Do you picture lying in a hammock under a tree or fishing off a dock? Maybe the idea of real rest is so foreign to you that you really don’t picture anything. If that’s true, then there’s a problem with that. We often see the unhealthiness that lack of rest produces in the lives of our clients. We have clients who come to us because of the high level of stress in their lives and in their families. As counselors, we ask about the ways the client refreshes or replenishes themselves and usually they have nothing to report. Nothing. We weren’t created to go and go and go without rest. Not just sleep, which most of us don’t get enough of by the way, but rest; rest for our minds and rest for our souls.
The reality of lack of rest keeps you and me in a place of everyday tension that doesn’t relent. Its emotionally and mentally running on empty and risking that we can make it to the gas station. It’s living so close to the edge that one small stressor can push us over. I see it in clients who have stress-related medical conditions. I see it in clients who have frequent emotional blow-ups with their spouses. I see it in clients who are easily irritated by simple offenses or childish behavior from their children. I see it in others and I see it in myself.
When I think of the word rest I think of the time I spent a few years ago studying the 23rd Psalm. It was incredibly impactful to me and gave me a picture of Jesus as my good shepherd “making” me lie down in green pastures. In a sense, “making” me rest. Why would He have to “make” me do that? Well, maybe because I don’t rest very well on my own. You might be very much like me. I find that many of my friends and many of our clients are just like me. I don’t know much about sheep but I don’t think they are know for being able to fend or care for themselves. They need a shepherd to do that.
Historically, I think we all recognize our society rested more. We ceased activity. We pursued times of quiet or refreshment. We actually had Sabbaths. We had full days of rest. Almost unfathomable to most of us now, but nonetheless important. Do you let yourself rest? If you don’t, your good shepherd might just “make” you. Soon. For your own good. For the good of your health. For the good of your relationships.
At the risk of putting one more thing on your plate, agenda or to-do list would you consider being intentional about rest? Rest can have several components. We talk to our clients about finding things that refresh and replenish them. Usually these involve aspects of quiet, beauty and reflection. Maybe for you that’s a walk around your neighborhood. Maybe for you that’s commuting with worship music or even silence. Maybe for you that’s taking time to journal your thoughts, emotions or prayers. The point is to be intentional about finding rest. When our clients become intentional about finding ways to refresh and replenish themselves they not only see the difference they feel the difference.
Do you feel continually wound up? Do you notice that you’re often on edge? It’s probably past time to choose rest. Choose to rest your body. Choose to rest your spirit. Choose to rest your mind. Take some time by green pastures. Take some time beside still waters. Let Him restore your soul.
If you need a counselor, contact http://elledgecounseling.com.
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