By Rachel Eddy
If you are anything like me, resting is not my forte. A work life balance has never been something I’ve grappled with well.
I would argue that lockdown 1.0 and 2.0 have highlighted many of our inner cravings to feel productive and busy all the time. I found throughout my lockdown experiences I was frustrated with myself if I wasn’t being productive. It’s pretty laughable to look back on all I attempted to start in the first lockdown; I signed up to a free online course at Harvard University, started learning sign language, bought about 10 books which I was adamant to complete. Did I complete any of it? Absolutely not.
For many of us, when we don’t accomplish that ridiculously over ambitious list, we feel an all-encompassing wave of guilt. However, the Bible tells us that rest is good for us.
I’ve definitely learnt that rest is good the hard way. At the start of lockdown I became unwell with a virus. Being the energetic person I am, I decided I didn’t need to rest through this illness and I carried on at 100%. Needless to say, my body wasn’t impressed, and as a result I am into my 8th month of chronic fatigue syndrome. Walks make me breathless; my concentration span is abysmal; my sleep pattern is all off; I can’t regulate my temperature, and I have an intolerance to alcohol. But the main difficulty has been that I haven’t been able to exercise, which is huge for me. It left me crying out to God; who am I, and what is my identity? I’m not going to pretend that the conclusion I’ve come to has been a one-off revelation in which God has spoken to me directly, instead it has been through MANY tearful conversations with friends and family about my worth and my identity.
I know that God has not put me on this earth to just play sport, run, and be active. I am here for a much greater work, which is for his kingdom and for his glory, rather than my own. Working for God’s kingdom and sharing the gospel doesn’t just happen on the track, but also in my relationships with non-Christians and through witnessing to them about the hope that we have. We can be so thankful for the unchanging hope we have in our salvation through Jesus Christ, and that really is something to rejoice in (Ephesians 2:8-9). Above all, God has been my Rock, and in him I find my rest. His grace doesn’t change whether I’ve had a productive day or completed that course. I know my identity is in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Now, please don’t mistake this to mean if you don’t rest you’ll develop chronic fatigue because that isn’t what I’m getting at here. However, what I do mean is that as Christians we can become so excited for the work of the kingdom and rightly so. In wanting to support that friend by going on walks; or leading multiple Bible studies; volunteering for charity or serving in a different way, we have to be careful not to burn out.
I’ve learnt from my fatigue support to take “restorative breaks” these are 10 minute parts of your day where you find space to rest in doing something that re-fills you. For me I can’t read lots as my concentration span doesn’t allow for it, but I’ve found that meditating on a verse or sitting and praying has been my restorative rest. I would really encourage you to think about whether you have any restorative rest in your day and why not reassess it? Jesus modelled resting to us 7 times in the Bible.
He is our rest in every season and situation. Therefore, we can be thankful for the opportunities and situations in which we can work for His glory. We can take joy in resting in Him and being restored so that we can work well in the situations in which we have been placed. And so, I hope you can see that rest is not just a type of procrastination, and that we should be looking to find rest in the Lord, showing our complete dependence on him.