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True Rest for Your Soul

Exhausted woman sleeping in front of computer.jpg

One of the things that I struggle with the most is balancing the rhythm of work and rest. It seems that even when I set aside time for "rest," whether it be an hour of "quiet-time" or a time blocked out for "vacation," I still come away feeling unrested.

Rest is very important to our body's physical and mental health. Physical and mental activity both require energy and produce a waste buildup. During rest, energy is restored, and the waste buildup is diminished. Our bodies were created so intricately that our bodies know what to do when they are in a state of "rest" or "sleep." Several parts of our body are being repaired as we sleep such as:

  • The brain

  • Hormones

  • Immune System

  • The Skin

  • Muscles

  • Blood

  • Digestive System

So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

(From the National Sleep Foundation)

  • 0-2 months/newborn = 12-18 hours

  • 3-11 months/infants = 14-15 months

  • 1-3 years/toddlers = 12-14 hours

  • 3-5 years/preschoolers = 11-13 hours

  • 5-10 years/school children = 10-11 hours

  • 10-17 years/teens = 8.5-9.25 hours

  • Adults = 7-9 hours

While sleep and rest are needed to restore and repair the body, our bodies are not designed to function off of serveral intervals of sleep or "naps." Experts have studied the importance of REM (Rapid Eye Movment). The first REM sleep period occurs 90-120 min after sleep onset in which one usually experiences about four or five periods of REM sleep in one night's sleep. REM deprivation can cause mild psychological disturbances, such as anxiety, irritability, and hallucinations. Other effects can include difficulty concentrating, increased appetite, migraines and puffy eyes.

Allowing our bodies to sleep is very hard. It's a discipline. Judith Shulevitz wrote an article in the New York Times called Bring Back the Sabbath and this is what she had to say about this very thing...

"This is why the Puritan and Jewish Sabbaths were so exactingly intentional, requiring extensive advance preparation -- at the very least a scrubbed house, a full larder and a bath. The rules did not exist to torture the faithful. They were meant to communicate the insight that interrupting the ceaseless round of striving requires a surprisingly strenuous act of the will, one that has to be bolstered by habit as well as by social sanction...And not even our group leisure activities can do for us what Sabbath rituals could once be counted on to do. Religious rituals do not exist simply to promote togetherness. They're theater. They are designed to convey to us a certain story about who we are without our even quite noticing that they are doing so. (One defining feature of religious rituals, in fact, is that we often perform them for years before we come to understand what they mean; this is why ministers and rabbis are famously unsympathetic when congregants complain that worship services or holiday rites feel meaningless.) The story told by the Sabbath is that of creation: we rest because God rested on the seventh day. What leads from God to humankind is the notion of imitatio Dei: the imitation of God. In other words, we rest in order to honor the divine in us, to remind ourselves that there is more to us than just what we do during the week."

Most people think that all you have to do is stop "working" and you will find "rest." Not so! Why? Because resting in more than a physical issue. It's an internal issue as well. We need an inner rest! Whether you realize it or not, you have this inner struggle to prove yourself and this is where our inner weariness comes from. Everyone wants to know that they matter. That's why most vacations leave us tired...because they don't deal with the REM of the soul.

So How Do We Find REM of the soul?

  1. Cease Striving: Realize that there is only one opinion that truly matters...GOD! And He is pleased with you! You are not defined by how much money you make or how many customers you have. You are not defined but how many "likes" you have or even by how many friends you have. You are not defined by how much you know. Don't become a slave to these things...that's not rest, that's work! The only defining factor is your relationship with God!

  2. Realize That He is In Control: You are not God, HE IS! You are not the one that brings about a booming business, or a following of friends or a wealth of knowledge. He is the One that determines that. Let Him do it! He can do it better that anyone on this earth because HE created earth and everything in it!!

  3. Come to Him and Rest: He is Lord of the Sabbath! Sabbath was originally instituted to give man rest from his labor. Jesus came to give us rest from laboring to achieve our own salvation by works. The cross is our rest! "It is finished!" You are complete in God!

If we were smart, we would incorporate a ritual or habit of keeping the sabbath! There you will find true rest!

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Hi! Thanks for stopping by.

This is me. All things faith, family, fitness, friends, fun, and more. As I live my simple savvy life (simple obedience) in all these areas, I want to share them with you.  It is messy.  No fluff here! Enjoy!

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