You can never live up to your potential without REST
Rest is a really big deal and yet how many of us (I’m the worst offender) neglect getting enough of it? Rest impacts our attitudes, emotions, energy level, health, circumstances and overall performance. I’ve been training and racing triathlons for 13.5 years (who is counting). There is no off season; it’s just a part of my lifestyle. When I started training my youngest was 3 months old. Some good friends of mine came and stayed with me while I was pregnant and competed in a triathlon. They both had several children. Over dinner as they shared, a burning desire to do the same rose up inside me. I couldn’t wait to have that baby and start biking, swimming and running. I assumed I would be bored with 2 children under the age of two so I needed a hobby and a way to get in shape after being a couch potato and having two babies. Let me just say, life with two children has never been boring! Triathlons were a great way to get in shape. In fact, for the first year and a half I got significantly stronger and faster. I joined a triathlon club, had a coach and got to run, bike, swim and race with some amazing women. After a year and a half, my body started to breakdown. I was getting sick all the time, injured, always felt fatigued, and my race times were getting slower. I asked my coach what I need to do to get better and he said, “More!” His recipe for success was to train harder, work hard, and put more time and effort into training. At the end of my 3rd year, I was worn out, weary, discouraged and wanted to quit. In hindsight I realized I was missing a critical element, REST. I considered REST a luxury and did not recognize that it was a requirement IF I wanted to train and race for the long-haul. Doing more was keeping me from doing and being my personal best. The fact is…we can never race to our potential if we do not REST.
Our bodies need regular, consistent, uninterrupted sleep every day in order function well. I think we all know this but if you are like me, when push comes to shove, rest gets shoved out when life gets busy! I learned the hard way with my triathlon training but also after suffering years of sleep deprivation. My youngest son was sick for the first several years of his life so uninterrupted sleep eluded me during that time. I’ve read that the military use sleep deprivation as a form of torture to breakdown prisoners both physically and mentally. Lack of sleep/rest broke me down physically and mentally!!! I still have posttraumatic stress over the thought of those days! We can survive with very little sleep but we cannot thrive and be our personal best.
God intended for us to rest. Unlike my first triathlon coach, God has incorporated REST into the training plan for our lives. We can see this all the way back in Genesis 2:2 where God created the heavens, earth and all that was in it and RESTED on the 7th day. In Leviticus 25 there are many references to rest, even resting the land for a year every 7th year. In the New Testament we are reminded in Mark 2:27 that Sabbath, a day of rest, was created for man. Clearly we need physical rest. But I think resting our hearts and minds on Christ and His plans and purposes for our lives is even more important.
Our hearts and minds need regular, consistent, uninterrupted moments with Christ every day in order to function well. We cannot live up to our God given potential unless we first rest in Him. Yet, when life gets busy, it’s one of the first things we cut. Before He asks us to DO anything, He calls us to start by RESTING in Him and RESTING in what Christ has already done for us. So often when we think of “good” Christians, we think about those people who are serving on Sunday AND Wednesday, feeding the homeless on Saturday, head up ministries, making meals, teaching a Sunday school class and going on mission trips. “Good” Christians are those people who DO lots and lots of stuff, right? Well, there is nothing wrong with doing the above BUT that is not what being a Believer is all about. What we DO must be a response to what has been done for us. What we DO must be what God has called us to do, not something that keeps us busy, makes us feel needed or to look good.
We cannot chase after the heart of Christ for the long-haul if we do not first REST in Him. We may do many good things but over time we will breakdown, become worn out, weary, discouraged and want to quit. John 15:5 gives us insight on how to stay strong, vibrant, productive and able to do good. It says, “I (Jesus) am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” This passage reminds us to remain or rest in Christ. To rest in Him is a conscious choice to stay connected through time in His Word, prayer, worship, and fellowship with others who desire to live-up to their God given potential and calling. We bear much fruit, are vibrant, productive and able to “do” only when we consistently REST in Him.
What does RESTING in Him look like? Do you feel like you need to do more in order to be a good wife, mom, friend, or Christian? We can’t do more if we do not rest! We cannot live up to our potential if we do not regularly and consistently REST! Join me in being intentional and making a conscious choice to “REST” in the following ways.
- Rest Physically. God has created us to need regular rest. When I am rested, life is easier. I’m calmer, have more mental clarity, and physically feel better. Rest strengthens me to deal with the ups and downs of life. Personally I am working on incorporating “rest” into my schedule by blocking it out on my calendar.
- Rest in His Plan. Currently, I am a taxi service. I spend 3+hours a day driving my kid’s places. I grew up in the country. I don’t like traffic and despise rush hour. Resting in Him has changed my perspective in many areas of my life including my career as a taxi driver. God has placed me in this season of life, in these circumstances, and in a car for 3+hours a day with my boys. I’m embracing this time and see the Lord using it in my life to create patience and to give me regular uninterrupted time with two young men that I love. When I rest in His plans I can enjoy and even embrace the not so fun parts of life like rush hour.
- Rest in Who He Says You Are. Life slaps “labels” on us. We wear them. They define us. Resting in who Christ says we are changes what we believe about ourselves. Our beliefs about who we are dictate our attitudes, actions and reactions. If you are wondering who you are, start reading the first 3 chapters of Ephesians…You are a saint, faithful, blessed, chosen, lavished with all wisdom and understanding….God is clear who we are so let’s start with resting our minds and hearts in the truth of His Word.
If you would like to hear more about REST, click to listen to me share an overview of the book of Ephesians. I’m currently teaching on Tuesday mornings at a women’s Bible Study out of Ephesians.
If you want to bless me and others, share your thoughts on REST!