Judith (my wife) and I are looking forward to our vacation which begins in less than two weeks. As I prepare for vacation, I am poignantly aware of my need for rest. Not just me; we all need rest. Lack of rest and relaxation causes all kinds of trouble.
I note a 2013 Scientific American article that summed up the need for downtime this way:
Research on naps, meditation, nature walks and the habits of exceptional artists and athletes reveals how mental breaks increase productivity, replenish attention, solidify memories and encourage creativity.
Lack of rest and relaxation, in my experience, causes stress and contentiousness. We don’t handle situations with grace and charity. I find I am more abrupt and brusque in my interactions with people. Especially, if we are goal-oriented people, we can focus too intently on tasks and deadlines.
There’s a good Biblical example, I think. Over a period of twenty years, Solomon built the first temple as well as the royal palace and a number of cities. The people worked very hard as Solomon’s father, King David, predicted saying, “all the people will obey your every command.” Scripture says that every man skilled in any craft was willing to help with the building projects.
The work was demanding. When Solomon died, the people were exhausted. His son, Rehoboam’s, succeeded Solomon and the people asked for relief, some downtime. “Your father put a heavy yoke on us, but now lighten the harsh labor and we will serve you,” (1 Kings 12:4). Rehoboam refused, and the people rebelled, causing much bloodshed. The nation split into two separate, warring countries.
Even when we have worked willingly and joyously for the Lord, not providing for rest can make even God’s people a little ornery.
It is hard to maintain a good attitude and be fortified against the flaming arrows of the evil one when we need rest and relaxation. His flaming arrows cause us to burn out. Resting that is waiting on the Lord is restorative. Scripture says that those who wait on the Lord renew their strength so that they may soar on wings like eagles, run and not grow weary, walk and not be faint.
I’m looking forward to vacation and waiting on the Lord.
In closing I say, “Lift High the Cross,”