Are you suffering from Rest Resistance?
I recently read this article in The Age Newspaper titled "We're so addicted to being busy, Australians are becoming 'rest resistant' "
The article starts by quoting various statistics about how much Australians work unpaid overtime, haven't taken annual leave and even skip lunch breaks. It then goes on to suggest:
there are an increasing number of people who wear their busyness like a badge of honour
in a world where we can work from almost anywhere at anytime, switching off for many of us is becoming increasingly difficult to do
a lot of people still spend a large chunk of their life in an a very wired, over-adrenalised state
slowing down and stopping can be really confronting because it means they have to actually feel what’s really going on in their lives.
The author suggests 'Rest Resistance' occurs "when external pressures, such as working in an environment where working long hours is the norm, combined with an internal vulnerability, such as aligning our self worth with working hard, or the desire to receive praise, work against us to stop and rest when we need to."
She compares our need for rest breaks to that of elite sportspeople.
“Even though they work incredibly hard, they’re also very disciplined about getting enough rest because they know if they don’t, firstly, they won’t perform at their best and secondly, they’ll burn out.”
She says the same applies for the average person in an average working day. “The simple fact is, if you don’t give your brain a break you’ll start to work more slowly and you’ll make more errors.”
I think this 'Rest Resistance' can also be a reality in our Christian/Spiritual lives.
Rest is a regular topic on this blog (use the search bar at the bottom of our home page to find some posts). In fact we think living a rhythm of rest and work is vital to a fruitful Christian life.
So I encourage you to take a moment to focus on the desirability of building a spiritual life patterned on a rhythm of real rest and fruitful work.
If you haven't done that yet, please take a moment to think about the desirability of this sort of life - imagine it, picture it. It is the sort of life that Jesus led. He wants to help you learn from him (Matthew 11:28-30).
With a renewed vision of the goodness and possibility of rest, you might like to reflect on these questions:
How am I going with Rest? You might like to ask "My soul are you at rest?" and/or "My soul what is keeping you from rest?"
How am I going at practicing the art of coming to a complete stop (physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually)
What external pressures conspire against my rhythm of rest and work?
Who can I talk to/pray with about counteracting these external factors?
What internal vulnerabilities of identity, self worth, emotions, or habits make it harder for me to really rest?
Who can I talk to/pray with about dealing with these internal factors?
What simple step could I take today to enter into rest?
What simple steps could I take this week to enter into rest?
Establishing and maintaining a good rhythm of fruitful work from a place of real rest is one of the major and ongoing battles of the Christian life. We will ALL have times when our rhythms are better or worse. So don't get discouraged if you recognise it could be better or if you used to be better. The thing that will make a difference is taking a small achievable step today, tomorrow, or this week.