Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You Need Your Rest

In today's world, we never rest. Everything is go-go-go all the time. Every invention is made for convenience and to take less time. No one has patience and no one takes the time to stop. We are running ourselves ragged, and for what? Our career? Our kids' extracurricular activities? Our family's wants? It has to stop. Our bodies and brains were not made to live through such turmoil all the time.

I find myself in the cycle of running, only to be exhausted all the time, not able to think as well, being very forgetful, and getting migraines. I try to blame it on something else but it really comes down to not getting enough rest most of the time. I believe I am not able to sleep well enough at night, partially due to other health issues I am working on, but also because I cannot turn off my thoughts.

I am always thinking, trying to problem solve, brainstorming for writing ideas, worrying about work and family, etc. My brain just can't handle that much. If I don't give it the rest it needs, and PEACE, I end up with migraines. Then I really can't think. 

Nothing seems to help my migraines other than sleep. I have knocked out small headaches before with peppermint oil, but with my normal migraine headaches, not even a huge dose of ibuprofen or Excedrin Migraine helps. (And I try to never have to succumb to those.)

I have come to the conclusion that rest is what we need. When God created us and the world around us, even HE rested. He set aside the seventh day of the week for us to rest too. He knew our bodies needed rest in order to operate and heal themselves like He designed.

He gave us night and day, so that we would rest at night. Since the invention of the light bulb, people's sleep habits have dramatically changed. Before then, people slept an average of ten hours per night, but now it's more like six or seven. I cannot function with anything less than eight hours of sleep. If something happens and one night I lose sleep, I can be okay as long as I "catch up" the next night. If not, that is when problems start.

I prefer to get nine or ten hours of sleep per night. That is when I feel the most rested, able to concentrate throughout the day, and remember things better. With so many children and adults being run ragged these days, awake in the middle of the night working on projects for work or school, it's no wonder that so many have attention problems. Along with bad diets and lack of exercise, we are setting ourselves up for failure.

Something I recently realized that had to do with rest was the seasons. God have us seasons on top of day and night and the seventh day. In spring, summer, and fall we were meant to work hard, planting and harvesting. In the winter, things slowed down. It is darker for longer. I believe we were meant to get more rest during that time. He even said to let the land rest and do not plant it in the seventh year. (That is for another day!)

We don't follow the way God created nature anymore. Most jobs are 8-5, sometimes with no break in the middle, or even 12 hour shift work and during the night. We work sometimes seven days per week, and year-round, possibly with a one week vacation thrown in. Our kids go to school early in the morning then have hours of homework and extracurricular activities in the evenings. Both parents are having to work to support the lifestyle they live with their children. No one really rests anymore.

I understand the need to work, but our society has changed so much that our bodies cannot keep up for long. We have much more disease, and even small bugs go around like crazy due to our lifestyle and bad diets. If one of our kids get sick, it kills our entire plan for the day. Instead of taking that opportunity to love and serve our child, we instead have to pawn them off on someone else to babysit so we can work, or else face the possibility of losing our job.

We have lost the quality of life we once had as human beings. Most people think success and quality of life is with wealth in the form of money, nice housing, nice cars, etc.; but that is not the case. True wealth and quality of life comes with good health, spending time with family and friends, soaking up the memories, getting to play as a child and even as an adult, and expanding our imaginations regardless of our age. 

If we never rest, we will never be able to experience the quality of life we were created for. Our health deteriorates, our families suffer, and we lose cognitive ability along with our creativity. We must not let ourselves be pulled into this modern world of acquiring so much stuff that we have to spend all our time paying for it. Work to live, do not live to work. Work to eat and feed your family. Leave behind the fancy houses and cars so that you can enjoy your kids while they are young.

I know not everyone will agree with me, and it is their choice if they want to work so much for the nicer things. I cannot make up your mind for you. I just want to encourage those who long for more to seek it out. Start by getting the rest that you need. Do something to strengthen your creativity. Trade your job in for something more flexible. Downsize your home so that you are spending more time caring for your family than caring for the house.

Our basic needs are air, water, food, shelter, and clothing. A shelter doesn't have to be one that takes half of your salary. With that 80+ hours spent per month working to pay for it, you could have spent it by playing ball with your kids, taking a walk with your spouse, playing board games with friends, etc. Don't lose sight of the important things because the big things block your view.

How about you? Do you feel overworked, like you don't get enough rest, or that your creativity is stifled? Have you made changes to your lifestyle? I would love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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