It can be challenging to find time for rest and sleep when there’s so much pulling at you. Between work responsibilities, household chores, and caring for children, it can feel like there are never enough hours in the day. But did you know that rest is a gift from God?
Vicki Kuyper experienced this firsthand:
“I make a lousy sick person. Regardless of how poorly I’m feeling, I can’t shake the sense that I’m wasting valuable time if I’m not checking off tasks on my to-do list. But today, I could hardly stand up without feeling as though I was going to tip right over. Of course, the stack of dirty dishes piled precariously in my kitchen sink was threatening to do the very same thing. If I could just get the kitchen clean.
But the living-room couch was repeatedly calling me. The afternoon sun was shining brightly through the large picture window, inviting me to lie down for just a few minutes and bask in its warmth. Feeling defeated and exhausted, I gave in. When I drowsily opened my eyes 40 minutes later, I felt as though I’d had a full night’s sleep. I felt so relaxed, so peaceful, so grateful for God’s gift of rest. I wasn’t fully back to my usual energetic self, but I knew I was a few steps closer. So, I lingered a bit longer in the sunshine, thanking God for reminding me that caring for the body He’s given me isn’t self-indulgent. It’s a “to-do” that enables me to accomplish everything else on my list.”
Let’s explore why rest is essential for your physical and spiritual health, and how you can prioritize rest in your daily life.
Rest for Your Body
When you’re sleep-deprived, it’s not just your mood that suffers—your body suffers too. Lack of sleep has been linked to a range of health problems, including obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and weakened immune function. Getting enough rest is critical for keeping your body healthy and functioning optimally.
In the book of Psalms, David speaks of the importance of sleep. He writes in Psalm 4:8, “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.” This verse reminds us that our safety and well-being comes from God, and that we can trust him to watch over us as we rest.
Prioritizing rest may require some intentional changes in your lifestyle. This might mean setting aside time for an afternoon nap, or going to bed earlier at night. It might mean delegating some household tasks to others so that you have more time to relax and recharge. Whatever changes you make, remember that rest is a gift from God, and one that he wants you to enjoy.
Rest for Your Mind
In addition to physical benefits, rest is also essential for mental health. When you’re well-rested, you’re better able to concentrate, make decisions, and handle stress. Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can lead to irritability, difficulty concentrating, and even depression.
Making time for rest and relaxation might mean setting aside time for a hobby or activity you enjoy, like reading, gardening, or painting. It might mean taking a break from social media or other stressors that drain your mental energy. Whatever form it takes, rest is essential for your mental health and well-being.
Rest for Your Soul
Jesus speaks to the importance of receiving the gift of rest in Matthew 11:28-30. He says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” This verse reminds us that we don’t have to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders—we can come to Jesus for rest and refreshment.
Rest is essential for your spiritual health. When you’re too busy and stressed to rest, you can become disconnected from God and lose sight of what’s truly important. Prioritizing rest helps you to slow down, connect with God, and cultivate a deeper sense of peace and presence.
In Hebrews 4:9-11, the author writes, “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.” This verse reminds us that rest is not just a physical act, but a spiritual one as well. When you enter into God’s rest, you find freedom from the burdens of work and stress, and you draw closer to him.
Prioritizing rest for your soul might mean setting aside time each day for prayer, meditation, or reading the Bible. It might mean taking a spiritual retreat or attending a worship service. Whatever form it takes, rest is essential for your spiritual growth and relationship with God.
Bible Meditation for Rest
Listen to the 5-minute version of this Abide guided meditation about rest from Psalm 92.
Rest is a gift from God, and one that he wants you to enjoy. Whether you’re resting your physical body, your mind, or your soul, the act of rest is essential for your health and well-being. As you go about your day today, take some time to rest and recharge. Remember that God is watching over you as you rest, and that he wants you to experience the peace and refreshment that comes from a life of restfulness.
If you’re struggling to achieve better rest, download the Abide app. Abide is a Christian meditation app that can help you find peace and relaxation through guided meditations, daily devotionals, and Bible-based sleep stories. With Abide, you can prioritize rest for your mind, body, and soul, and connect with God in a deeper way. Download Abide today and start experiencing the rest that God has in store for you.