Is Rest a Waste of Time?

In yesterday’s post, I made the comment that I should not waste any amount of time.  In response to that a reader commented, “How do you define ‘waste’?”  Let me tell you, readers, this has stuck with me since 3:15 p.m. yesterday when I read the comment.

I believe that the essence of the question truly required me to ask myself if I consider rest a waste of time.  Every once in a while, our bodies beg us to take some time off and rest.  No one would argue that Americans are addicted to activity (not necessarily the healthy kind that is good for our hearts), multi-tasking, awake-ness, and productivity.  Companies now have to schedule time for their employees to step away from these tasks and rest their minds in quiet, thinking time.  I doubt that my great-grandfather (who farmed, by the way) ever thought the American society would be so filled with chaos that a boss would have to tell his employees to ignore the demands of the job and just think.

In my post yesterday, I essentially claimed that taking time out to care for myself – both physically and mentally – could be considered a waste of time.  The truth is really so far from that.  In fact, we were created to rest…and if we were created to rest, how could rest be a waste of time?

When I say that we were created to rest, I ask that you consider the Biblical creation story as told in Genesis 1:1-2:3.  The most interesting part of this account to me is that in each of the days, there is a pattern – “and there was evening and there was morning, the [x] day.”  However, the seventh day does not have an ending.

2 By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.

This is something that my huz pointed out when he preached this text a while back.  There is no ending to the seventh day!  This means that we are still to be living in the rest that God created.  If God, the creator and sustainer of the universe, thinks it is good to rest, who am I to question this?  And why – oh, why – do I not choose to rest more often than I do?

In light of that though, I want to consider how I can rest more often, how I can “work in” a rhythm of rest, and how I can enjoy the blessings that God has for me – the revelations that come in the quiet – in rest.

To rest is to live, to rejuvenate, and to prepare.  There is no waste in rest.

May I remember this each day that I feel the pull to stay in bed.

Perhaps in the future, I should consider if perhaps the pull to stay in bed is a gift rather than a burden.  Do not hear that I think I should stay in bed for days on end, shirking responsibilities or staying in a depressive state.

But if – after careful consideration – I find that I am need of rest, should I not heed the call and follow?

What do you think?


Filed under faith, Thoughts

4 responses to “Is Rest a Waste of Time?

  1. Ah, rest. Oh, how we need more. I read a great book a couple of years ago, maybe I should revisit it, about rest called “The Rest of God” by Mark Buchanan. Highly recommend it!


  2. Loved this post – I don’t generally like The Message but love Matthew 11: 28-30 “The Unforced Rhythms of Grace” – in fact, I have a post going called Rhythms of Grace – here is the verse in it’s entirety: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Reading it through this venue was sort of like being in Cairo and hearing scripture in Arabic; I have to think really hard – and this translation made me think about these verses in a different way.


  3. MANagING maNIA

    Ironically…I am at my best…when I rest. However, I struggle to discipline myself to do just that.

    Reading such texts as “The Spirit of the Disciplines” and “Celebration of Discipline” have firmly planted in my mind the need for Sabbath. I even framed a ‘Rule of Life’ around it (with the help of “Emotionally Healthy Spirituality”).

    Mania and depression fire up my bipolar when I fail to rest. It is so obvious.

    And yet…back to that whole discipline thing…

    Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing!


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