For college students, rest is pretty unheard of, let alone for graduate students such as myself. Rest is such a big thing that in the world of pharmacy there are multiple categories of sleeping and depresive medications to help patients achieve just that. I purposely said rest instead of sleep because I- like many I know- can achieve an impressive 8 hours of sleep and still feel exhausted when I wake up. Our body has this mechanism that tells us when were in overdrive, and when you don’t achieve rest, it presents itself in many ways (i.e. crying for no reason, screaming at a garbage truck, eating an entire bag of Doritos, etc).
I’ve received a beautiful taste of overdrive these past few weeks. Not only does school consume most of my time, but work, rotations, side projects, research proposals, weddings, friends, more than friends (shoutout Chris) and family happen on top of it. It’s like one second you graduate high school and the next you’re somehow an adult making financial decisions on which dining table and placemats to buy. Your mind is so consumed with building the right future that the here and now are distant. The here and now become a second thought to what lies ahead. The here and now becomes a remote idea as your mind consumes itself with busy work.
Let me tell you friends, busy work is dangerous. Busy work is an unachievable standard that tells you that you will never reach the goal; you will never meet the mark. Busy work is a blinder that keeps you from seeing the fruit of your labor. As Chris and I consider our future, we see nothing but an endless list of what all needs to be done. Even as college students preparing to graduate, all that our minds can focus on are the numerous check marks we have to mark off until we get the next list when we graduate. It’s like life hands you lemons and instead of making lemonade you have a mini panic attack because you realize you don’t have sugar or water and you’re stranded on an island.
Back to rest- theres one thing I’ve learned over the last week. Rest is a gift. Many times we take our free time for granted (ex. watching videos of puppies for 2 hours). But God said we needed rest from the very beginning! Like day seven was totally dedicated to that very thing. It’s not like God needed to take a snooze, although I’m sure containing a ball of light that emits 3.8 x 10^26 joules of energy each second would take a lot out of someone.
The Hebrew word shabat used for rest means “to cease or stop”. In the context of creation, rest was intended as a cessation of work. It was a purposeful stopping of all that was being done. Now, knowing that God is intentional, I bet he doesn’t really have “busy work”, but we sure do. Have we really learned to stop? Have we learned to take a step back and intentionally cease for the purpose of rest?
Sometimes it’s scary to take a step back because you eventually have to self evaluate, but I would challenge you as believers to do just that. Remove yourself from the phone calls, the emails, and all the voices “needing” you in different things. Take a step back, breathe, and look up. When we cease, we see a Savior, a God of peace that renews our Spirits. He helps us sift through some of those things and see what has greater importance and eternal value. THAT is where we direct our efforts.
If life is bringing you down, drive to the nearest rest stop and see what baggage you’ve picked up along the way. Lay it down before the throne and dig into your scripture road map. You’ll find that rest isn’t a destination, it’s a lifestyle, one that was provided for us long before we figured out how to afford a car.