Rest. This word invokes a variety of thoughts and meanings. Many of us immediately think of the physical aspects — vacation, sleep, or couch time after a jam-packed day. Or we may ponder the mental aspect — a mind at rest. But there’s another kind of rest, one that reaches to the depth of our beings — spiritual rest. For me, the three are intertwined; it’s difficult to have one without the others. And in a world that promotes the banner of busyness it’s been an uphill battle to sustain this trifecta.
One of my most restful times occurs when Toto and I head out on our daily, mile-long walk. Recently, we happened by a Halloween lawn display with a tombstone that read, “Rest in Pieces.” As the words sunk in, an alternative meaning bubbled up that I’m sure the tombstone creator never envisioned. I quickly snapped a photo and smiled as I realized that my rest may best be attained through these same words — “in pieces.” Despite creating space during each morning to pray and center my thoughts, once my day begins, the pace picks up until I’m in a full-on sprint — from stories and videos to errands and connecting with friends and family. Sometimes I crash and burn by lunchtime — exhausted with an aching neck and back while my overwhelming list that seems beyond completion still sits atop a pile on my desk.
But I’m slowly making progress, thanks in part to that message on the plastic tombstone. In his book, “The Compound Effect,” author Darren Hardy shares how making small consistent steps in a desired direction can have a big impact over time. “Your life is a product of your moment-to-moment choices,” Hardy wrote. “Step by step, day by day, your choices will shape your actions until they become habits, where practice makes them permanent.” So I’ve decided to apply this same concept to my rest. Throughout the day I am taking time for short breaks to exercise, pray, or read a devotion. Sometimes I even just stop while sitting at my desk, stretching and taking some deep breaths for a moment of quiet time. I hope these small steps will grow into a routine and a way of life — where rest is a natural part of it.
But it will take intentionality and possibly a death to my old way of life — putting bad habits in their final resting place to enable peace to emerge. “Your biggest challenge isn’t that you’ve intentionally been making bad choices,” Hardy says. “Your biggest challenge is that you’ve been sleepwalking through your choices.”
Change requires choices. Are you choosing to make space in your life for rest? What does it look like to you?
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28 (NIV)