Why are so many Americans burned out and exhausted? We live in America, the land of opportunity. Our great country was founded on strong work ethic, but somewhere along the way we as a society have forgotten what rest looks like and how to do it well. Leisure is not laziness, but intentional time set aside for rest, which can take on many forms. Laziness is negligence and avoidance. I know I have wrestled with feeling lazy when I was in fact really just trying to rest, but struggled to honor said time as rest. A few years ago I set on a journey of sorts to really understand the difference between laziness and leisure and even what God had to say about these things. May I offer you a few of my findings that have truly transformed how I approach my leisure time?
Leisure is a form of rest.
Leisure is a form of rest and we are called to a day of rest, Sabbath, by Christ. The Bible says God made all of creation in six days, but on the seventh day, He rested, and referred to it as Sabbath. If our creator, God, gave Himself a day off from producing, I believe we should follow His example. Taking a true sabbath, a full day when you intentionally do not produce beyond what is necessary (hello, mommas :)) and allow yourself to do activities that make you feel like a human again and bring you joy is good for your soul. Taking a break from work allows your brain to rest and gives you space to gain a new perspective on your life. It allows for you to seek the Lord on what He’s doing in your life and in your family. Allowing yourself to break from producing also allows you to begin your work week from rest with a full tank, rather than running on fumes. Intentional rest is not laziness, it is Biblical.
You are a human being.
You are not a robot. are a beautiful, fearfully created human being with talents, dreams, and amazing thoughts that need space to grow. If you are constantly producing, when do you have time to dream dreams, God-sized dreams, pursue your hobbies, or just have a Sunday afternoon playing board games with your kids? There is so much life in days that are unstructured. Many times its in the moments of those days where we’ll be able to hear God so clearly simply because we’ve cleared out some of the static noise that is our daily lives. God has created you to enjoy your life. He’s given you so many gifts- time, family, friends, gardens, hot coffee, and the list could go on. His will is for you to learn how to rest and remember you are not a robot, but a very carefully woven together human being who He wants a close relationship with. Intentional rest is not laziness, it is the recipe for remembering who you are and whose you are.
You are leading someone.
Whether you are a parent, grandparent, student, single, married, male or female, you are most likely leading someone whether you know it or not. Our world doesn’t exemplify rest very well, does it? What with being constantly connected to the internet, television, or whatever other media of your choosing, disconnecting can be challenging. There is a generation of kids coming up who need to know how to intentionally break from the barrage of stimulation and input they experience daily from social media, and they need us to demonstrate that practice. This generation needs to see others who can put their phones down and close their laptops for several hours each week to pursue God, their families, and friendships. It can feel strange to pull away from screens at first, but with some prayer and intentionality, it can be done, and the benefits you and your family will reap will far outweigh the sacrifice. Intentional rest is setting an example for others, and not just merely a personal discipline.