The Reality of Rest

Merry (almost) Christmas! It feels so strange to me that 2022 is right around the corner!

If you’ve read some of my past blogs around January, you know that I try to reset and evaluate my lifestyle around this time of year. It has been super helpful for me to spend time intentionally reflecting on the past year so that I can make a “game plan” for the new year. I wanted to share a quick goal that has been on my mind since I went to Chick-fil-A this past week, and I hope it will encourage you to think about some beneficial lifestyle changes you might want to make too.

The other day, I stopped by Chick-fil-A to grab some breakfast before heading home. When I got home, I noticed the normal saying on the bag that says, “Served fresh Monday-Saturday”. Now, I am pretty positive that this saying has been on their bags for the past 2 years (maybe more), but it really stuck out to me that day.

For those of you that do not know, Chick-fil-A is closed on Sundays. The reasoning is that the founder of the restaurant, Truett Cathy, was a Christian, and he felt that it was important for the employees to have a day of rest.

“Closing our business on Sunday, the Lord’s Day, is our way of honoring God and showing our loyalty to Him.” – Truett Cathy; Eat Mor Chikin, Inspire More People

Now, logically, we might be thinking that if a restaurant is closed on a particular day, it would be losing lots of income, and other restaurants would be at a better advantage on this day. While this is true, Chick-fil-A is not at an extreme loss for being closed on Sundays. It is still one of the most profitable fast-food chains in the United States. Almost every time that I visit a Chick-fil-A restaurant, the place is normally busy but quick to serve everyone. It is also helpful to its employees by preventing burnout in the workplace every week.

Within our own individual lives, I think it is super important to have a day of rest, also known as a Sabbath day. This can look different for everyone, but it is really easy to get caught up in the busyness and chaotic cycle of life if we do not plan our Sabbath day intentionally. Typically, my excuses for not setting aside a certain day for resting and recharging are because “I don’t have time” or “I have too much to do”. While these excuses are not always true, finding motivation and energy to rest can be difficult. Even to the point where I am attempting to rest, but not actually resting (we’ll talk about this in a minute). The truth is that we have to focus on our time management and self-control when it comes to intentionally resting.

Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 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. – Genesis 2:1-3

In the book of Genesis, the Bible tells us that God spent six days creating the earth. Each day He created certain aspects of the world. However, on the seventh day, He rested from His work. God wanted us to know that He rested so that we can rest too. He managed His time each day to create what He needed to for the week, and then, He had a day of rest from His work.

I think time management is a very challenging aspect of our lives to control and set a routine in. Sometimes, we do get caught up in the busyness and chaos of all that needs to be done. However, if we continuously pour ourselves out to the world, our jobs, our education, and our community, we eventually will run ourselves dry. We must set boundaries and prioritize our needs while managing the roles and responsibilities that we have daily.

So, how exactly do we do that?

  1. You need to know what helps YOU rest from your week and recharge yourself for the week to come. Everyone is different when it comes to rest. Some people can recharge themselves by watching tv and sitting on the couch for a whole day. Others might need to get out and go for a hike to fully reset their mindset for the week. Try different activities and hobbies out to see what truly works best for you.
  2. Setting boundaries with tasks that tend to wear your energy out is also important. For my day of rest, I try to not answer any work emails or spend hours of my time on social media. I try to put my phone down for most of the day if necessary. I also have set tasks that I want to do for the day to help me reset, such as going to the gym, reading a book, catching up with a friend, or taking a walk. Some of these tasks might not be recharging or beneficial to you, like going to the gym. That might wear you out even more. For me, exercising tends to help me feel better physically and mentally. It’s giving me time to work out my stress from the week, and it gives me a better mentality for the rest of my day.
  3. Plan it and commit to it. I am starting to make Saturdays my Sabbath day. You can do the same day every week or mix it up. BUT, I want to encourage you to intentionally set out a day to rest and recharge. Plan out your week to have a day of rest, or even a half-day if that is all you can do with your schedule. Plan out your month or plan it out week-by-week if that works better for you.
  4. Don’t focus so much on resting but be present in it. Occasionally, it can be difficult for me to actually rest. What I mean by this is I tend to think about all the things I need to do for the week while I am trying to rest my mind. OR I try to rest but feel that I need to be productive in my resting. I think our brains can get into the habit of constantly going all the time, to where it is uncomfortable for us to just be present and still. If this happens to you, try tasks that get your mind off work or chores you need to do around the house. Listen to a podcast, read a book, or meditate. Again, you have to find what works for you and your mindset for that particular day.

We serve a powerful God, who made it known to us that resting is important. We can intentionally prioritize our schedules and our times of rest in order to move forward and fulfill our purposes in the world around us. I don’t know about you, but I am so looking forward to a good break over the holidays. Since moving to a new city recently, I have felt stuck in a season of adjusting and transitioning, which can be exhausting some days. I truly hope that this holiday season, you can find joy and rest in the moments spent with friends and family as well as the peaceful and still moments too.

With love,

Claire

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