What is Rest?

First, let’s start with a confession:

I am not very good at this whole rest thing. I’m just not. I want to be, and part of writing this series, I think, is me preaching to me. I know I need rest (well, better rest). I think part of me hopes that by writing this I will take notes and try to implement some of this stuff myself.

As proof that I am not very good at this whole rest thing, I can tell you that I didn’t go to bed until 1:00 AM this morning.

Seems kind of ironic considering that we’re all here to talk about rest, right? Hey … I did just tell you that I don’t have this down, didn’t I? 😂 It’s a good thing I have Friday’s off.

Our daughter went to prom last night, and we had to take her to the location and pick her up when it was over. So … it was a late night. By the time we got home and got in bed, it was super late.

What’s great is this is a prime example of what I was talking about last week. It’s been a long week and I already knew I needed rest but yet we had this thing we had to do that was a non-negotiable. Knowing that this event was coming you would think that I would have prepared in advance. But I didn’t. I just went with things as they came to me and today I am paying the price. My energy debt is enormously high and I’m struggling to pay it back.

Lesson learned, right? Here’s hoping.

What is Rest?

So what is rest?

Rest is simply the act of being refreshed. It’s relaxing. It’s recovering strength.

Rest can look different to different people. And it’s not necessarily doing nothing.

There are a lot of you out there who feel like you can’t sit still. That feel guilty if you aren’t doing something. And then you’re told that you have to rest. And that rest should look like doing nothing. I don’t think that’s quite right.

For some people, doing nothing is restful. Watching Netflix all day long somehow makes you refreshed. But for others of you, that would drive you berserk and be the farthest thing from restful to you.

For you, I think it’s important that I make a distinction. Rest isn’t the absence of movement or the ceasing of doing. Rest can be doing … with the right mindset.

For example, I don’t think it’s restful to cut the grass. It’s a chore and chores are not restful. But if you love cutting the grass and you can think of no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon then with some special 1-on-1 time with your lawnmower then by all means, mow the lawn.

Rest can be doing. The distinction is the heart behind the doing. It should be doing something that brings you joy and refreshment. If it’s burdensome and you hate doing it but you have to do it anyway, that isn’t rest. If you come alive at the thought of doing it … that’s rest.

If I could make some suggestions? Try to completely cut off from the things you do for work. I’m a developer by day, so I try to not do that as my restful activities, even if it’s for a personal fun project. I don’t always succeed, and there are some times that I end up coding something was really fun and restful. But a lot of times I know the frustrations that come with doing what I do and having those inevitably pop up in my rest time isn’t so much fun.

Also, I’ve heard that if you work with your mind you should rest with your hands and vice-versa. I’m not really great at putting this one into practice, but reports from others suggest this is true.

At the end of the day, as long as you are doing things that you love “getting to” do and not those things that you “have to” do, you should be okay. Do what you love and that makes you come alive. Find those things that truly make you more energized when you’re done and do a lot of that. The goal is to come out on the other side with more energy.