The season of summer brings opportunities for many families to take vacations. These vacations are an intended means for persons to get away from the routine and rest. We explore new places. We learn different cultures. We see parts of the world that move us or delight us. We rest our bodies. We rest our minds.
My family has had the opportunity to live mostly on the east coast and take road trips exploring other areas of the United States. I particularly enjoy the mountains and the ocean. Each fall, we would purposefully take a day trip to the mountains just at the peak of the season to see the colors change and stop at a nearby apple orchard for a piece of pie. Perfectly breathtaking and delicious. Other times, I may drive to the ocean with friends and enjoy a day on the beach. I recall once seeing a storm over the ocean in the evening, which was spectacular. The sound of the crashing waves was calming. And the adventures to D.C. in the spring to see the blooming cherry blossoms are brisk and beautiful.
Sometimes when I read historical accounts or hear stories of the older generation of how our fathers lived, I wonder how they did it. They seemed so relaxed and not as stressed as we are today. For many of us (myself included), times of rest can be difficult. We are challenged with the demands of life, and they sometimes seem overwhelming. Yet, we eventually learn (because our bodies tell us) that we need to rest. Medical professionals continue to discover the importance of rest and its benefits. Recently, I heard that if we continually serve others, and we do not rest ourselves, we can easily burn out or become exhausted. We cannot adequately serve others if we do not also take care of ourselves. We cannot be good for others if we are not also good to us. If we do not rest, our whole being suffers. (You get the point.)
Rest is primarily associated with physical rest. Our bodies are designed to have a day of rest. Part of rest is, of course, the healing power of sleep. It recharges and rejuvenates us. When we physically rest, we can be idle and quiet. We can enjoy leisure activities and exercise. Rest can be an enjoyable activity that is out of the ordinary of everyday life, a break from the routine.
Rest is associated with mental rest. Recent days have proven that many suffer from mental anxiety and stress. In some situations, medical treatment may be necessary. In some situations, mental rest can be found through reading a book, working a puzzle, or just the quiet. Mental rest can come through meditation and prayer or taking a quiet walk outside and looking at the beauty of creation. We can entertain our mind with ways we can truly enjoy and count our blessings.
Rest is enveloped by spiritual rest. The other aspects of rest mentioned are under spiritual rest. It is having Someone you can trust and One on whom you can lean. In that place of quiet rest, you can come to God completely and without fear. When you are in that place of quiet rest, you release your security to Him, and He gives you strength. He also serves as your most perfect Confidant with whom you can share your heart. In His quiet rest, the other aspects of rest fall into place.
When I become stressed or in a place of unrest, my mind and body are triggered by the sense that I need to quickly get to a place where I can be alone and unwind. The best ways for me to refocus are to pray, take a walk outside, work out at the gym, or listen to a podcast or inspirational music. After a few minutes of my mini-vacation, I feel better–maybe not 100 percent–but I am refreshed to the point where I can return to whatever task requires my attention.
Our connections challenge for the week: During this season, determine to take some time to truly rest—physically, mentally, and spiritually. Identify some favorite activities to help you rest and escape from the routine—whether five minutes or five days away. Do you have a favorite place you enjoy visiting? Is there a place you would like to visit? Whether it is an away-cation or a stay-cation, we can find rest and be refreshed. If you are able, have a spa day that includes a massage, a facial, or both. Take a walk outside, listen to music or a favorite podcast, or enjoy the quiet. Read that book you have had on the shelf for too long. Grab a coffee with a friend.
These can be treasured mini-vacations. When we take the time to rest, our bodies and our minds enjoy the break from the routine. We have an opportunity, however brief, to take a step away from our busy lives and refocus.
The Reward: Your mind and body and the people you serve say, “Thank you.” We connect our lives to excellence.