By Brent Myers, Pastor of Community Life –
I know it’s ironic to quote a famous fast-food chain advertisement in a health and wellness magazine, but on this one – they got it right!
They understood one of the most overlooked principles of our health: the need for rest. (How they recommend fulfilling that need, and what many others think is where we differ…)
Most studies indicate that we operate at our best when we have sufficient rest. Our bodies were not created to be able to go without stopping and taking a break. We were designed to wear down, be refreshed, and go again. Rest is important for all areas of our lives…
Physically. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same area of the brain. Sleep releases hormones that control appetite. Researchers at the University of Chicago found that dieters who were well rested lost more fat. And a 2010 study found that C-reactive protein, which is associated with heart attack risk, was higher in people who got six or fewer hours of sleep a night.
Emotionally. Sleep and stress have similar affects on your cardiovascular stress. Being well rested can reduce stress levels and improve your overall health.
Mentally. Lack of sleep can make it difficult for you to concentrate and retain information. When you sleep, your brain goes through all the activities and impressions of the day which is important for memory formation.
But what’s most interesting about rest, is that God knew the importance of rest long before the golden arches recommended it. God created us with the need for rest; He modeled it and even commanded it.
“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 2:2-3, NIV)
God didn’t NEED rest. But he CHOSE to rest – giving us an example to follow. Think about this: if the Creator of the heavens and earth and the Sustainer of all living things was able to rest, then I think I could carve out some time to make sure I’m resting, too.
““Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns. 11 For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.” (Exodus 20:8-11)
This, by the way, is in the Ten Commandments. Consider this: of all the possible things God could tell us to do – if you pared them down to the “top ten”, most of us would start with the Ten Commandments. And one of the top ten things God tells us to do is: REST.
As God’s creation, He knows us better than we know ourselves. He designed us and put us together so He knows exactly what we need. And with all that knowledge and wisdom, what does He tell us to do? Rest.
We should be working hard to make sure that we rest daily (getting a good night’s sleep); rest weekly (taking at least one day off from work); and rest annually (retreating for an extended time of refreshment).