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Words by VLB

A Real Rest

My personality type isn't one that lends itself to much rest.

I've always been a go-getter, scheduling my life down to the minute in my Erin Condren Planner with color coordinated markings. Especially during my freshman year of college, I believed that I needed to jam pack my days in order to live life to the full. I wanted to experience everything, instead of just the right things. The busier my schedule, the more useful I felt. My overflowing life was fueled by a desire to impress others - I wanted to do it all, be it all, and have it all together.

This overcrowded life works for a while, but it is not sustainable. On multiple occasions during my college career, this perpetual overcommitment has become too much for me. I've fallen victim to the cycle: go, go, go, crash.

Does this sound familiar? Do you feel trapped in your schedule? Are you craving some real rest?

I know I was. I still am, actually. While I've definitely made some improvements in the "rest" department, I'm still striving for sustainability, instead of the burnout cycle I know too well.

God created so many glorious ways we can rest - there is no "one size fits all" way to unwind. Some of my favorites include watching movies, going on long, slow runs, cooking, writing, reading, spending time alone, or just plain sleeping.

All of these activities are God-honoring, as long as we approach them with the correct posture of the heart. I'm working toward an attitude that admits I cannot do it all, and that I need the help of someone greater than myself. I'll never be able to sustain a jam packed college life without inviting God into it.

Again, I want to reiterate here: there is such a spectacular variety of ways to recharge. God created each and every one of us with a unique capacity, and He provided us with specific activities that fill us up. Maybe you need music, maybe you like silence. Perhaps you prefer the company of others, or maybe you crave alone time. Don't be afraid to try out various types of rest - take advantage of all the de-stressers you were created to enjoy.

Once you discover your preferred method to unwind, make a commitment to incorporate it into your daily routine.

I'm sure you might be thinking - there's no way I have time to rest every single day! I totally get it. I felt that way for many years, until I realized; I don't have time for a full on mental breakdown every few weeks, either. 30 minutes of bliss each day sounds a lot more fun than a three hour breakdown every other week.

If we make the promise ourselves to include rest on our daily calendars, we take an active step toward breaking the burnout cycle.

As counterintuitive as it sounds, I've found success in scheduling rest into my day. Yes, I've just created another item on my to-do list, but this is an item that I look forward to, that I know I need. My daily recharge looks different every day, but it always happens. Maybe I go on a run while listening to a podcast. Maybe I light a candle and read the Bible a little longer than usual. Maybe I schedule lunch with a friend, or take a nap.

No matter what form of rest I choose, I find that prioritizing what I find restful helps me be the best version of myself when it matters most. When I take the time to recharge, I am more focused, intentional, patient, and energetic. If we live in a constant state of hurry, like I did for the greater part of my freshman year, we waste our precious energy stressing and focusing inward.

Life is so much lighter when we rest. When we make room for relaxation, we restore our energy so that we can live in the moment and love others better - and that is worth a few minutes of each day.

Matthew 11:28-30, The Message

“Are you tired? Worn out? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”

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