Sunday, December 23, 2012

8. Rest in the Lord

Buy the Book

“This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing.”

Our bodies need rest. This is a known fact of science. The question is, how much rest?

God made the night and day. I believe He intends for us to sleep every night and work in the day time. I understand that some people have jobs where they must work at night, but studies have shown that these people need an average of two more hours of sleep per day to make up for this unnatural pattern. And they tend to weigh more and suffer from more depression.

We should all get between six and ten hours of sleep per night. The older we get, the less sleep we generally need, so a child should have at least ten hours (babies may sleep for up to twenty at first) and an elderly person may only need six. Most of us should aim for eight. This allows our bodies to recuperate from the day's events.

Sleep deprivation can interfere with memory, energy levels, mental abilities, emotional mood (causing pessimism, sadness, stress and anger), exhaustion, fatigue and lack of physical energy, increase aging, and lowers our immune cells by 10-35%. It can drastically affect the body's ability to metabolize glucose (by as much as 40%), leading to symptoms that mimic early-stage Diabetes.

Insufficient rest adversely affects the brain's ability to control speech, access memory, and solve problems. These physical reactions disappear when the person is allowed to rest properly.

Researchers have found that people who drive after being awake for 17 to 19 hours performed worse than those with a blood alcohol level of .05 percent. That's the legal limit for drunk driving in most western European countries. 16 to 60 percent of road accidents involve sleep deprivation. Road rage may be caused, in part, by a national epidemic of sleepiness.

"National epidemic of sleepiness?" 

Yes. We get an average of two hours less sleep per night than our "Dawn to Dusk" farmer ancestors did.

Why? Electric lights, TV, cars that comfortably take us here and there, the 24/7 internet, etc. We are simply too busy and too involved to bother sleeping.

Think about how different your life would be without electricity. When the sun goes down you light a fire in the fireplace and/or oil lamp. Then what? Read, talk to your family, play games, do hand crafts (This was a major time for education during the pioneer and colonial days).

Still, you will be ready for bed before too long.

Today the sun goes down and we flip a switch and continue working or watching the boob-tube into the wee hours of the morning. Then the alarm clock rings and we are up and at'em again.

First rule of rest: Sleep at night (10:00pm to 6:00am are the best times) at least eight hours. If you can't sleep, at least lie down and rest your body. Turn off the TV and computer and let your mind wander. If you have to do something, read.

Help for Insomnia

  1. Determine the best time to get up for your schedule for the whole week. Make sure it's the same time everyday. No sleeping in.
  2. Buy the loudest, most annoying alarm clock you can find (or download a ring that is loud and annoying to your phone and make sure the volume is set on high). Put it across the room from you where you can't reach it from your bed.
  3. Count backwards 9 hours and set a soft alarm to go off (Isn't it great that all of our phones give us alarms? Remember to set the "Do Not Disturb" on your phone so no one can call or text you from the time your bedtime alarm goes off until your morning alarm goes off. Generally, these apps will let a call go through if the person calls twice in three minutes, so you don't have to worry about not being available in emergencies. Anything else really can wait until the next day.)
  4. When the night time alarm rings, turn off all screens. The light from screens is blue light, the same as midday, so our brains think it is still time to be up and about. Turning screens off allows the natural red light of evenings to tell our brains it's time to shut down. If your schedule prevents you from getting natural red light, but one and turn it on when you turn your screens off.
  5. Take a warm shower or bath and put on soft clothes (jammies, sweats). 
  6. Drink a cup of chamomile tea (relaxant), glass or warm milk (high in tryptophan, a natural sedative, as well as protein which keeps the blood sugar level throughout the night), or something else that is known to help you relax.
  7. Read a chapter from Psalms. This moves your brain from the day's troubles to God. Listing five things you are thankful for helps, also.
  8. Turn you lights off and get in bed. No more screens, no more reading, just lay there and rest.
It can take up to two weeks, but this routine- ceremony, if you will- will train your body to go to sleep when you go to bed. It is the proven best way to deal with insomnia.

You also need a weekly rest.

“And on the seventh day God ended his work which He had made; and He rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.” Genesis 2:2.

God worked for six days creating the world. Then He rested. Now this means, in part, that He simply quit creating on the seventh day. But it has more meaning.

“But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it." Exodus 20:10

You see, because He had rested on the Sabbath, God told Israel to rest on the Sabbath. God wanted them to take one day per week to focus on Him and not work.

Even their slaves and animals were not allowed to do any work.

If Israel had followed this, what would have been the result?
  • Their bodies would have had all the rest they needed to recuperate from the week's labor.
  • They would have stayed home and spent time with their families and neighbors (you couldn't go very far without making your horse work). Relationships in the family and community would have been stronger.
  • They could not be workaholics. Some time had to be devoted to enjoying life. 
  • Their brains would have had a day to think of something besides work, so they would have work in a better perspective. They could step back and see the big picture.
This would have been a mini vacation every week.

Imagine how nice that would be? Well, I don't have to imagine it. Though we are not "Sabbath keepers" in the traditional sense, we do consciously limit our Work and activities on Saturday night and Sunday. We have a simple meal and watch movies on Saturday night, spend the next morning driving and enjoying the country side, then fellowshipping and worshiping our God with or church family. We enjoy a good meal together and then go home and take a nap.

That is followed by time being a family and enjoying family videos together with another simple meal.

No chores, no cleaning, no school. Just rest and fun. A day to look forward to the whole week long.

I really don't believe it matters if we take Sunday or Saturday or Tuesday off, but I think we should all take one day a week to focus on God and the wonderful gifts He has given us in our family and church family. As much as possible, take a day without electronics, too. They keep our brains enslaved and distracted.

This is a special time and frees us from the slavery of work.


Have you ever wondered why we "need" vacations now but our ancestors didn't?

Simple. The farmer got a vacation from pruning his orchard when it was time to plow the field. He got a vacation from plowing when it was time to plant and from planting when his animals started birthing. Then the sheep needed shearing, the berries picking and the garden planting. That was followed by haying, harvesting the fields then harvesting the garden. He vacationed from harvesting by shoring up the property for the winter and vacationed from that by sleeping until the late winter sun came up, doing inside repairs and chores, teaching his children to read and their other book work, and going to bed when the early winter sun went down. That would get tiring pretty fast so it is a good thing it only lasted a couple of months before he went on pruning vacation again.

This is why you need to take two weeks, minimum, per year off of your-same-ole- thing,-day-in-day-out-job (Most European countries require employers to provide six weeks of vacation). God made you to need at least some variety in your life. You need a rest from that schedule.

Rest rule three: Take a vacation every year (remember to turn your cell phone off!)

God also commanded Israel to have a special feast every New Moon. 

In other words, they were to be sure to have a party once per month.

Imagine; some people think religion stops all the fun!

The new moon was to be celebrated with:
  1. Blowing trumpets (music), 
  2. Sacrifices, 
  3. Worship in the house of God. 
Though Christians are not required to keep this feast, are even chided for doing so in Galatians, we need something to look forward to in our lives, even if it is as simple as taking one evening a month to get together with friends and visit. I think this is an important “rest” goal.

Real Rest

“Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” Matthew 11:29

Jesus is our rest. He provides us with spiritual rest, rest in our souls. Without Him we must worry and fret and figure out how to get everything done and what that even means. We must carry around the burden of sin and guilt on our shoulders. With Him we can just give it all away and He will throw the sins in the garbage, and tell us what needs to be done and what doesn't. He will guide us in how to go about doing what He wants us to do. We don't have to worry about it.

In order to obtain this rest, we must first recognize that we are in need of His rest. We must first see that we are sinners.

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23.

“Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:” Romans 5:12.

There is not a human being that has ever walked this earth that has not sinned except Jesus Himself.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23.

The tip-tiniest white lie deserves to be punished with eternal death; but Jesus paid that price for us. In order to receive His rest we must accept His gift of that payment. We must give Him our lives, our whole lives. Then we must seek Him.

Just like you spend time with your mate to build a relationship with him and to keep that relationship strong, you must spend time with Jesus.

  • Read your Bible everyday. This teaches you who He is, what He loves and what He hates.
  • Pray regularly. This keeps communication lines open so you can rest in His attention to you.
  • Yield your will to Him. Much like an escalator doesn't save you any work if you turn it off and climb the steps yourself, you must give God your all to get that rest in Him. Let Him handle it and don't worry anymore.

Summary: for sufficient rest…

  • Sleep eight hours per night (more for children and if you are pregnant or ill.)
  • Take a "mini vacation" once per week; a day to not do any work or normal stuff, just worship, fellowship and fun.
  • Make a point of doing something special once per month.
  • Take at least two week’s vacation per year.
  • Take a daily rest with Jesus; read your Bible, pray and listen to Him giving Him all your burdens. 

No comments:

Post a Comment