“Come unto Me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
“We are pitchers not faucets, we must sit still to be filled.”
James R. Cooper
I, like many reformed Type A personalities (please don’t ask Regyna if I’m reformed) had workaholic tendencies. I believed the harder you worked, the better you were over those time-off taking people. Little did I know I was my own worst enemy.
The Importance of Rest
I have learned the power and importance of rest. It is critical to achieving any level of success. Rest is not just getting eight hours of sleep, although most Americans don’t sleep that much. Let’s look at the definition:
Rest (verb): cease work or movement in order to relax, refresh oneself, or recover strength.
I want to point out the word rest is a verb. Meaning it is an action you must take. Rest is so important to God, He made it a law. “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labour, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates” (Exodus 20:10 KJV). Sabbath means to stop. We need to take time away from the challenges we face or we will eventually break down.
Let’s turn rest into an acronym as an easy way to remember to rest well.
When I was training for track, Coach Burns used to tell us after practice to make sure we rested in order to stay fresh. The same applied when I started lifting weights. You build muscle and get stronger during the recovery, or rest phase, of your training. The same applies to our minds. I would work until I was totally exhausted then crash into a coma-like sleep, only to do the same again. I was not resting, I was conceding. If you are sleeping but still stressed, irritable, lethargic, and tired then you have not rested. There have been times where I have to take several days to rest. It feels like you’re doing nothing, but you are actually charging your spirit, mind, and body for the next challenge.
Only the Energizer Bunny can keep going without ever resting. For the remainder of us we have to step away from our constant grind to recharge our batteries. When I was young my idea of getting away was a weekend trip to see friends and hang out. As the years and responsibilities have both increased, having time away to renew my energy and passion has become a priority. You must be energized to be creative, have good judgment, and make sound decisions. Keep this in mind: the more you give daily, the more you need to replenish all you gave.
Anything worth doing is worth scheduling. And scheduling time to rest is certainly worth doing. For me the first step was scheduling vacation. Once I had a family, I needed to schedule time to relax with them and to rest without being on vacation. Now we’re working on getting me to schedule time regularly to recharge. Why? Because productivity soars when we’re rested. So instead of waiting until we’re exhausted why don’t we plan some time beforehand?
The toughest thing for me was learning how to rest. Having time away is good, but if you’re still thinking about what you have to do, you’re not getting restored. Resting requires learning new skills and gaining discipline. Think of it as having a shiny new set of tools called vacation, prayer, meditation, working out, getaways, days off, etc. If you don’t know how to use these tools correctly, they won’t be valuable to you. So make rest as valuable as the Hope Diamond for you and watch the results!
About James R. Cooper
James R. Cooper is a Business Strategist, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Maxser Consulting Group, LLC, Pastor of Restoration International Christian Ministries and author of From Crackers to Caviar: A Guide to Personal Development. James is on the board of several non-profit organizations and is also a Goodwill Ambassador for UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. For more information about James, book him to speak at your next event, seminar or workshop, go to www.fromcrackers2caviar.com or www.maxsergroup.com.