We live in a culture obsessed with productivity and accomplishment. Take a quick break from reading and type the word “productivity” into a Google search. There are hundreds of thousands of articles detailing how readers can be more productive, manage time more efficiently and set better goals. In fact, there are numerous websites devoted solely to these topics. By no means am I saying that these websites are bad or unhelpful, but we must be careful!
I struggle to balance my desire to be more productive with my desperate need for rest. I’m confident that I am not alone! We all hear stories of people who supposedly can sleep 5 hours each night and function at full capacity the next day. We hear about the productivity level of certain people and, inevitably, we feel inadequate. We read blogs of people, who claim to sleep little, exercise constantly, complete once-in-a-lifetime projects daily, read hundreds of books each year, and have a happy family life. Really?!?
Where does rest fit into the picture? How do we understand our desperate need for rest in light of our culture’s obsession with productivity?
Here are some things I was reminded of recently concerning rest:
1. We are created with limitations. One thing is crystal clear (and my wife would echo this statement), I struggle to function on less that 7 hours of sleep. Studies show that most people need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. Our need for sleep reminds us that we are created with limitations. Our limitations point to the fact that we are mortal. They also remind us of our desperate need for God, who is not limited in any capacity.
2. God rested and tells us to rest. After God spent six days creating, he rested. God did not need to rest. He was not tired or overworked. He rested to show us our desperate need for rest. God, our maker, created us with a need: rest. Rest temporarily in this life and ultimate rest forever (eternal life).
3. There is a time for rest and a time to work. We should not live in a constant season of rest. This would be called laziness! There is a time to work and a time to rest. The questions we must ask are, “Am I working when I need to be working and resting when I need to be resting?” “Am I out of balance?” “Am I living as if I am God and I have no limitations?”