For many of us, the word “relax” is right up there with, “Calm down, what’s wrong with you?” But the idea of relaxing is incredibly important to our life and love, to our faith and family.
Case in point: Jesus and the apostles. After ministering to many people, the weary apostles were encouraged by Jesus — that’s right, Jesus! — to enjoy a moment of respite: “And he said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31). The commendable author George MacDonald wrote, “No, no; we will not work today. Rest is as needful as toil. Bring the wine, brother” (Phantastees, XX). And far be it from us to forget that God, the Creator of the universe, built rest (called a Sabbath) into the week so that we would not only work but rest, too.
Without rest, our sin has the tendency to manifest itself in irritability, impatience, rudeness, and indecision. Our qualities tend to waste away, our minds tend to lose their sharpness, and our spirits become anxious.
Interested? Well, here are some simple suggestions to help you learn relaxation:
- Take vacations when you can (and don’t neglect them). Yes, they’ll cost money, but the investment will guarantee a healthier future.
- Take advantage of your breaks and retreat for 5 mins of silence and solitude. If you have a 15 minute break, leave your desk or work space for a quiet area in the lobby or office.
- Use half of your lunch break to walk a nearby park or mall. Using this midday time for an occasional mini-retreat will work refreshing wonders on your mind and soul.
- Get together with friends and family without an agenda. Those of us who are work-driven people know that we plan everything around a conversation that needs to happen. Make plans without plans!
In the end, we only hurt ourselves when we fail to rest properly. So, from time to time, and before it’s too late, learn how to relax.