Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rest….Sabbath….Seriously…that is old school!

Being tired has become an issue in this generation. People get sick, complain about too much work and bills piling up or jobs that they hate or don’t have and, relationships are in turmoil. Add to that, those health problems that are associated with the above like; colds, migraines, weight problems, headaches, gastro-intestinal discomforts, and other body pains, what about those times you have sleep insomnia, when you simply can't fall asleep?

It has been a while since I last posted, simply because I did not make the time or I didn’t have the physical or intellectual energy (don’t go there)! So this is what I am trying to learn….myself.

It is important to re-energize to be functioning properly, simple as that. It doesn’t matter how strong or tough you (I) think you are, we all need to rest. As a matter of fact we need more that rest, we also need sleep and a form of relaxation. These three elements are often taken for granted, we usually practice one, maybe two, but never all three. What I am experiencing is that our body begs for all three of them, but as we struggle to cope with busy lifestyles and wanting to earn more, or in order to cope with endless monthly bills to pay, thinking that the work will never get done unless we do it ourselves…and the list goes on…combine this with other environmental stresses like chemicals and other pollutants, and the list goes on nothing is left but stress and reduced energies.

Sometimes even a night’s sleep may be inadequate, probably due to a particularly stressful day, an emotional crisis in life, or a strenuous physical activity. When you become drowsy, you certainly need rest. A nap, even for five or ten minutes, will help you revitalize, but really doesn’t solve the problem.

What I have learnt is that our body has limitations and we should never take this for granted. How often we neglect to respect and appreciate the fundamental law of life – that bodies have a finite supply of energy. What I did not know is that nerve energy is used up by all kinds of activities and can be recuperated by rest, sleep and relaxation. Under normal conditions, nature forces people to rest sufficiently to thoroughly recuperate from daily grinds. Nowadays, with everyone striving for wealth, social position, fame, dominance, or simply trying to struggle for survival, the regard for nature’s signal to stop and re-energize is often neglected.

Instead, everyone has been driven to self-destruction, opting for stimulants such as coffee, tobacco, alcohol, and tea and whatever... To maintain a balanced physical, mental, emotional and spiritual best, a bodily store of energy has to be abundantly sustained. In order for this to happen our lifestyle should be improved, which means doing things to excess should be avoided, including overeating, overworking, and overplaying.

I have found out that it is important to cut down on the late nights, or at least minimize this activity. Set aside significant portions of your days off or take that needed vacation to re-energize. It may not always be easy, but it can be done.

In Genesis 2:4 GOD took a rest. Some have interpreted these words to mean "he ceased to perform all His creative work." So, the question comes, Why the need to rest? Obviously, it wasn't because of tiredness, He is GOD! But GOD’s resting from creation teaches us that as human beings created in the image of God, we too need to make time for rest and purposely abstain from interfering with creation one day of the week. This has been a hard lesson for me to learn. The passion to work, to create, to accomplish or finish can sometimes be dangerous — especially for a society that prides itself on its ability to create, manipulate and control the world around it!!

Why did God need to rest? Rabbis teach us that work is not an end in and of itself. To be healthy, to be free from the problems of earning a livelihood, we must have rest to renew our strength and spirits to catch our breath and to become a living being once more. When GOD rested he created the possibility of renewal or regeneration, maybe rejuvenation.

For hundreds of years the Jews were ridiculed for being lazy for resting on the Sabbath. For the past 500-600 years, the world was seen as one gigantic clock. The universe was seen as an inanimate machine. Even human beings are considered by the likes of some behaviorists as nothing more than a machine. We have to remind ourselves that we are not machines. Each of us has a soul. Rest teaches us that each of us needs to have some sacred space to enjoy ourselves with our families and friends. Biblically rest provides our tired spirits with nurturing and healing and time to enjoy the world in silence and respect and sacred time to feel one with our Creator.
Some of the best ways of resting is actually stop doing work. If you were to die today, your work will be carried out by someone else…eventually. We need to renew our bodies and soul weekly by resting. And one way to do this is to add GOOD FOOD! No kidding! Even in the toughest of times, the Jews made every effort to buy the special food and candles that mark keeping the Sabbath. The table became a holy place where the family shared their joys and wishes together.
How is your table?

One of the most terrifying aspects of the technological society is the loss of intimacy. We are always wired and connected. Many people in our culture are desperate for affection, and most do not know how to give it or receive it, but they Facebook/Twitter or email it! Taking time to rest actually gives us a special time to deepen our relationships, especially when we unplug.
We/I need rest especially in our wired, turbulent times, perhaps more so than ever. Rest is not a luxury; it is a necessity for a long, healthy life.



David Cain said...

A fellow Winnipegger!

Right now I'm taking a month off caffeine and other substances and my biggest discoveries so far are:

a) I don't feel tired during the day
b) I don't wake up during the night

Because of technology we aren't awoken by the sun or ushered to bed by the dark, and I think it's led to some unhealthy habits with respect to adequate rest. Caffeine is just one tool people use to attempt to overpower the body's natural rest/action rhythm.

I'll never go back to morning coffee, it's just too disruptive. I already have a much better appreciation for the importance of getting as much rest as my body tells me I need.

Anonymous said...

Its funny when we realize something that God has taught from day one. We need to listen to what God teaches us a lot more than we do. God taught us "rest" is important when he too "rested". But he didn't stop there did he? He knew that our lives would become so complex with technology and information that we wouldn't/couldn't find the time to rest.

God knew how important rest is, so important that out of 10 commandments that he gave Moses, one was to rest. It wasn't even the last commandment, but the 4th (I believe) so it must have been important to Him.