By: Mei Yee Leong
We live in a world that moves at a fairly fast pace, and can demand a lot from each of us. Whatever responsibilities you may hold; studying, raising children, being married, having a job, they all require our attention and energy…and it can sometimes be difficult to find down-time in amidst the chaotic busy-ness.
When I was on my teacher training placement, the days were long and work was demanding. I was constantly on the go from seven o’clock in the morning until five o’clock in the evening, and understandably it was hard to ‘switch off’ once I arrived home. I found that it was all too tempting to continue my pace with either work or with socializing (this was perhaps not the best approach to the end of a working day). Because of the nature of the placement, I ended up getting so exhausted and not getting enough rest and recuperation with God. Sufficed to say, it affected my overall performance and effectiveness as a teacher.
Getting rest is important, and this is not limited to just physical rest. It also includes the spiritual and mental aspects of rest as well. We live in a society, which demands much of us in mind, body and soul which can result in leaving us left feeling pretty drained and depleted. It is therefore highly important that we know how to look after ourselves. This is re-iterated by the following verse;
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your bodies.”
~1 Corinthians 6:19-20
And if we look to Jesus as an example, there are many times in scripture which tell us that He often took time out away from His ministry in order to spend some time alone with God in prayer.
“Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.”
Physical rest. That is an easy one, although you may be one of those people who find it hard to be still and would rather be going out to do something, even on a day off! That’s okay, just so long as you can recognise your own physical limits. I know I can tell when my body is starting to get weary (when my chest is starting to feel tight, and I just feel drained!). Suggestions for taking physical rest can look different to different people, but some suggestions include taking a hot bath, watching a film, reading a book or baking.
Spiritual rest is important too. This refers to spending quality time with God. This is important, especially if you have many demands in your life that may take your focus off God a little bit. Refocusing by spending time with God helps at different times in the day can help set the tone for the day and remind you who the source of your life is! Since I am fairly introverted, this time is very important in order to replenish my energies. Suggestions for taking spiritual rest can include: writing in a faith journal, praying in solitude, going away on a women’s retreat, holding a bible study session with friends. The list goes on! You can be as creative as you want in spending time with God!
Moreover, resting your soul is important too. By that, I mean doing the things that you like to do. The things that you like to indulge in, which you can’t otherwise because of work demands and suchlike. These things can range from painting, drawing, photography, playing music, watching films and TV shows etc. It’s important to do things you enjoy outside of work! You might also want to check out local tourism sites for things to see and do in around your local area.
My alone time with God looks like the following…..
I would normally spend my alone with God, in my bedroom, as it is acts as a sanctuary away from the rest of my family and the outside world. I put on some worship music to help me get in tune with God and open my heart up to receive words from Him. Personally, music acts as a very good bridge for connecting with Him but there are other ways too, such as taking walks alone and taking the time to appreciate God through nature and the surroundings.
Plugging in my earphones helps me focus all the more on the lyrics as I listen. I basically sit and meditate on the words of the lyrics and let my mind and heart wander to listen out to God’s voice.
It is true after all, when they say; “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.”
With all that in mind, be careful to make sure you don’t make the mistake of missing all or most of this out, because it can severely affect your wellbeing. Trust me, from experience, without the proper physical, spiritual and emotional rest, you will only end up feeling worn out and exhausted and not very effective in the Kingdom.
Mei Yee Leong
B.L.O.G. Magazine Contributing Writer
Mei is our resident British writer, who graduated from the University of Chester with a Bachelors of Sciences degree in Multimedia Technologies. Currently studying a postgraduate course in teaching at the University of Cumbria and is now taking some time out in between to figure out the future. Lover of music and all things creative – writing novels and faith-inspired poems in her spare time. Jack-of-all-trades; interested by anything and everything which means she has dabbled in a fair few things but profusely believes in not being defined by a certain career path but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself! Contact: www.becomingmorelikechrist.tumblr.com