Creating Time For Rest
Hustle. It’s become the buzzword of our time - along with similar words like grind and productivity. It seems like everyone is managing a job, plus a side project, a full social life, an intense workout routine, and an Instagram-worthy home with a fridge arranged in rainbow order. There are hundreds of articles with advice for getting more things done in less time so you can then do even more things.
There is nothing wrong with having ambitions and setting goals for ourselves, but sometimes we overextend ourselves by trying to do too many things - especially when all of those things are objectively good. For me, this is a trap I fall into repeatedly. Right now, I’m in the midst of adjusting to a new city and a new work environment as a teacher, which tends to require extra hours outside of contracted time. So, naturally, when I see a small sliver of time in my afternoon schedule, I want to fill it.
I’ve considered taking a tutoring job after school for a couple hours a week. Theoretically, this would be a perfect fit for me. I already know that I enjoy working with kids, and, since my husband and I are hoping to buy a house eventually, I could put the extra money into our house savings fund.
Absolutely nothing about the way that I want to use this time is bad. Except that it would take away my chance to have a break during the week.
While I’d like to hope that I am the only one who is constantly trying to tell myself I can handle doing just a little more, I doubt I am the only one with this problem. There is a real awareness that burnout exists.
However, we use wellness and self-care to deal with the symptoms of the issue rather than dealing with the issue itself. Self-care can even become another checklist of something we need to get done. While we absolutely should spend time taking care of ourselves, we also have to recognize that sometimes it’s essential to subtract things from our lives instead of continuing to add things to a never-ending list.
Taking things out of our schedules gives us time to rest. Despite the traits our society seems to value at the moment, making the space to rest isn’t lazy or a waste of time. It is an act that God modeled for us.
As God is creating the world in Genesis, we learn that “by the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:2).
If the God who created our universe took the time to rest, then there is no excuse we can make for why we are not taking time to rest as well. So why are we not leaving empty spaces in our schedules for our own rest?
Chances are you already realize you are able to live a better life when you have rest. The moments of stillness allow us to appreciate life, as well as return to our work with renewed energy. Given that God took the time to rest when all He does is infinitely good, and given that we are made in God’s image, it seems important that we follow His example.
This can be really difficult. You might feel afraid that if you do a little less, then you’ll miss out on gaining experience, getting promotions, or even just having fun. When you have big dreams and hopes for your life, you might be afraid that you’ll fall behind and never reach the dream you are working towards.
There is nothing wrong with focusing intensely on a goal as long as you are aware that you might have to let go of other commitments or turn down other opportunities in order to create a space of rest for yourself.
Personally, I find God’s example of rest to be a relief. It feels as if I have permission to focus on just a few things at a time in life instead of chasing every single opportunity that comes along. I don’t have to worry about the pressure to live an unsustainable life of hustle.
Yes, there are seasons of life that may be busier than others. Life changes and commitments may limit the time you have available, but, especially then, it is necessary to see what you can eliminate from your life so you are able to have the margins in your life that allow you to rest. You don’t have to completely stop working toward your dreams or goals, but your life won’t fall into pieces around you if you slow it down a little bit. In fact, life will probably be more enjoyable.
How do you decide what to allow into your life? Are you intentional about taking time to rest?
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth is an educator at heart. So far this has taken the form of a camp counselor, a museum assistant, and currently a middle school teacher. She loves to watch people grow and learn. You can read more of her writing at her blog Chronicles of a Southern Belle.