I don’t know why we have such an aversion to rest in Western culture these days. Maybe it’s all the productivity tips and goal setting books, articles and Instagram posts. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with seeking success. But sometimes I think that our measures of success are way off base. Are you really successful if your bank account is full, but your life is empty? I’d quickly answer that question with a hard no.
For the past 18 months I’ve learned how to rest. You’d think that would be something that I wouldn’t need to learn, since we come into the world knowing how to do it. Somewhere along the way in my path of life I decided that rest was optional. Something to be done when I had the time to spare. Other stuff took priority, and I can’t even say that the activities that drew me away from rest were always productive.
I put myself last in so many ways. I felt overwhelmingly guilty if I took time to “laze around”. That’s how I viewed rest. Either I was being lazy, or I literally kept going until I collapsed. That black and white thinking pattern is typical of people like me (more on that in another post). Going until I dropped was the only way I could justify the simple act of taking time to rest.
It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder of the thyroid (which explained why I was so inexplicably tired for a looooonnnnggg time) that I finally slowed down. Medical professionals have concluded that the type of health challenge I have is brought on by years of stress, both physical and emotional. I realized that in my case, the cause was also the cure.
I gave myself permission to sit down somewhere and chill out. My rest became sweet because it was no longer stifled by unnecessary guilt. My body, mind and soul breathed a sigh of relief because this was what all of me had been craving for years.
Isn’t it funny how God allows situations in our life to bring us to the place where He would have us? I truly believe that my life, the good and the bad, are orchestrated by the One who created me and set a path of His will before me. Even the bitter things are sweet if they bring about growth, knowledge and an expected end.
Making rest a non-negotiable factor has improved my well-being dramatically. The best part is that when I rest the way my body was designed to, I’m able to accomplish a lot more than if I pressed through the signs of fatigue and kept going. Besides that, the process of completing what I set out to do is much more pleasant.
I don’t share my thoughts and life experiences on this site because I’m a narcissist. I share them because I know that there are some of you who might read this and have it resonate with your spirit. And maybe, it’ll change a mindset and therefore, a life.
Just paying it forward!
How do you balance your to-do list and your well-being?