We all enter seasons of rest, whether it’s a weekend or a yearly vacation or a sabbatical. I returned to a verdant Vermont home this week after a year on staff in Mexico. This is my time to rest before returning to host teams and teach orphans. As I mulled over what my goals are during this time I settled on one that I’d like all our readers to consider: to have a productive rest.
What is a productive rest and how would you realize it?
A productive rest is a rest that accomplishes its objective: a renewed body, soul, and mind. We botch rest all the time. We try to attain it by “sleeping the morning away”, eating lots of foods we know we shouldn’t, binging on Netflix, partying hard, spending too much time alone, spending too much time with others, or skipping all exercise. How many weekends can we describe with “excess”?
Rest is an equilibrated state. It’s where we put forth effort without exertion and receive joy. The most restful thing I did this week was go for a hike. It wasn’t effortless and it wasn’t a chore. It was invigorating, beautiful, and a break from routine.
A productive rest, like productive work, often starts with a strategy. Practicing Jews who observe the Sabbath prepare those meals the day before. You can structure your rest to minimize tedium (like cooking meals) or unintended excess by scheduling the time you wake up and planning activities you know make you happy. If you need some tv time, give yourself a little tv time, but set the boundaries.
In short, treat rest like it’s your job. You need your rest to do your work, so put as much intentionality into your rest as you do your job.
How will I have a productive rest during my time home? I am scheduling hikes and bike rides by the water. I have time to be with friends and time to be alone with the Lord. Some days will be for raising funds, other days will be for not doing any of that. I know which activities offer false promises of rest and which ones actually bring me rest.
Do you know what will do it for you? Are you ready to be intentional about rest? Can you afford another period of unproductive rest?
Editor's Note: Please remember to pray for Isaiah as he continues to productively rest in Vermont and as he prepares to return to Hope House in Mexico. And don't forget that you can encourage him financially too.