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  • Writer's pictureDr. Mel Tavares

Lord, I Need Some Rest

By Dr. Mel Tavares Too often, I find myself breathing a quick prayer heavenward that sounds something like, "Lord, I need some rest. I'm doing all of this work in your name and for Your glory, but people keep coming with their needs. I'm so tired."

Jesus spent his days serving people, just as I do and just as you probably do. (How many know spouse and kids and extended family all count, too? People surrounded Jesus everywhere he went, yet he never seemed to run out of the energy to minister to someone in need. A leper, a blind man, a woman with an issue of blood, a demon-possessed man. How is it that Jesus never seemed to tire? (No, it isn't because He's God. Remember, at that point He was fully man.)

I'm learning to follow the example of Jesus found in Mark 1:35 (NIV) "Very early in the morning when it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went to a solitary place, where he prayed." Jesus knew the day would be busy from the time the household awoke and would not be denied time in prayer with his Father. Prayer and communion with our Heavenly Father allow us to enter spiritual rest.

In his case, Jesus left the house and found a solitary place where he would not be disturbed. While striving to follow Jesus' example of waking early enough to spend time with the Father before my busy day begins, I confess that I do not get up when it is still dark. (My respect to all who are early risers.) I do however, set my alarm for an hour earlier than necessary, make coffee and eagerly make my way to my favorite chair to spend time with the Lord most mornings.

Science agrees with the example Jesus demonstrated of our need for physical rest. Although Mark 1:35 (above) does not explicitly say that Jesus slept during the night, nighttime sleep is inferred by the phrase "Jesus got up and left the house." If he got up, he was likely getting up from a night of sleep. Sleep is restorative for our minds and bodies. I've tried drinking more caffeine and sleeping less, but cups of coffee leave me bleary-eyed and brain-fogged the next day. There is no replacement for a solid eight hours of sleep that rejuvenates and prepares us for the tasks awaiting us the following day.

I look forward to Saturdays. It is my down day, my Sabbath, as I am actively involved in our Sunday church services. It's a time for family gatherings, trips to the beach, and date nights with my hubby. I guard these days and rarely allow the endless opportunities to engage in other activities to infringe on this day of rest. I have learned that mini periods of rest throughout the week are adequate for several days in a row, but God gave us the example of working six days and resting on the seventh. Whatever your schedule, I pray you prioritize a day of rest each week.

At first glance, it may seem that morning quiet time, afternoon breaks on the porch allow the brain to rest, a whole night of restorative sleep, and an entire day a week off is enough rest. I have found I also need extended periods of time, and intentionally schedule a few days to a week off several times a year. During those extended periods of rest, I unplug. I don't take my laptop, avoid social media, and put an auto-responder on my email.

Admittedly, it is hard to withdraw from the pressing needs of those I serve each day. I have learned from Jesus that there will always be people who need us, and as difficult as it is, we must take both daily and weekly time to rest, and I am convinced He would approve of occasional vacations.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for giving me examples of how and when to rest. Thank you for making provisions for my weary body and soul to be restored and rejuvenated. I ask that you continue teaching me your ways to continue learning to rest when I need it.”


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