UNLEASHED Vol. 8 – Rest

  1. The Challenge: Do we get enough rest?  How rested are we?  How hard do we work, how productive are we?  Does rest equal sleep?  Do we make quality rest a part of our lives?  How are we when we are rested?  How are we when we’re not?
    1. As men we are called to work, to serve, to sacrifice, to lead, to protect, and to provide.  Work is a good thing for us in so many ways, but do we rest enough?
    2. We need rest to be at our best!  To battle well each day, we need rest (physical and mental), to feel rested and ready for what each day brings.  I don’t know about you, but very few of my days are a cake walk, I need to wake up ready to battle and hit the ground running!  If I’m not rested and ready, it’s a mess, and I’m in my flesh.  Half the time even when I am ready, it’s a tough challenge to live from my heart and not from my flesh!
    3. I don’t think this is rocket science.  Think about it, how well do you feel when you’ve worked a million hours and stayed up way too much?  Strung out, tried, used up, exhausted, moody, grumpy.  Compared to when you’ve had good rest; we are so much more positive and happy when we feel good and rested.  But yet, how often do we push ourselves past the point of exhaustion?  I know I have and do.  What lies do we believe that cause us to knowingly push ourselves past what we know we should?  Is what we are gaining or accomplishing really worth the sacrifice to how it affects us, and often more importantly those around us?  I know I have the power to breathe life into a room, or suffocate it, based on my mood.
      1. What kind of stuff keeps us from rest and sleep?  Work? Hobbies?  People? Stress/anxiety? Entertainment?  What lies are we believing and motivating us?
        1. My core lie is that I’m not good enough.  So it’s easy for me to hear reverberations of that in circumstances like, “If you don’t finish that project, you’re a failure.”  Or “if you don’t finish that project, people are going to think less of you.”  Or “I deserve to stay up late to watch this movie, it’ll make me happy, plus I’ve worked hard all week, I deserve it.”
    4. We need rest!  Real.  Quality.  REST.
    5. Our mission is to show the love of Christ to the world every day, that takes effort and energy, it does not always come so naturally for us, it takes intentionality and focus!  It’s easy to slip back into our flesh; this tension is moment by moment!  Loving God and loving our neighbor is not easy, it takes a lot from us to overcome our selfish flesh, to extent ourselves past ourselves for something greater, and we need to be rested in order to do it consistently well.
    6. 1 Peter 4:7b “Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.”
      1. Alert.  How alert am I when I’m exhausted and tired?  How weakened are my defenses when I’m tired???  I can definitely say I’m not at my best.
        1. I can always feel this most in the role of husband and of parent.  When I’m rested, I can put others first so much more effectively, I can see the needs of other more accurately and act to breathe life into them.  On the other hand, when I’m tired.  I expect everyone to “do it my way, or else.”  I have zero patience; I lose my cool and have no flexibility.  “Time out’s” are rampant as I try to control my boys so I can get my peace and quiet, or just allow myself to passively “chill out” because I deserve it.
      2. Sober.  There’s a thought.  Does being sober include being rested?  At first I would think not.  I assume we would all gravitate to Webster’s first definition of Sober: “Sparing in the use of food and drink; to not be drunk or addicted.”  Nope, no rest included there.
      3. But then listen to this other definition of sober from Webster’s: “Marked by an earnestly thoughtful character or demeanor.”  Wow!  Interesting.  How thoughtful am I in my character and demeanor when I am tired, stressed, and not getting my way?  Am I even thinking about my character or demeanor in those moments?  I wish I could answer yes all the time.
        1. Again, when I’m tired, I have so much less control of my mind.
      4. Or try this definition of sober from Webster’s: “Showing no excessive or extreme qualities of fancy, EMOTION, or prejudice.”  Again, wow!  When I’m tired, am I controlling my emotions?  Am I even half aware of the emotions I’m exhibiting?
        1. A lot of times, when I’m tired, I am much quicker to anger and my patience is gone.  Not very good control of emotions…
    7. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind.  Your enemy the devil prowls like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”  Again Peter emphasizes ALERT and SOBER!!!  We have to be rested and ready to battle well!!!
      1. I can certainly feel devoured/defeated when I look back at an evening at home with my family and I can replay those frustrated, selfish moments in my head where I was short, grumpy, and calloused towards my wife and kids; all because I was tired and not getting my way.  It’s pretty ugly, pretty embarrassing when I think about it.  I realize I miss so many opportunities to breathe life into my family when I’m knee deep in my tired flesh.
    8. Satan is constantly coming at us, he never stops.  He hates us! He is very opportunistic, he’s sneaky, and he’s going to wait until we are weakest/vulnerable to come at us full force. The enemy has an easier time having his way with us when we are H.A.L.T.ed.  H.A.L.T. is a common acronym in the counseling world, it stands for:
      1. Hungry
      2. Angry
      3. Loney
      4. TIRED
    9. TRIED, a big one.  For me it often leads to the other three, especially anger.  How well am I shining light to the world when I’m angry???  When I’m tired, I am so much quicker to anger and to be viewing the world through my selfish flesh lenses, I have less patience, forgiveness, grace, and understanding for others.  When I’m tired it’s all about me, how I feel, and how what everyone else is doing affects me!  When I’m tired, I have such a hard time “seeing” outside of my own head, outside of my own thoughts, and of my own emotions.
    10. If we are not rested, we will not be at our best.
      1. We won’t be able to be as present or self-monitor as well as we could.
      2. We won’t be the best employee we can be.
      3. We won’t be the best husband we can be.
      4. We won’t be the best father we can be.
      5. We won’t be the best friend we can be.
      6. We won’t be the best “light to the world” we can be.
    11. As we take on the responsibility of everyday life (work, family, friends, finances, relationship with God) and the responsibility of self-reflection to tackle the task of uncovering lies we believe, identifying wounds from our past and present, and exposing idols; let alone then doing something about them, we get tired.  That all takes an enormous amount of energy!!!  We need to take care of ourselves, we need to be disciplined.  We can’t always do it on our own!  We need support!
  2. The Answer:  It all comes back to balance and priorities, disciplining ourselves and our minds.  Are you making choices that align with God’s will for you and with how you want your life to operate?  Are you keeping God at your center?  Are you using your links of support?
    1. Leviticus 23:3 “There are six days when you may work, but the seventh day is a day of Sabbath rest, a day of sacred assembly. You are not to do any work; wherever you live, it is a Sabbath to the Lord.”
    2. Deuteronomy 5:13-14 “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns, so that your male and female servants may rest, as you do.”
      1. Are we so different from the Israelites of the Old Testament?
      2. This brings up an interesting point about rest.  The work week versus the Sabbath.  Do we work 150% all week and get four hours of sleep a night, all knowing we are going to catch up and get rejuvenated on Sunday?  Or is there still room to make good choices about rest throughout the week as well.
      3. Do you keep the Sabbath holy?  What defines work?  Can I do projects around the house on Sundays?  It’s not my real “work” or occupation is it?
      4. Until recently, I’ve always viewed the Sabbath as something optional.  But I am beginning to see the error of this type of thinking.
    3. On the other hand, we don’t want to become so obsessed with working too much or too hard that we avoid work, and become overly passive or lazy.  Proverbs 19:15 “Laziness brings on deep sleep, and the shiftless go hungry.”
    4. I don’t know how much rest we should get.  I think it’s different for everyone, we are each uniquely made in His image, but I do know it needs to be something we are meaningful about, something we need to be disciplined with.  It’s about being rested enough to be the best you can be, to be alert and of sober mind.
    5. Obviously sleep comes to mind when I think of rest.  But is sleep the only form of rest?  I don’t think so.  There have been times for me, where I am still, praying, listening to God, and I feel so refreshed, renewed, and rested.  Even if it was ten or fifteen minutes, that quiet time seems rejuvenating when I can really be quiet and focus on Him.  Other rest times for me can be just relaxing with Rachel, watching a movie on the couch, or one of my favorite traditions, watching the Lions on Sunday afternoons in my favorite comfy chair (ok, that may be more frustrating than restful, but you get the idea).
    6. But, sleep does probably provide the most common form of rest for us.  I think the standard suggestion from most of my reading has said we should be getting 8 hours a night.  Some newer research has even suggested 9 or 10.  Other articles I’ve read have alluded to the fact that we don’t make quality decisions and we can even act as if we are drunk when we get under 7 hours of sleep!
    7. I think it comes down to how you feel.  You have to be honest with yourself, analyze, and make a decision that is best for you and those around you.
    8. We have to be disciplined and intentional.  When we are tired, we have to fight that much harder against the enemy, and we have to be intentionally trying to even be aware of it.  Again, the discipline of the mid is so key!
      1. I have made some big changes in my family, mainly having to do with the Sabbath.  In the past, we would get up and go to church, and then it was “how much stuff can I get done around the house?”  I was constantly doing projects around the house on Sunday afternoons and evenings.  Now I have come to the conclusion for myself and my family that, those projects were work, work I needed to avoid on Sundays.  It was requiring physical and mental work from me.  I was not resting, recharging, or getting rejuvenated for the week.  I was wearing myself thin.  It wasn’t totally exhausted, but it was something more, much more than rest, that’s for sure.  So now Sunday’s are fully Worship and family days; a time to praise God, rest, reconnect as a family, and get ready for the work week.  Sometimes I still end up doing projects on Sunday, while trying to keep everything moving for the family I still end up sometimes doing work I’m not going to lie.  But I am doing way better about resting most Sundays now, a big improvement from the past
      2. Personally, over the last few months my wife and I have also made an intentional effort to go to bed earlier more often throughout the week as well.  I used to pride myself on bragging on how little sleep I got.  I used to think it was some kind of badge of honor or something, like it made me seem stronger or tougher for getting less sleep.  In college, I probably averaged 4-5 hours of sleep a night.  In our early marriage, I probably averaged 5 or 6 hours a night.  This fall, Rachel and I decided to try to get 8 hours a night.  We have been doing pretty good and getting around 7 to 8 hours a night.  IT HAS BEEN THE BEST DECISION!!!  I have noticed a drastic change in my behavior and internal though life.  I feel happier, more patient, more forgiving, more understanding of others, and just overall more present wherever I am.
        1. So, did I have to sacrifice anything to make these changes?  Of course!  I get a lot less of my projects done, but that’s ok.  I think God cares more about my heart and how I’m raising my family, than how my yard looks.  I’m getting to be “ok” with unfinished projects that I chip away at over the course of a week or two, instead of spending the whole weekend on it.  Chores don’t always get done immediately, so sometimes the house isn’t spotless.  I am an artist on the side, I definitely don’t paint as much as I used to.  Weeknight TV, not a priority anymore, and you know what; I don’t miss it at all!!!  I’ve had a lot of help and support around me to help me come to these conclusions, my link so of support.
  3. Link #1 God:
    1. Pray!  Ask Him to reveal to you how you are doing.  And listen to what he has to say and what He lays on your heart.
    2. God rested; He knew the importance of rest.  He modeled it for us.  Genesis 2:2-3 “By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”
    3. Consult God on the matter of rest.  He’s pretty clear about it.  In fact he addresses it in the 10 commandments!
      1. Exodus 20:10-11 “but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.”
      2. I really used to think this was optional.  And really, I often never even thought about it.  Sunday was a day of worship, but not a day of rest.  I just did what I wanted when I wanted.  As I have been recently trying more and more to fully observe the Sabbath, God has been blessing my efforts.  I am a work in progress, and I am constantly changing.  I am experiencing a lot of positives from listening well.  More energy and focus through the week.  Better patience and less frustration.  More family time and “oneness” with my wife.  I am so grateful for God’s guidance and patience with me!
    4. Hebrews 4:9-10 “There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God;  for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,  just as God did from his.”
  4. Link #2 Wife:
    1. Develop a shared family vision for how you want to address the area of rest.  TALK about it!  Decide what you want together!  How can you support each other and hold each other accountable to do this well together?
      1. Tell her your needs for rest.
      2. Ask her about her needs for rest.
      3. Discuss any potential changes in how you operate together.
    2. Guys, this is also a great opportunity for you to LEAD!  SUPPORT YOUR WIFE.  SHE BATTLES THIS SAME AREA IN HER LIFE!!!  What a great way to show her you love her and that you are there WITH her, guide her though being the best she can be by getting enough healthy rest!  Encourage her to have quiet still time, restful time, and good sleep.
    3. She hears all the same temptations and lies that you do, the same ones that tell her to stay busy, fill the calendar, and do it all!
    4. Develop a plan that you both agree on and help build that “oneness” God has for you.
  5. Link #3 Brothers:
    1. This is a great discussion point.  See what other guys are doing.  Learn from each other.  Who is thriving here?  Who else might be struggling?
    2. Maybe you do great here!  How can you support a friend who is struggling?
    3. Share what you and your wife have discussed.  Ask for accountability to hold you to building your marriage well.
  6. Questions to ponder:
    1. What does good quality rest look like for you?
    2. Can you think of a time when lack of rest caused you to fall, to sin, to hurt others, or miss out on showing Christ’s love to others?
    3. How do you treat the Sabbath?
    4. Reflect on this scripture for a month.  Read it daily.  What does it speak to you? Psalm 4:1-8

“Answer me when I call to you,
my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
have mercy on me and hear my prayer.

How long will you people turn my glory into shame?
How long will you love delusions and seek false gods
Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.

Tremble and do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
Offer the sacrifices of the righteous
and trust in the Lord.

Many, Lord, are asking, “Who will bring us prosperity?”
Let the light of your face shine on us.
Fill my heart with joy
when their grain and new wine abound.

In peace I will lie down and sleep,
for you alone, Lord,
make me dwell in safety.”

So, read and rest!  Reflect on your priorities and the balance in your life.  Lead yourself and your family well!  Fight for and protect your wife!  Share!  Talk with your friends about this topic.  See what people are doing around you.  Invite them into this discussion.

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