When I was a toddler, my mother taught me a little bedtime prayer: Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take. I'm still not sure what it was about the thought of dying in the middle of the night that was supposed to prepare me for sleep.
Mom would then "soothe" me by singing a lullaby about a baby in a cradle wedged in a tree that came crashing down when the wind caused the load-bearing limb to break. As a child I thought that surely, if I was going to die in my sleep that would be how.
And parents wonder why we're in therapy.
Our bodies, minds, even our souls crave times of peaceful rest. For our own health and well-being--not to mention the well-being of those around us--we need regular periods of calm and quiet. Not just at night as we sleep, but throughout our week.
For many in today's hectic culture, rest and relaxation are foreign concepts. We may want to make self-care a top priority, but caring for our bodies, de-cluttering our minds, and quieting our souls are often the first things scratched from our "To Do" lists when we get too busy.
Someone once said, “If the devil can’t make you bad he’ll make you busy.” Truth is, Satan can use our schedules as much as our sins to keep us from the kind of life our Creator longs for us to have.
Jesus once said, The thief comes to steal and destroy; I have come that (you) may have life, and have it to the full (Jn. 10:10, NIV).
The “full” life Jesus desires for us is a life characterized by deep and abiding peace. Peace that comes from accepting that God is control and we are not. Peace that results from knowing that we are loved by Him not for what we do, but for who we are. Peace that is only found in spending regular time in His presence.
A rubber band that is continually stretched to its limits will lose its elasticity. In time, it will develop hairline cracks and will eventually snap. So it is with our bodies, minds, and souls. For us to function at our optimum level and truly experience life to the full we must allow ourselves to rest, to regularly return to a natural, relaxed state.
In the book of Matthew Jesus offers us this invitation: Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. (Matt. 11:28-29, NLT).
Make that appointment. Write it at the top of your “To Do” list. Take the time to get away alone with Jesus. Find rest for your body, mind, and soul. And begin to experience life God wants for you--life to the full.