You May Be Sleeping, but Are You Resting?
You May Be Sleeping, but Are You Resting?
Is it harder to focus? Are you feeling more tired? Are you going to bed later, finding it harder to fall asleep or sleeping less? You’re not alone. Our routines have been decimated by the pandemic. In a recent survey, 76.8% of participants reported that the Coronavirus outbreak has affected their sleep.
HelpGuide, states “the global coronavirus pandemic has changed much about our lives in the last few months, and that includes our sleeping patterns. Isolation, loss of work, economic and health worries, and disruption to your work, school, and home life can increase stress, anxiety, and depression. These in turn can play havoc with your quality of sleep.” We are sleeping less, working more hours at work and home just to stay “caught up.” The National Sleep Foundation tells us that our “body needs both sleep and rest.”
What’s the difference? If you’ve had a sick child or been with a loved one in a hospital room, you know the difference. The slightest movement, moan or cough is usually enough to wake you. You close your eyes, and maybe doze, but you aren’t resting. Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith (Shine, 2020) says “if you're waking up (after sleeping) and are still exhausted, the issue probably isn’t sleep. It’s likely a rest deficit." She states that to feel recharged humans need physical, mental, social, creative, emotional, spiritual, and sensory rest.”
We are made of the “spirit, soul, and body” (1 Thessalonians 5:23). The soul represents our psyche or mental and emotional qualities (feeling, consciousness, thinking, etc.), the body, described as the temple that houses the Holy Spirit, represents the physical existence, and the spirit represents our life-force, provided by and returning to God (Ecclesiastes 12:7). “Rest involves your whole being, not just your body” (Advent Health, 2019).
By the time we’re ready for bed, our body, soul, and spirit are tired. This tiredness creates an imbalance in between the spirit, soul, and body. Our burdens (anxiety, fear, isolation, illness, sleep deprivation, etc.) weigh us down. We worry about our fears, concerns, expectations, etc. creating a never-ending loop. We worry so we can’t sleep, we can’t sleep so we worry. But rest is about more than sleep, it’s about finding “peace.” Peace for the soul, rest for the body, and renewal for the spirit. This “peace” can only be received as a gift from God. Philippians 4:7 (VOICE) tells us:
“And know that the peace of God (a peace that is beyond any and all of our human understanding) will stand watch over your hearts and minds in Jesus, the Anointed One.”
Jesus was very intentional in resting. When His body was tired, He slept (Mark 4:35-38). When His soul needed rest, He sought the love of friends and family, maybe even at a party (John 21-12). When His spirit needed rest, He unplugged from everything and everybody, and sought God through prayer (Luke 5:16, Mark 1:35).
Leadership requires caring. You simply can’t care for others if you don’t care for yourself. Author Eleanor Brown says, “self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.” Leaders know caring also means protecting the rest of others. In Mark 6:31-32 (MSG), Jesus defends the disciples’ need for rest:
“Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.”
In contrast to Jesus’ model, a recent survey reports “the vast majority of managers in the United States indicated they would contact their employees outside of work hours.” It seems that the adage is true, “there is no rest for the weary.”
The body, soul, and spirit require different, though at times overlapping, actions for rest. Caring begins collaboratively with setting boundaries and taking action to achieve rest; but let’s acknowledge that leaders have a greater responsibility to respect the rest of followers. Unless it’s an emergency, employees should be free to experience their time off. Leaders that call or email employees place an undue pressure for employees to respond, even if not intended. Self-care includes:
- A balanced regimen to meet the body’s demands, including include proper nutrition, sleep, and exercise. Regular check-ups are needed (medical, dental, etc.) to address any underlying medical conditions.
- Unplug regularly. Leave behind the internet, social media, and other distractions. Get outside, immerse yourself in God’s creations. You’ll enjoy the uninterrupted time and learn to appreciate nature.
- Kira Bridges says “when we don’t take time to rest with God, we will feel incomplete, and our spirit becomes restless, longing for the missing piece.” Jesus shows us that achieving spiritual peace means aligning ourselves to God’s will. Spiritual rest requires discipline, it’s easy to neglect with so many demands on our time. Equally important is to surrender your worries to God. 1 Peter 5:7 (TLB) says:
“Let him have all your worries and cares, for He is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.”
Challenge: Let’s continue our discussion concerning our need for rest. Please share what you do to rest your body, soul, and spirit. Your comments may the tool that God uses to bless someone that needs balance in their lives.
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