How To Assess Your Rest

Sheryl Jacob   |   July 5, 2022 

It took a recent holiday with my family to see how much I needed a break from the day-to-day hustle of life. I did not realise how emotionally spread out I was. I felt like I needed a vacation from my vacation to try and find my life rhythms back. I don’t know about you, but I rarely feel rested when I return from a vacation.  I kept asking myself what needed to change in my daily routine to avoid these exhaustion patterns.

We live in a clangorous world demanding our attention in more ways than we can respond. We respond in two ways. When our bodies are overworked, we either over function or we under function.

Sadly, there have been numerous times that I have thought, “I can’t just waste time sitting here. Maybe God meant for me to take a break from my “normal” work and do something different.” If making to-do lists was a viable recreation, then sign me up! Unfortunately, I have even treated productivity like a sport. I try to beat my previous record of tasks achieved in one day.

For many of us, resting somehow ends up curling up on the couch and vegging out in front of our screens to avoid feeling or unplugging from reality for a few minutes. We rinse and repeat, completely ignoring the check engine light going off on the dashboard of our souls.

Whichever one you are, why is this so? Why is resting so hard?

Part of the answer is that we live in a world that teaches us that we are human doings and not human beings. Our present culture glorifies productivity and taking a day off work sounds nonsensical. Somehow our value and identity are connected to our performance, like hamsters on a wheel that can’t halt. We need to keep going, and if you take time to rest, you are either slothful or inadequate. If you define rest, it simply means to cease working and relax. However, as followers of Christ, we get to rest by reminding ourselves of our limitations and that the Father sees us and invites us to come to Him.

Finding rest is not as easy as it sounds. It requires us to slow down and self-examine.

A great place to start would be to try and target your exhaustion. Here is a simple assessment that helps you to identify your fatigue. According to Dr. Saundra Dalton-Smith, she has found there are seven types of rest.  I have added additional questions to help assess where you are in this season.  As you read this, assess yourself on a 1-10 scale. Imagine this scale to look like your car petrol tank.

Where do you feel in each of these areas?

1 ---------------------------------------------------- 5 --------------------------------------------------- 10

 

1= “I am completely running on empty” - (high burnout)

5= “I am hanging on” – (moderately burnout)

10= “My tank is full. I feel refreshed!” – (no burnout and recharged)

 

  1. Physically – Are you sleeping well? Are you exercising? Are you eating healthy? Are you getting adequate sunlight?
  2. Mentally – Are you struggling with mental fog? Are you focusing too hard and struggling to remember information? Is your mind racing with the endless tasks on your to-do list?
  3. Emotionally – Have you been pouring into other lives that you feel compassion fatigue? Do you feel burdened by the current events and the continuous news that bring grief?
  4. Sensory – Are your senses stimulated by all the sounds, smells, or things you see around you?
  5. Creative – Does your career or school demand you to be creative and think outside the box? Do you feel like there is a block in your mind that you can’t develop new ideas?
  6. Relationally – Are you frequently around people? Are you expected to conduct meetings or host gatherings?
  7. Spiritually – Do you feel your soul is at rest? Do you read your Bible? Do you pray and talk to God? When was the last time you heard the Father’s voice?

Once you recognise which areas are on the scale of 5 and under, ask yourself, what needs to change in those areas for you to feel recharged? Can you identify one change you need to make in each area for this week?  Take a few minutes in silence and invite the Holy Spirit into those specific areas and ask Him to change us and refresh us.

Resting reminds me that my worth is found in Christ alone and what He has done, not in my misplaced confidence in what I can achieve.  He makes me okay, not my accomplishments or lack of.

Although these are some suggestions to help manage some of the depleted areas, ultimately, true soul rest happens when our strivings rest in response to the finished work of Christ. True rest is not merely the absence of work; it fills our souls with Jesus’s presence. True rest is taking the invitation of Christ to unburden your soul before Him.

Matthew 11:28 reads: “Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.”

Where do you see Jesus’s invitation to rest?

 

Photo by Verne Ho on Unsplash

 

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Sheryl Jacob

Sheryl Jacob is a follower of Jesus, wife to Sujith, and mom of 3 (Elijah, Ezra and Anaya). She is also a Marriage and Family Therapist. She thoroughly enjoys hosting competitive game nights, listening to podcasts and is passionate about teaching Therapeutic workshops. Sheryl is now a Third Culture Adult serving Jesus through Cornerstone Church Mumbai, India.

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