Why Rest Is Harder Than Work

I regularly fall asleep reading or writing. Most nights, Josh discovers me semi-propped up with too many pillows, the table lamp still on, an iSomething on my chest. He tucks me in, plugs in my electronics in to recharge and turns out my light.

Sounds like a teenager, doesn’t it?

I use my daily commute to dictate blog posts and book content. When I’m not working on my dream, I’m often thinking about it. And man, is there a lot to do!

I work hard because I want God to know I’m taking this whole dream thing seriously, and that’s good and all, but I have to admit sometimes I get a little compulsive in my work. As in, I don’t like to take breaks.

I’ve been wrestling with the delicate balance between work and rest for a long time, like in this post here, as well as my tendency to be a worker-bee over a fatalist, which isn’t necessarily better, I might add.

But I am slow to learn this lesson so I’m writing about it again to remind me.

As I cleaned up my kitchen this afternoon, I fought with the call to rest. I still need to finish my DIY projects for the nursery. I have many chapters still unwritten in my book, but I know if I could just sit down today, I could scratch out a chunk of them.

But my eyes are burning with exhaustion, and my body is tired. God reminds me to rest: “Rest, my dear, is a discipline. And it is harder than work.” Maybe he didn’t say it exactly like that, but it’s the message I got.

Rest, my dear, is a discipline.

And it is harder than work because rest requires trust, and it is not in your nature to trust.

I remember God’s call to the Israelites to rest once a week, and in every seventh year, to give their land a rest as well. In the desert, they couldn’t gather extra manna on one day to save up for future. They were given just enough for each day. They had to trust there would be more tomorrow. 

Trustfall

The two lessons on rest taking root in my heart are these:

1. There will always be enough for today. Enough grace, enough energy, enough time and resources, enough space for rest for just what we need to do. There is enough for today, but as soon as I start stressing about what I will do tomorrow or how I will get it done, I am not operating from that day’s grace. No wonder I’m stressed.

2. Rest is not laziness – rest is a trust fall. I believe that if I keep working and working, I will achieve my goals, and my dreams will come true. But my ceaseless, compulsive labors leave God out and put all the pressure on me. With a God-sized dream like mine, and hopefully yours, we can’t afford to leave him out. It was his idea to begin with.

Do you struggle with resting too? How do you keep the discipline of rest, if you do? Share in the comments below.

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3 thoughts on “Why Rest Is Harder Than Work

  1. I’ve been “working” on this, too. I find I feel closer to the Lord when I admit my weakness and need for rest, rather than working myself into the ground. Lately, at the end of every workday, I ask Him how He wants me to relax that evening. He has all kinds of good ideas! Also, when I really enjoy something and think, “I’d like to do this every day!” I pay attention to that. As I read somewhere on the web the other day, “When your heart speaks, take notes.”

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