The Difference Between Rest and Sleep

Sleep is good.  Most people probably don’t get enough of it.  I am fortunate enough to be a good sleeper and to have a schedule that allows me sleep but this weekend I realized that I was exhausted.  I was getting enough sleep and I was still exhausted.  This didn’t really make sense to me until I started contemplating the difference between sleep and rest.

We’ve probably all experienced the nights where you know that you’ve slept but wake up feeling more tired that when you first lay down.  Sleep is good but it doesn’t guarantee rest.  And with everything going on in my life currently, I have been sleeping but definitely not resting.  Even the time that I have taken with friends and family is not restful because my mind is keeping track of all the things that have to be done, all the tasks that have yet to be completed and all the time it is going to take.  I don’t have any days where I don’t check my email, respond to work requests, organize, plan, etc.  Keeping up with paperwork is a part-time job in itself.  Add to that my moving schedule, packing, settling in and driving.  Mix in relationships with friends and family that sometimes blur the lines between work and recreation.  Then of course there are the speaking engagements which require forethought and planning.  I’m continually writing about Australia, researching Australia and praying for Australia.  Sprinkle in the expectations that come from my support raising deadlines and the pressure of asking for money from family, friends and strangers.  And all this jumbled together makes overwhelming seem like an understatement.

So I give up.  Just kidding.  I’m not throwing in the towel because despite everything, I LOVE what I do.  I love that my job is people, no matter where I happen to be or what part of the process I am currently wading through, it is about people.  There are of course aspects of the job that I don’t enjoy as much but there is so much good variety that I really have nothing to complain about.  I get to learn, live and love, all for the sake of the kingdom.

But I need rest in order to do this well.  I know that my to-do list will never be completed, just constantly changing.  There is always something else that should, could and probably eventually will get done.  However, I have to prioritize and stop beating myself up over artificial deadlines.  And so for the sake of rest I am now taking one day a week off.

Sundays are suppose to be a day of rest but unfortunately if you are in ministry, even when you have no direct responsibilities, Sundays are not restful.  They can be enjoyable and worship can be inspiring but not restful.  And during the rest of the week, I know that sometimes even when I didn’t focus for a day on work, I was still beating myself up for all the things I could do, and I would sneak any time I had to check email or update something or just respond to one last request.  That’s not restful either.

So the new plan is sanctioned by my boss.   And each week, I will find in my schedule one day to do no work and to rest.  Rest can have many different faces so I’m not sure what I will do but I know some things I will not do.  I will not check email.  I will not make a ‘quick’ work-related phone call.  And I will have the freedom to say to anyone, “This is my day off, could we meet/we talk about this/I get back to you tomorrow/another day.”  This also means that if my day off falls on my blogging day and I don’t set one up to post the day before, it will just have to wait.

I realize that as lovely as this sounds, I am not sure how easy this will actually be.  But for the sake of rest and my sanity, I will try.  Sleep is good but rest is so much sweeter.  This is going to be totally worth it!

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3 thoughts on “The Difference Between Rest and Sleep

  1. Oh how much I agree!! I sleep a lot, much more than most people, since I was sick! 10-14 hours on some days and get up for a few hours and sometimes, not always am so very tired that I go back to bed and sleep another 2-3 hours! I just can not believe this! I used to have so much get up and gooooo!But the good news is that God decided to keep me around for some good reason, shorter hours to be useful but I am still here and trying to make the most of it..Thank you Lord!!

  2. Smart lady, Joy! Also, your boss is smart! That’s way God gave us a ‘rest’ day! You can pick a diff. day than Sun. xo xox o God’s Blessings, xo xo xo

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