Do you like the ON DEMAND feature of pressing the pause button? The option of recording your favorite show so you can watch it later. In the middle of watching a movie and you start craving popcorn or ice cream and you are able to press the pause button so you don’t miss anything as you walk to the kitchen. You hear a movie quote, or a cool scene that you have to back up and watch again. You’re in an intense moment in the movie, eyes and ears are glued to the screen, and all of a sudden someone comes walking loudly in the room! You can’t hear the dialogue in the movie for the disruption. You press the pause button so you don’t miss the scene. Our life can be full of distractions.
Taking time to rest and reflect is like pressing the pause button on the ON DEMAND controller. If we are not careful we can be so overloaded by the “noise” of life; we can miss the opportunities to pause, think and reflect on what is going on around us. It is important to pause and think deeply about the importance of the people in your life.
Things are not meant to keep producing, growing and running non-stop. Winter is a season for things to reset & rest. Trees take a break from producing and growing during the winter. Even bears go into a level of hibernation during the winter! They are able to sleep for up to 100 days without eating, drinking or passing… ugh… waste!
Our vehicle cannot run non-stop without it eventually shutting down and blowing the engine. The vehicle will run out of gas, the oil will eventually break down and lose its properties to lubricate the engine properly. The wheel bearings and tires will eventually wear without proper maintenance.
My point is most things in life need to pause to take a break. They need to rest and renew. So do YOU. Our bodies and minds are not meant to keep going at the same level of pace all the time.
Listen MOM. Put down the mop. Let the dishes pile up for one day. You don’t have to sweep the floor and fold the laundry everyday. You must put in your weekly schedule a routine, a time for you to press the pause button so you can rest, reflect and renew.
Dad… You too. You cannot work two jobs, constant overtime, 10 to 12 hour days without a system in place for you to rest, reflect and renew. Our performance for our jobs, relationships at home and abroad will not be at its optimum level.
Leaders, CEO’s, doctors, nurses, team members, managers, teachers, pastors, ministry leaders, … we need you and we want to keep you around for a long time. We don’t want you breaking down or blowing an engine. I’m urging you to make it a priority to schedule a weekly routine to rest, reflect and renew.
Determine Your Levels of Rest
How can you pace yourself for better performance and success without burning out? You are probably like me; we have a full schedule every week. Multiple responsibilities. We cannot afford to “take off” 100 days like a bear or the whole winter season. In fact, disengaging for a long period of time is detrimental to our relationships, parenting, career, as well as our emotions, body performance and mental capacity. That’s another lesson for another time. I want us to think about our system, procedure or habits of how we rest. We must evaluate how much daily, weekly and yearly rest we need.
Yearly rest can be a week or several days of vacation each year. If your company does not give you paid vacation days, take advantage of holiday weekends that do not require you to miss work. Yearly rest is where you plan to take more than three consecutive days off. You can plan and budget a trip or just plan a “staycation”. Stay home and rest. Set an instant return message on your emails and phone to let your clients and team know that you are taking a vacation. You will return their call or email when you return from your vacation. While you are taking this time to rest, make it priority to truly unplug from your job and rest your mind and renew your spirit. This time is an opportunity for you to think about all the blessings in your life. Be grateful for what God has given you. Appreciate family, friends, relationships, provision and your purpose.
Weekly rest may be an entire day or half a day. This is where you “unplug” for a short period of time. Put away the phone. Get with friends or family and have FUN! Don’t bring up work, issues, and problems. Go watch a movie, play some board games, go to dinner, go hiking, canoeing, golf, skiing, fishing, shopping. Laugh, cut up, smile, enjoy each other’s company and live in the moment. This level of rest can be weekly or once every two weeks.
Daily rest includes your daily amount of sleep and a quiet time for reading, reflection and prayer. Most people need 7 to 8 hours of sleep each day. Prepare your bedroom and your brain for good quality sleep. Shut or silence phone notifications that may beep or cast a blue light through the night. Your brain will pick up lighting changes and sounds, while you are sleeping. Read a book before you sleep. A devotional and Bible is a great way to bring peace and relaxation to your mind and emotions.
3 Ways to Rest, Reflect & Renew
Developing a habit to rest and reflect will help you bring renewal to your mind, emotions and body. This routine is like reenergizing your batteries. It’s like refueling and providing preventive maintenance on your vehicle. A constant habit to rest will prevent you from not just burn out, it will keep you performing at a high level of creativity, passion and focus to reach your goals and desires for success in every area of your life.
- Rest & Read. Schedule a quiet time in your day that you will read something that will be beneficial for personal and spiritual growth. What doesn’t get scheduled doesn’t happen. Set the atmosphere that is conducive for reading and reflecting. What do you like? What do you enjoy? What relaxes you? Drinking coffee or hot tea in the morning? Sitting on the deck watching the sunrise or sunset? Playing worship, jazz, classical music on a low volume as background music? Pure silence? Prepare the moment. Your brain and emotions will anticipate and crave these quiet moments of rest.
- Reflect by writing in a journal. Express what you are reading, learning, how you are applying new principles, where you find joy, what areas you feel fulfilled. Write creative thoughts that come to you. Quotes that touch your heart and soul and express a deep truth. You can journal business ideas, ideas for inventions. Poems or songs may come to you in this time of reflection. Don’t be surprised when answers and solutions become clear for certain problems you are facing. Reflect on what is making your relationships healthy. Evaluate your priorities, are you reaching your goals, do you need a “tune up” or preventive maintenance in any of these areas?
- Renew your mind, soul and spirit. When you feel like life is spinning out of control; schedules and to-do list are increasing, I have found one small action has helped. Take time to get quiet. Get still. Press pause on life and give time for your mind and emotions to calm. I discovered something years ago that I love. Its one very simple way that brings quick rest and peace to my mind. On a warm June day in Tennessee, I was a young boy lying on my back in the middle of a grassy field. As I’m gazing into the sky, I notice a slight summer breeze that seemed to push and squeeze the clouds that looked like huge cotton balls. I was amazed as I watched the clouds begin to press together and form bigger clouds. As the clouds scrolled, the deep blue sky and spotless white clouds were intensified. As I’m watching this amazing scene, I realized how calm, relaxed and at peace my mind and emotions settled over me. I love God’s creation. I love how taking time to appreciate nature and God’s creation seems to bring rest and renewal to my soul. There is something so peaceful about taking quiet moments to gaze at the mountains, walking in the woods, staring into the bright blue sky or a starry night. Don’t underestimate the power of pressing pause throughout your day so you can embrace creation, nature, and the meaningful relationships in your life. Find a park and take a walk. Find a trail in the woods and embrace the sights and sounds of God’s nature. While you are in your quiet time, meditate on scripture, talk with God; thank Him for His creation and the blessings in your life. You will find this small step of pressing pause will bring clarity to your mind, calm your emotions and renew your spirit.
You may think you have to quit, you don’t have the strength to continue on, but what your body and mind may be telling you is develop a habit to frequently press a pause to rest, reflect and renew. I believe you will find renewed strength, energy and passion.
Isaiah 40:31 (NASB) Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary.