“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” Mark 6:31
There is a trifecta when it comes to fitness: exercise, nutrition, and rest. Many people highlight the prominent parts but often forget this equally important component to honoring your temple. Rest is one of the most fundamental commands in the Bible. It’s considered unproductive to take naps and rest, but it's not just for lazy people (although they seem to have mastered that aspect of a healthy lifestyle); like other gifts from God, we have a tendency to misuse what is good. Just like all of His gifts to us, there are so many benefits to physical, emotional and spiritual rest.
The Physical Benefits of Sleep
Physiologically, while you are sleeping your body is still working. For example, hormone regulation. While you slumber, hormones are regulating, allowing for muscle growth and development. Some hormones are helping to manage your appetite, letting you know when you are hungry or full. Other hormones are managing your stress and regulating your energy production sources, allowing you to be on top of your game and mentally alert. What else happens when you sleep?
- Tissue growth and repair
- Energy restoration
- Bolstered immune system
- Muscles relax, repair and grow
- Lowered heart rate and blood pressure
- Toxic metabolic byproducts removed from the brain
- Memories preserved
The Emotional Benefits of Sleep
You know how you are when you haven’t rested: you are unable to focus, stressed out, and some people may say that you’re not the brightest ray of sunshine. Sleep affects your emotional well-being. When we are well rested we: increase our ability to focus, lower stress, and become a bright light for God. Also, when you are low on energy you don’t want to exercise, and you are more likely to make poor eating decisions. I'm sure I am not the first person to remind you of the benefits of getting your recommended 6- 8 hours of rest daily. I am also certain that you know rest is needed in a fitness routine to repair and prepare your body effortlessly, so I'll move on to the often unrecognized third benefit of rest:
According to the Psalms 119:73, "Your hands made me and formed me; give me the understanding to learn your commands." God has created us, and he has also commanded us to rest (Gen 2:2-3). This is reiterated time and time again in the Bible. When defining rest, it doesn’t always mean physical sleep. When I speak of rest I am describing as a time to relax, recoup and renew yourself for what’s up next. This is the time to repair and prepare your body, mind, and soul. When we are resting in God, we are completely submitting all things, both physical and emotional, to God who can repair and prepare them for us.
In Matthew 11:28 it says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” God’s got this! He has allowed us to bring our unrest to Him and He will restore peace through grace and by our faith. When you have the spiritual peace that follows spiritually resting in the Lord, it allows you to make better decisions in all areas of your life. We need to surrender and relinquish to Him completely always. Resting in God is a source of restoration we will have in Christ for all eternity. So why are we going, going, going and never stopping to repair, replenish and restore? Let us physically, emotionally and spiritually rest in Him daily to prepare us for each of our days and honor our temple.