As the world seems to move faster than ever, many of us are trying to keep pace. We ratchet items off to-do lists only to find more to get done the next day. We’ll rest later, we say, when we’ve accomplished everything on that never-ending list. Only when we reach the brink of exhaustion and overwhelm, or literally make ourselves sick, do we consider stopping.
While we may falsely believe that we’re more valued for what we achieve, rest reminds us how precious we are because we’re God’s Beloved Creations. Resting and renewing ourselves is the part of our spiritual practice which assures us that we’re divine human beings, not robotic human doings.
So, as we work our practice, let’s give all these a rest:
- Our Bodies: Some of us need the recommended 8 hours of sleep a night. Others function well with 6 or 7, and an afternoon nap. Whether we’re early birds or night owls, we can notice when we accomplish the most during the day and schedule our high-energy efforts for those times.
- Shoulds: Society has all kinds of ideas about what we “should” have and do. These tiring norms can keep us living by perfectionistic standards and following outrageous trends. As soon as we choose to stop “shoulding” on ourselves, we start recognizing our own true nature, the essence of our spiritual self. Then we can set our own criteria for effectiveness and contentment, even if they differ from others.
- Phones and Smart Devices: Blue lights are meant to draw attention. At least one hour before bedtime, put away all devices, preferably somewhere outside the bedroom. Then, wait about an hour after waking to return to them again. Consider scheduling device-free times for prayer and meditation.
- News, Information, and Feeds: Stop watching or listening to news, checking the latest tweets, or searching for online bargains at bedtime. Rather than relax us, these rev our hearts and send our minds swirling. Save news and searches for higher energy times. Also, consider scheduling specific times mid-day to check social media sites.
- Worry and Guilt: Worry is trying to foresee every detail of how the future will unfold. Guilt is trying to rewind and relive the past. Both prevent us from being fully present and feeling peace of mind now. Whenever these creep in, especially at bedtime, we can remind ourselves that we did the best we knew how before, and since we know more now, we can act differently to create a better future.
No matter what needs rest in our lives, let’s remember that no one accomplishes or has it all. And the beauty of developing spiritual maturity is realizing that who we are and what we have is enough. As we stay faithful to our own journey, we recognize our true desires and top priorities. Then, we can rest in peace, savoring each day’s success.
© 2019 – Rev. Jennifer L. Sacks. All rights reserved.