Scientists say that rest and productivity are partners that work together to create the whole output product of life. I’ve heard this partnership described as being different parts of a wave: you can’t have the high without the low. The better you are at resting, the better you’ll be at working. We’ve figured out the productivity part
of this equation (and maximized, optimized, and boosted it into overdrive). But resting and resting well? What does that even mean?
Restful activities that are vigorous and mentally engaging are often the most restorative because they offer a complete break from our normal working lives. This is why, after a long hike, I will usually feel physically exhausted but mentally exhilarated. I might have worked out a complicated problem on the hike or experienced the spark of inspiration for a new project or idea.
Some of the most creative and hardworking people spend intense bursts of energy focused on their work, but much of their time is spent engaging in restorative rest. Winston Churchill took up painting and bred butterflies. Maya Angelou meditated and did breathing exercises. Restful activities are also why there was a sudden yeast shortage at the beginning of the pandemic and your neighbor was ding-dong-ditching sourdough bread at your doorstep.
It’s always been difficult for me to picture God having a couch potato kind of day, lounging on a cloud, binge-watching the next episode of “Real World: Humanity.” But, imagining God engaging in restorative rest—the kind that rejuvenates and reinvigorates—is something that my loves-to-cook, goes-for-runs, Saturday-morning-
yoga-loving soul can get behind.
What does restorative rest mean to me? Am I honoring my Creator and myself by making space for that balance in my life?
God, help me to take a break when I need it. And when I do take a break, bless that time of rest. Amen.