Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rest vs. Sleep

There is a big difference between rest and sleep.

Both rest and sleep are necessary for the human body to operate properly. When you have had enough sleep your brain functions better, your immune system is on high alert, and your body is ready for a new day. You have to have sleep to live. 

Rest is spiritual. Rest is something you need too, everyday in some form or another. Rest creates a spiritual-emotional calm that lets your soul restore and your heart stop pounding. Rest revives your spirit so that you can be full, full of love, and open to tapping into God's good work. Without rest, we are drained. Without sleep, we are drained. They both are very important and most of the time they go hand in hand.

Lately, I have gotten enough sleep. All hectic, wild, adventurous summer, I have had (usually) enough sleep. What I have missed out on is rest so the result has remained the same- I am tired. 


When Joel and I were discussing vacations the other night we had to also discuss the difference between rest and sleep. It has come up before but at this time of recovery from crazy change we both realize we don't know how to vacation. Here we have defined them as something we do to get away from it all, people, work, duty, obligations, and just rest. That is it. However, when given a moment to choose how to spend some precious free time and go out of town, it has become like a reflex to start planning the most epic amazing adventure we can think of. Even imagining a weekend away together turns into camping in the Smokies and hiking for two days before making the 4 our drive back home. 

I so want to do that! BUT what I need is to rest and sleep. 

Do you find yourself doing the same thing? I really admire people, or better, am fascinated by people who go on vacation and lie on a beach for a week. I have never chosen to do that or have had the chance to do that. Our family vacations as a kid were always to visit our family on the amazing jungle of family land they own in Tampa. We'd swim and play while our parents would read and lounge on the dock for hours. That seemed so restful. Why didn't I inherit this ability to do that on a vacation? 


I believe it is clear, like all things worth doing, it will take practice to plan a restorative vacation for myself this summer. Jesus went up the mountain to be alone, time and time again. He prayed and he slept. What an amazing combo. He did that on purpose, he was modeling a life practice.

How do you use your free time? Do you vacation or do you adventure? Do you rest or do you only sleep?

As we head into the weekend, do you hear your spirit crying out for rest like mine is?