Remember when you were a kid and your parents made you take naps? You’d whine and complain because there are so many other fun things to do! Why would you want to sleep?! Those times seem so simple in comparison to life as an adult. Now we avoid (or are prevented from) resting for very different reasons.

Life gets crazy with things like working, studying, making sure your kid gets to that birthday party, shopping for groceries, paying bills; the list goes on and on. When our to-do list gets filled up, rest feels impossible or like a bad use of our time. But even though our duties are important, taking time to rest is never a waste.

God designed us to need rest. In fact, it’s all throughout the biblical story: God rested after creating the earth (Genesis 2:2); Jesus fell asleep on the boat during a storm (Matthew 8:24); Elijah slept and ate to prepare for the journey ahead (1 Kings 19:5-9). These are just a few examples of rest in the Bible, and two of them are God himself! And if the all-powerful Creator of the universe needs rest, we certainly do too.

Without it, we wouldn’t be able to do the work that God has for us. Just think about how you feel when you let all of your responsibilities take precedence over your rest. We feel so exhausted, we can’t even put effort into the things we need to do. In short, we’re burnt out. 

When we look at Elijah, we see that before he rested, he felt like this. He even begs God to kill him instead of making him keep going (1 Kings 19:4). He’d done so much, and had so far to go, it didn’t seem possible for him to continue on. But God wasn’t done with him yet. God saw that, in order to fulfill what he had for him, Elijah needed rest. So God let Elijah sleep and gave him food to replenish his body. Only after that was Elijah prepared to embark on his journey. 

God wants us to lean on him. Jesus even says: “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). We can’t do it all on our own strength, and that’s the point.

Only he can replenish our souls, remind us of what he’s done and can do, and get us ready for our next adventure. 

So what might rest look like on a daily basis? We’re glad you asked. We’ve included some ideas to help you get started. 


1. Delete email from your phone

Even when we’re at home, work always finds a way to grab our attention, especially when we’re constantly getting email notifications on our phones. Deleting email applications (or at least turning off notifications) can ensure that you won’t be drawn to do work while you’re resting and make you more present in your restful moments.


2. Read, or listen to, a book for fun

Reading is a great way to rest because it allows us to interact with something we enjoy. It pulls us away from our present reality and stresses and makes us focus on something new. It also lowers our heart rate and relaxes our muscles, relieving stress.


3. Take a short break between tasks

Taking short periods of rest might seem counterintuitive to getting work done, but it can actually make us more productive. Studies show that when we take breaks, it relieves stress, increases our energy levels, and lessens our need for longer recovery periods at the end of the day.


4. Use your vacation days

Setting aside time to be away from work can feel like a challenge, but it’s super important, especially when those short breaks don’t seem like enough. When we’ve been working hard, a longer recovery period is needed, even if it’s just one day. Just because they’re called “vacation days” doesn’t mean you need to go to a tropical place (although that sounds amazing); your vacation can be staying at home and making a delicious meal. 


5. Take a nap

Napping is sometimes hard for people who feel like they have too much to do. But it can actually help us do our work better and more efficiently. According to studies, napping improves our mood, memory, job performance, and lessens stress.