337) The Importance of Relaxation

From Randy Alcorn’s blog at http://www.epm.org/blog   February 21, 2014

     Like jackrabbits on a hot tin roof, some of us are never still—always doing, always going.  We strive to justify our worth by creating motion.  Do the laundry, plant the flowers, wash the floor, attend the meeting, make the phone call, plan the dinner… all worthwhile activities if we also stop long enough to breathe and think and grow and relax.

     Paradoxically, in an age of more leisure time, we take very little in a leisurely way.  We vigorously pursue our leisure time activities, turning play into work.  Remember when you were a child, how hours at a time were lost in the joy of play—discovering trees and trails and caterpillars and the new friend on the block?  Kids don’t need to justify playing.  It is its own justification.

     But as adults, we’re tyrannized by the ticking of the clock.  We frantically wrestle with life instead of sitting back to enjoy it.  Even our vacations are planned with the precision of a military maneuver (men are particularly guilty here).  “We’ll relax and have fun beginning tomorrow morning at 6 a.m. when we pack the car and hit the freeway.  We will then drive five hundred miles, stopping only for gas, food, and emergency bladder failures, and we will make every effort to synchronize these events.”  And we wonder why we and the kids get cranky on vacations!

     Feeling guilty about relaxing is self-defeating, isn’t it?

     The auto-maker never intended your car to run day and night, accelerator to the floor.  Your Maker never intended you to go nonstop either.  In fact, one of the Ten Commandments—right up there with no false gods, no murder, and no adultery—is a divine mandate to quit working and get regular rest (Exodus 20:8-11).

     God doesn’t just permit or recommend rest—He commands it.  Refusing to relax is not only unhealthy, it’s disobedient.  So this weekend, take time to relax.  And relax in the knowledge that doing so is God’s very best for you and your family.


Exodus 20:8-11  —  Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God.  On it you shall not do any work…  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.  Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Psalm 62:5-6  —  Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him.  Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.

Matthew 11:28  —  (Jesus said), “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”


Show us your ways, O Lord, and teach us how to walk in your paths.  Guide us in your truth and teach us, for you are our God and Savior, and our hope is in you.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.