Episcopal minister and author David Zahl once quipped that the only way to sell sleep to Americans is to tell them it will help them work. It’s likely Americans aren’t the only ones that would fall for such a pitch. But even with the change of pace that the pandemic and its attendant lockdowns brought to the mercurial “work-life” balance, rest is hard to come by. Just ask anyone.

If you tuned in to last week’s Stop the White Noise with Rev. and Mrs. Fisk, you might have heard them discussing busy-ness, work, and stewarding leisure time. While claiming you are “too busy” can make you feel “important, sought-after and put-upon”, the Sabbath was made for man, not the other way around!

Of course, most American adults will tell you they could use more sleep, but an 2021 article in The Guardian suggests that we need seven different types of rest. Writer Emma Beddington took the advice of physician Dr Saundra Dalton-Smith and tried resting in all the different ways for a week. 

From the refreshment that physical activity can bring, to mental rest, Beddington outlines a few things she tried to help her combat what the Mad Christian would call “notification syndrome”. All those dings and pings can make everything sound urgent, scattering your concentration and leading to brain drain. Dr Dalton-Smith suggests we need “emotional rest” from people who drain us and “social rest” which is time spent with people who love and accept us. 

A “sensory rest” is probably one quite familiar to Mad Christians – we’ve written about it before (here and here) and listeners to Brief History of Power podcast will know that Dr Koontz and Rev Fisk are both fans of quietness! Having a creative outlet or hobby is another form of rest Dalton-Smith proposes as a good way to recharge. 

Finally, Beddington attempts the “spiritual rest” recommended by Dalton-Smith’s book. Beddington confesses she has “no faith” so the whole exercise amounts to a silent meditation with some Quakers. While she admits she feels she has more “in the tank” by the end, it is sad that she misses out on one of the most rest-inducing truths – that Christ died for her sins and calls the weary to come to him!

Knowing that Christ has risen and your debt is cancelled is the source of peace that passes understanding. Knowing he is coming again means the burden Jesus has given in exchange for our sin-weariness is something we can bear with joy. “You will find rest for your soul“. That is one type of refreshing that wasn’t on the list! It is only for known to those who are looking forward to the eternal rest purchased by our Savior’s blood, waiting for us in that glorious kingdom soon to come.

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