Finding Rest From Your "Rest"
When I was in school I would have to take regular breaks from studying to rest so I could have the energy and focus to get back to the grind of reading, writing papers, and going to class. My primary form of rest was watching TV shows. I powered through Lost, Arrested Development (multiple times), Breaking Bad, and many others. This was the first time that I began to take advantage of media streaming platforms like Netflix and I loved it! (I, of course, didn’t pay for it myself, but used my brother’s account. Who really pays for Netflix?). I could just watch episode after episode and relax. My last semester I started to allow myself a window every Saturday from 5pm until bed where I would not burden my mind with thoughts of school, but would just rest, which always consisted of hours of TV watching and eating food that was terrible for me. I would engage in something mindless to allow myself to rest from my work and to energize me to go back to work.
It seems to me that for many people rest is synonymous with engaging in mindless activities like watching TV shows and movies, getting on social media, and playing video games. We are stressed by work and the responsibilities of life and feel we need to relax and veg out. There is nothing inherently wrong with any of these forms of media and technology. But they, like anything else, can become sinful when our motivation in going to them, what we glean from them, and how much time we spend on them are not in accordance with our calling as disciples of Jesus who are to be growing in holiness and engaging in the mission of God. Even good gifts from God can be sinful when they pull us away from God and/or take God’s place on the throne of our hearts.
As we go to these mindless activities for rest we need to ask ourselves if they are truly successful at helping us rest. Why do we rest? What does the Bible tell us about rest? What constitutes true rest? And what should we do to rest the way God desires us to rest?