I don’t know about you, but the holiday season is often a season of busyness for me, not one of rest. I spend my time running from holiday parties to Christmas pageants and special concerts with almost every evening accounted for in my calendar. Any time that’s not spent in an activity is for recovering from one event to be ready for the next. But that doesn’t constitute actual rest. 

Why should we rest? 

If you are a Christian, the Bible actually gives us a mandate for resting. God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh day: “Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:3). Therefore, the Israelites are later commanded in Exodus to remember this day and keep it holy. For “the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work” (Exodus 20:10). God does not have the need to rest like we do. But He values rest as a good thing and sets the example that we should follow. 

From the standpoint of the Servant Leadership tools, we also need to rest so that we can learn and adjust as a part of the ALA (Act/Learn/Adjust) process of the Path. If you are going all the time and never stop to assess if what you are doing is working, you can very easily get off the Path and stop pursuing your There unintentionally. You can only get There through intentional actions and continual assessment of your Here. You need to build the bandwidth for your brain to take a break into your schedule in order to be able to stay on track. 

What does resting look like? 

Mindlessly scrolling on your phone isn’t actual rest. And while sleep is an important part of rest, it is not all that is required. 

Rest necessitates a stopping of work, yes. But the work should not be replaced with something mind numbing. Rather, replace it with something that is soul filling. What this thing is will depend on what you’re passionate about and what brings you joy. 

It could involve sharing a meal with a close family member or friend. Or maybe engaging in a favorite hobby. But keep in mind that this won’t be the same for everyone. Going on a hike might be relaxing for one person but nerve-inducing for another. Or practicing a musical instrument might be mentally exhausting for one person but stress relieving for another. It’s less about following a formula and more about finding what works for you. 

Although it may come across as another thing to add to your already growing to-do list, resting should not feel like something that you need to check off. Resting isn’t one more thing that you need to get done. Rather, it is the thing that allows you to accomplish the rest of your tasks and activities with presence and accuracy. 

We rest to get the rejuvenation we need to continue on the Path toward our There. But we also rest for resting’s sake to seek enjoyment in doing things we love with those that we love. This holiday season, take the time to seek out intentional periods of rest with loved ones amid the busyness. 

Gracie McBride is the Content and Systems Management Coordinator for The Crossroad.