By Dr. Michael Layne
---- — Genesis 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.”
Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
The only grandpa I knew was a man who served in the 37th Division of the U. S. Army. He spent more than three years in the Pacific Islands during WWII for a total of 17 years in the military.
I once asked him why he didn’t finish out a full 20 years and he said, “Me and some of the others saw something coming along that would send all of us grunts back to the foxholes, and I had had enough of the war games.” Sure enough, Korea would soon be a conflict that would, once again, send our troops into hostile territory.
I thought the world of my grandpa; even though he was technically a step-grandpa, it really didn’t matter.
He was good to me, and I would sit for hours both listening to his stories and looking at the pictures he had brought back with him from the war zone. I also enjoyed looking at the Pictorial History of the 37th Division which is a large book. I have a copy of that book and enjoy looking through it from time to time.
I tell you all this to tell you that he had a liner he would sometimes use when telling someone his first name. He would say, “My name is Forrest and just remember the words ‘for rest’ cause that describes me; Forrest is for rest.”
It certainly stuck with me. Just as grandpa was “for rest,” each of us needs to learn the importance of rest and what it means. What is the meaning of rest? One dictionary says this: 1. Cessation of work, exertion, or activity.
2. Peace, ease, or refreshment resulting from sleep or the cessation of an activity.
3. Sleep or quiet relaxation.
4. The repose of death: eternal rest.
5. Relief or freedom from disquiet or disturbance.
6. Mental or emotional tranquility.
7. Termination or absence of motion.
Even God took time to rest following His days of creativity.
Whether you believe in God or, not, the lesson here is a great one to learn. Following hours or days of work it is necessary to cease from our labors and spend some downtime in order to refresh ourselves.
Most work schedules allow for a day or two off following several days of work. This helps us take a break from the rigors of work so that we, hopefully, will not experience burnout.
One of the greatest problems people have shared with me is their inability to slow down their thinking processes. The “rapid cycling” is when our brains are going in all directions with thought. Much of it is imposing upon us the thoughts of, “what if?” You know, what if I mess up on the job or, what if I can’t do what I am supposed to do?. The “what ifs” continue on and on. It is this process we must take a rest from.
It will mean slowing down, not focusing on the “what if” and understanding the need to take a much needed break from the mind pollution.
I have discovered that when thinking about something that has become troubling, if I take a break from thinking about the problem, it usually frees up my energies to discover the solution. The solution may be very simple, but the simplest solution may be well hidden by the clutter of the mind. So give yourself permission to take a break from it all and you may well be surprised how effective your life will become.
Get some rest. Give yourself permission to get some rest.
The Most rev. Michael Layne, PhD, ThD, is a Bishop in the Lutheran Orthodox Church and can be reached at 812-614-2160 or through www.doclayne.com. Layne will be guest pastor at St. John’s Lutheran Church Sept. 28, 29 and Oct. 5 and 6.