DisneyI am counting the days until we leave for a long-awaited family vacation. A friend at work asked me how long has it been since I had gone on vacation. I haven’t really taken one since I started at Bethel University, so she knew it had been awhile. My answer-5 years. I have taken a long weekend here and there, but my family has not gone on vacation in 5 years.

This last year there has been a lot of energy expended on my part for “work” and “teaching” whether at Bethel for teaching courses or opportunities to speak to groups about wounding and grace. This has all been exciting and fun. I didn’t feel stressed-at first. It’s funny how it sneaks up on you. What started out as lots of energy turned into exhaustion, anxiety and a sense of being overwhelmed. Have you ever done that to yourself? Have you said yes to a few too many things-things you really want to do-only to have all that enthusiasm turn on you?

A ten-year study showed that individuals who couldn’t manage their stress had a 40% higher death rate than the non-stressed folks (Deadly Emotions, by Don Colbert, MD, pg. 9). This same book also stated that chronic stress is linked to a long list of physical problems: heart problems, gastrointestinal problems, headaches, skin conditions, cancer, auto immune diseases and allergies (pg 27). That doesn’t leave room for much else. My body had started to show signs of stress. I was crabby and short-tempered with my family especially my children. I felt anxious. My weight was affected. The long “to do” list with deadlines had taken over my life. I was even scheduling time with my husband and kids, but not often enough for them or me.

In this scripture from Genesis, God rests. We are instructed to keep the sabbath in the ten commandments. I don’t think God meant work, work, work, take a week with your family and then work, work, work some more. We are called to rest in Him regularly-continually.

Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Genesis 2:3 NIV

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28 NIV

Daily taking time to pray and be with God lowers cortisol (the stress hormone)(Who Switched Off My Brain, Caroline Leaf, MD). We are physically designed to spend time with Him. I think it is so cool! He designed us in a way that what is physically and emotionally best for us is Him.
What He commanded, He created within us.

Vacation is going to be great. It will be a great time to strengthen our family. It will be a great time to rest my brain and not thin about a “to do” list. However, if I were doing a better job of resting in Him and weekly taking a sabbath, vacation would be icing on the cake rather than a desperate need.

Are you resting? Are you worn out? Share what you have learned about stress and rest. We are in this together.

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