By Brandon Ramsey
At first glance this might seem like one of those articles that you want to cut out and slip into your wife’s favorite nighttime read as a bookmark. Just to make sure she does not skim over and miss the great insight it might disperse. Or maybe it should be framed above that boat to serve as an excuse for those long relaxing weekend retreats with the boys. But make sure you read it fully before you get too excited.
Doing nothing and resting is not only biblical but essential for your and your family’s mental health, if it is used correctly and at the right time. In these days of dance recitals, tournaments, traveling teams, school projects, practices, and other extracurricular activities, it is hard to catch your breath. That goes for both kids and parents. We can get so wrapped up in all these activities that we forget to take time for our bodies and minds to replenish.
The human body will not tolerate this type of pressure for long. An interesting thing happens to your emotions when your body is exhausted. They also malfunction. The mind, body, and spirit are very close neighbors. When one gets sick the others catch it as quick as a room full of kindergarteners. We find ourselves questioning why we are so rundown and depressed. Sometimes we have many reasons to be happy: a new child, success at work, progress on a project, or children excelling in things that will benefit their future. So why are we rundown? Because our depleted physical condition greatly affects our mental status.
These three departments of our intellect (mind, body, and spirit) are tightly linked. They tend to move up and down together. That is why it is so important to maintain and support what Dr. James Dobson refers to as “The Triad.” If one breaks down the entire human engine starts to sputter.
It is important to rest not only for defense against depression and exhaustion, but it also improves our output over the long run. Many Americans have been force-fed the idea that longer hours and more activities are the only way that we can produce enough output to be recognized as beneficial. I believe Charles Spurgeon’s story about rest refutes this way of thinking better than I ever could. He told a story of a Landscaper taking his time in a field that desperately needed cutting. He asked if the landscaper was just dimwitted and lazy because of the seemingly lack of work. On closer examination the landscaper was not lazy, but he taking his time to sharpen his blade. By doing this he is much more efficient and extremely wise.
In our fast-paced world, taking a day to rest and refresh is more than a luxury. It is essential to our success as marriage partners and parents. Guys, this is the part I warned you about. Rest should not always be an individual thing. Relaxation as a family or a marital couple is also a way to grow stronger bonds within the family and with God.