In the spirit of multi-tasking, I was reading today's chapter while exercising. It was weird reading about how it is essential for us to get proper rest while I was breaking a sweat on the stationary bike. There were times I had to put the book down so I can focus all my energy into pedaling. Resting just doesn't come easy at times.
Last year, I started experiencing lower back pain. Somehow I'm a 60 year old stuck in a 25 year old's body. Luckily the weather was still warm, so I wore a lot of dresses because it was too painful for me to bend over and pull on a pair of pants. After many months of ignoring it, the weather turned cold and I needed to wear pants. So... I needed to see a doctor! The results came back and I had a herniated disk.
I was so frustrated with myself. Before finding out what the real cause of my pain was, I tried doing back and core strengthening exercises thinking the pain came from weak muscles. I was also getting back into a running routine to prep for 5k season. My mind was telling me that doing more work would somehow eliminate the pain. My body was telling me I needed to stop.
In Sunday School, we talked about Sabbath one day. Sabbath isn't just about taking a break and giving God a little credit. It's about fully resting. How many of us fully rest from exerting our own efforts? How many of us ever really rest from interfering with creation? When we allow ourselves to stop what we are doing, we are more open to seeing new things, especially all the intricate ways that God is at work. He set the earth into motion and it will not stop just because we stop for a day. Unless, you're Atlas.
God also created this body of ours that, even while we rest, a million different functions continue, especially the ones that help rebuild and strengthen us. While we are sleeping, small people in white pods enter our body and engage in Body Wars.
Incredible. There's also all the medical benefits that comes with proper rest and relaxation:
- Our metabolic rate increases during deep sleep. Sleep your way to a smaller size!
- Taking two vacations annually cuts the risk of heart attacks in women by 50%.
- Sleep raises levels of certain immune-system proteins to help us feel better when we get sick.
- Periods of decreased levels of activity allow the body to do the deeper recuperative work like rebuilding cells and tissues.
Good night and sleep tight.