On Being a Writer: Rest (Chapter 11)

REST. Yes, this is a need I am well acquainted with.

I woke up this morning at 7:30am, then laid in bed listening to contemporary Christian music for thirty minutes before getting up and dressing. Next, I took the sheets off my bed and put them in the washer. After that, it was time to rest.

Why, you ask, would I need to rest so early in the day? Because I have been diagnosed with a long list of chronic illnesses and live daily with pain. Yet I have to function, to keep my household running and our home reasonably clean. Doing this requires taking at least ten minutes to rest when the pain becomes severe. My day advances in spurts: do a task that requires standing for no more than ten minutes, sit down and work on something else for maybe half an hour, then get back up and do a small housecleaning job for ten minutes. I allow pain – usually in my lower back or neck and shoulders – to tell me when been on my feet long enough, and I then take time to rest.

Resting is an important part of taking care of myself, so that I will have the strength to do the things God has called me to do. And just as my body needs rest because of my chronic illnesses, my mind requires periods of rest so that I can be at my best when I sit down to write. As I schedule times of physical rest into my days, I also schedule times of rest from writing into my weekly plans.

God made the need for rest clear in His Word. First, He set the pattern of working six days then resting on the seventh day, when He rested from the work of creation on the seventh day. For the Jewish people, He established the Sabbath as a day of rest. Apparently the people were thinking a day of rest was good, except when time was limited and crops needed to be harvested, because in Exodus He made it clear that this was not an exception. Even when deadlines loomed ahead, the need of a day of rest was taught.

This Sabbath principle is one I’ve made a part of my life. As Christians, our day of rest is Sunday. My husband and I don’t make this a law we must follow, but with few exceptions we take Sundays as a day of rest from work. On Sundays, I do only essential housework (meal preparation, washing dishes) and I take a break from writing. My husband takes a break from video production and editing, and we make it a goal to spend some time doing something as a family. I also take breaks during my time set aside for writing to get up and walk around or spend a few minutes on something else that needs to be done. At this point, I am not writing every day – my current goal is to publish at least one blog post per week. But if that changes and writing becomes my “full-time job,” I might also need to schedule an occassional week off from writing. And my breaks from writing aren’t necessarily breaks from words – one of my favorite ways to relax is to sit down with a good novel. Since my physical problems require sitting much of the time, this works for me.

Charles Spurgeon, one of the best known preachers of the nineteenth century and and a prolific author, understood the importance of rest. He said, “Rest time is not waste time. It is economy to gather fresh strength… It is wisdom to take occasional furlough. In the long run, we shall do more by sometimes doing less.” If Spurgeon accomplished all he did, while still taking time to rest, should we not follow his example. Taking time to rest is wise!

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Author: readywriterbr

I am the wife of a Christian video producer and film maker, the mother of two adult children, and a lover of Jesus Christ.

14 thoughts on “On Being a Writer: Rest (Chapter 11)”

  1. I never appreciated rest as much as I do now! Always busy busy busy, for others, I truly believe God has slowed me down to take time for myself but mostly to make time for Him. Thanks for the great reminder of a true sabbath!

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    1. Thanks, Dianna, I can’t say that I appreciate rest as much as I should. Sometimes I still feel guilty when a take time to rest, even though I know it’s necessary with the health problems I’m facing. Even my “rest” times tend to be busy – I’m resting my body, but not my mind. Still lots of room to grow in this area.

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    1. No, Tara, I haven’t heard of that book. I’ll need to see if I can find a copy. I understand the importance of rest, both for me physically and for everyone as a part of their routine, and I make myself take time to rest. I just struggle with what I know is false guilt when I need to rest so often.

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  2. I liked reading your thoughts on rest. This sentence stood out to me: “Resting is an important part of taking care of myself, so that I will have the strength to do the things God has called me to do.” While that’s obviously particularly true in your situation because of your illness, I think it’s true for all of us as well. It can be tempting to think we need to keep on doing, but rest is important so we have the strength for the right things. I also liked how you highlighted that even when we’re facing deadlines, rest is still important- I think that’s an area I need to work on.

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    1. Rest is definitely an area I need to work on – not so much in taking time to rest, since my circumstances force me to do that, but in finding the correct balance between work and rest during the time set aside for work. That’s where I struggle, because of the accusations from Satan (or sometimes just from my flesh) that I’m just being lazy.

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    1. All hurting back is usually enough to force me take time to rest during the weekdays, when my mind is telling me it’s time to work. But finding the correct balance between work and rest still isn’t easy. I always feel like I need to be doing more. I’m comfortable with taking a day to rest on Sundays, but I still have room to grow in finding the work/rest balance Monday through Friday.

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  3. I loved the way you wrote this, drawing us in to your perspective on what rest means to you, given your own circumstances. Loved the ending too, where you talk about the relationship with productivity. Thank you for sharing: I really enjoyed your post and took a great deal from it. Helen

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  4. I have both mental and physical chronic illnesses. Very tiring. I change my bed one piece at a time and then lie down in it when finished. I am done for the time being after that.

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