by Ella Corey
The last two weeks of my first semester of college were insane. I had final exams, final papers, friends coming home from being out of state, and on top of that, I was beginning to get sick. I slept an average of four hours per night, and had something scheduled to do during all hours of the day. My time and caffeine intake were maximized and I spent every moment intentionally and wisely; never EVER taking a break. Although, this didn’t end up working out too well for me. I overslept through my alarm three times in one week, once resulting in missing an important class. Additionally, I was exhausted all the time, and could barely focus on studying.
After finishing the busiest semester of my life, this January break couldn’t have come at a better time. I am the one who always over-commits; I have way too much on my plate because I love being busy. So, as tempting as it is to quickly fill up this time with more tasks, I am choosing to intentionally use this time to take a break. Because in reality, I need it.
When scheduling for a busy stretch of life, downtime is the first thing we cut out agendas. Because we have so many important things to do, we really are convinced we do not have time to take a break. Although, a psychology study done in 2010 proves the opposite: downtime and rest are necessary for your brain to grow and function properly.
Whether you’re walking, napping, or just sitting and ‘doing nothing,’ your brain needs rest, and your soul does as well. In addition to brain development, rest is also proven to enhance your well-being. Psychologist Mary Helen Immordino-Yang studied the way humans react to lack of rest, and found that “individual differences in brain activity during rest are correlated with components of socioemotional functioning, such as self-awareness and moral judgment, as well as different aspects of learning and memory.”
I find this to have a direct correlation with my faith, too. The more time I spend resting and reflecting in God (whether it’s meditating on scripture or exploring nature and His creation), the more confident, comfortable, energized, and at peace I am. God found rest so important that He did it himself after creating the universe (Genesis 2:2-3). He also made it a commandment for us to follow (Exodus 20:8-11). Pastor Rick Warren once said, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing you can do is just go take a nap. That’s because when you’re physically down, it’s hard to be emotionally and spiritually up.”
“Be still, and know that I am God,” is commanded in Psalm 46:10. It sounds almost too simple, but, often life gets so overwhelming and stressful that this is the most beneficial thing we can do. When you have hours of work to do and no time to do it, be still and know that He is God. When a traumatic, life-altering event leaves you with countless questions as to why this would happen, be still and know that He is God. When you are completely unsure of anything else, remember to simply take a second to be still, and know that He is God. Sometimes that’s all you can be sure of, but it’s the most important thing. Time is precious, but when you spend it with God it will never leave you wishing you had spent it otherwise.