We're talking about rest. And we established that even though we're talking about rest, we're not really necessarily talking about sleep. But...
Let's talk about sleep for a minute.
Because it's the easiest comparison that we have for rest.
Have you ever met someone who doesn't sleep much? Or who doesn't sleep well? Are you the kind of person who runs yourself ragged and only has a couple of hours a night to lie in your actual bed? There are all kinds of reasons that we might not sleep well - stress, anxiety, workaholism, medical conditions, our external circumstances (like not having a safe space or something sufficient to sleep on), daylight saving time leaving the sun out until almost midnight, dogs barking next door, and on and on the list goes.
Have you noticed what happens when we don't sleep well, though?
We become irritable. We become cranky. We start to eat more, which affects our blood sugar and metabolism and waistline. We start to require naps during the day, cutting into our productivity. We develop high blood pressure, put ourselves at risks for strokes and heart attacks. Our bodies start to deteriorate. Our minds start to deteriorate. Our hearts start to deteriorate. Our attitudes start to tank. We slowly but surely lose recognition of ourselves in the mirror. And those around us can tell that something is wrong. We can't hide our lack of sleep for very long.
I remember my dad passing out asleep on the floor most afternoons. He was always exhausted and suffered from extremely high blood pressure most of the time I knew him. I have another relative who works, consistently, more than 100 hours per week and had an aneurysm extremely young. Someone else I know has been in numerous car crashes, most due to exhaustion. Yet someone else sneaks into their office for some "quiet time" each afternoon because he's just too tired to do anything else at the moment. Since I had Covid three years ago, I think I have had at least one nap every day.
We are a people who are not getting quality sleep.
On the other hand, do you know folks who suddenly developed a little pep in their step? Whose entire countenance changed since the last time you saw them? Who suddenly seem like the person you always thought they were, except they used to constantly be clouded by a shadow of exhaustion? When that shadow lifts, others can notice a big difference. And so many times, that big difference is that that person figured out how to get some better sleep.
They started sleeping in a different room from their spouse, to get away from the snoring or to accommodate different waking schedules. They cut out coffee after noon and are falling asleep faster. They talked to their doctor about chronic pain or shortness of breath or acid reflux or whatever it was that was waking them up at night and found a solution that allows them to fall asleep and stay asleep. When we make a change and start to sleep well, we feel rested, and it reflects in every other part of our life.
This is what rest does for us, too. And again, it doesn't have to be sleep, but we can see it really easily in sleep. Rest changes everything.