How to have some R & R: Rest and Restoration

It’s the holiday season and people talk of having R and R. R and R could be rest and restoration. What are these and how do you have them?

In writing my Christmas wishes to you I could add I hope you get some R and R during the holidays to prepare you for 2017. However, my wishing that you find some, won’t make it happen. You need to action it. You need to ensure that you have the time and space in your schedule to acquire some rest and restoration; to practise self-care.


What is rest?

For some of you the image of rest is taking a nap undisturbed or having time off work. Rest is bigger than that with many meanings and can be described as many things.

Rest is the ceasing of labour. It is having a break from work but it is more than not being at the office physically. It’s not allowing work to intrude into your home life either electronically or in your thought life. So resting may mean not checking emails and turning off your phone. It’s taking a break in your head, choosing not to ruminate on the thoughts of work or its worries when they occur.

There is a natural cycle of rest. You can see this in the seasons. God commanded a weekly Sabbath rest and while you may choose to label it a suggestion the result may be burn out.

Jesus role modelled how to have rest. He didn’t respond to every demand that was made upon Him (Mark 9.30, 7:17, 24) and slipped away to isolated places to pray, leaving people and the demands behind. Often He got up early to do this (Mark 1:35, 6:46). Also Jesus didn’t let others dictate the terms and timing of His ministry, whether it was the Pharisees, His disciples or the crowds He hid from (Mark 8:11-13, 1:35-39, 7:17, 24). He didn’t engage with their agenda sticking to what He was called to do.

Rest is trusting God. It is trusting that He can provide and protect you, that He is in control and you don’t have to run the world.

Rest is accepting what Jesus did on the cross, not trying to earn your salvation or do good to please God.

Rest is stewardship; self-care so you can care for others. Jesus takes time to be quiet, rest awhile and eat. He practises self-care and ensures His disciples do too (Mark 6:30-31).

What is restoration?

English dictionaries define restoration with lots of words beginning with‘re’; renew, rebuild, re-establish, revival, restitution, renovate, reconstruct.2  It is returning (another re word) something ‘to a former, original, normal, or unimpaired condition.’3

Restoration begins with rest – you can see it the English word structure. Rest means you are not in control. Rest lets the universe run itself. You cannot be restored when you are busy controlling everything.

As 2016 closes, take time to rest and be restored ready for 2017.

Take action (putting legs on it)

The difficult thing with rest and restoration is doing it. You need to take action.

This is not easy. I can write about rest and restoration but I struggle with the action part.

Being a control freak I struggle ‘to let go and let God’; to step back from worrying about work, ministry, family life and the world, and what I need to do to control them. So I have to make a conscious decision to watch my thought life and when worries or the thoughts of ‘I should do this’ intrude, I turn my attention elsewhere. I might read a book, listen to music, go for a walk, journal to download the thoughts and move on, or do an activity I can get lost in like cross-stitching or a jigsaw.

I also have to set aside time in my calendar to rest. I am currently on holidays and today I have 3 appointments and a lunch – so you can see my tendency to doing too much that predisposes me to burn out. However, knowing today was chockers I deliberately planned to relax yesterday and tomorrow. I built time to rest and be restored into my schedule.

So here are some ideas to help you with rest and restoration

Practice self-care. To read more on how to do this click here

If you want more detailed information download the 30 plus page ‘Self-care pack’ click here (contains Christian content)

To go a step further and join the Restoring Balance course click here (contains Christian content)


  1. accessed 21/7/16.

Photo credit: Jasper van der Meij

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