Enjoying some R and R

by Marilyn Mathis

LIFE IS BUSY! It seems like there is always something to do, somewhere to go and lists to complete. It is very, very hard to make time for much needed R & R (rest and relaxation). 

In the July edition of Good Housekeeping magazine, an article on the health value of taking a vacation included research that said, “People who constantly checked their work email on their days off had significantly more stress — which is bad for the heart — than those who did not.” Researchers affirm God’s word. We need REST!


Rest is defined as “to cease work, leave off, to calm, to pause, to refresh, to recover strength.”  

Relax means “to become loose or less firm, to have a milder manner, to be less stiff, to be free from tension and anxiety.”

Rest is a repeated theme throughout Scripture. The first mention of rest is in Genesis 2:2-3. These verses describe God resting on the seventh day of creation, not because He was tired but to set the pattern for us to follow. Humans were created on the sixth day and their first full day, the seventh, was a day of rest before they ever did any work. Rest is fundamental to a flourishing and healthy life.

Jesus encouraged His disciples to “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.” Why was this necessary for them? “For there were many people coming and going, and they (the disciples) did not even have time to eat” (Mark 6:31). Now that is being busy when you can’t find time to eat! I don’t think I’ve ever gotten that busy, but they were and they needed to rest, relax and be renewed. 

The disciples obeyed Jesus. “They went away in the boat to a secluded place by themselves” (Mark 6:32). Remember, I said it was very hard to get away to rest. Getting away was hard for Jesus and the disciples. Mark 6:33 tells us that the people saw them going “and got there (the secluded place) ahead of them.” No rest for the weary!  

Jesus has said to all of us, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). This word “heavy laden” is a military term that described the backpack or bag that every soldier was required to carry. The weight of the backpack was determined by the length of the soldier’s journey. If the trip was short, the weight would be less. But if the trip was longer, the weight of the backpack would be much heavier laden.

Jesus assures us that no matter the length of our life journey, long or short, He will be with us and give us the rest we need. The good news is that when we can’t “come away to a secluded place,” we can take a break from the journey and go to Jesus for some refreshment.

To rest, we have to trust that God will take care of things for us; that He has everything in control and our world will not fall apart if we take a day or week off. One of the definitions of “relax” is “to be less firm or to become loose.” So “letting go and letting God” is the best method for resting and relaxing our grip on our lives, careers, families, etc.  

An old hymn says, “God will take care of you, through every day, o’er all the way, God will take care of you.” R & R is a person, not a place! His name is Jesus!


A Conway resident, Marilyn Mathis is a wife, mother, Nana and teaching leader for First Wednesday Lunch Break. Readers can reach her at [email protected].