Recently, I spoke to about 400 men on the topic of unwinding. I could not find the word unwind in Scripture, but its synonyms relax and rest are plentiful throughout God’s Word. There is a strong theological foundation for rest. Did you know that God modeled unwinding? Genesis 2:2—“ By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.”
Now, why would an all-powerful God need to rest? I suggest that the answer to this question is because His glory is tied to the enjoyment of His effort. Work without reflection or enjoyment is meaningless. I suspect God wanted people to rest, so they could enjoy His effort. He established an Unwind Day and called it the Sabbath. He attached so much importance to His action that He blessed the day and declared it holy. He made a binding promise with His creation. The concept of rest is so important to us spiritually, mentally, physically and emotionally that God made honoring the Sabbath the fourth command of the Ten Commandments! We unwind for His glory and the honoring of His work!
What happens when we don’t unwind? We are making a statement to God that we don’t need Him. All work and no rest will kill us. When we live like we don’t need God, we live without God. Furthermore, when we don’t unwind we lose perspective. We’re like greyhounds chasing mechanical rabbits. We put our eyes on our work, activities, problems and relationships and take our eyes off God. Our work becomes our idol and our identity.
So, how do you unwind according to God’s agenda? First, you need faith! If you don’t trust God it is impossible to attain rest. King David wrote in the Psalms, “I am at rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him . . . Rest in God alone, my soul, for my hope comes from Him” (Psalm 62:1,5). Without God’s help it is impossible to truly relax because we have an infection called sin that slowly eats away our human fiber and leads to death.
Second, you need Prayer! Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30—“Come to Me, all of you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. All of you, take up My yoke and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for yourselves. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Peter, one of Jesus’ most dynamic disciples, late in his life wrote, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you” (1 Pe. 5:6,7). How do you come to Jesus and shed your problems? Communicate with Him! Humbly enlist His help by sharing your struggles.
Third, you need a ranger buddy. A ranger buddy is a trusted friend will knows close hand how your life is going and has the courage to tell you when you need to slow down. We don’t always see the signs that we are going too fast and need to slow down.
Fourth, you need to laugh. Doctors have found that laughing helps to protect the heart. Laughter increases pain tolerance and boosts the body’s production of infection-fighting antibodies, which can help prevent hardening of the arteries and subsequent conditions like angina, heart attacks, or strokes. Stress decreases the immune system. But laughing may actually raise infection-fighting antibodies in the body and boost the levels of immune cells. “When we laugh, natural killer cells which destroy tumors and viruses increase, along with Gamma-interferon (a disease-fighting protein), T cells (important for our immune system) and B cells (which make disease-fighting antibodies).” (Wikipedia) Laughing keeps us from taking ourselves too seriously and is a strong joy barometer. If we cannot laugh, we certainly are unlikely to relax.
Fifth, you need to rest! When I attended West Point, every cadet was issued a green comforter we called our “green girls.” Napping was an art. We didn’t get to nap much as plebes but when we became upperclassmen we perfected the practice. Napping was therapeutic. We lived under high stress circumstances and expended tons of energy. King David wrote, “I keep the Lord in mind always. Because He is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my spirit rejoices; my body also rests securely” (Psa. 16:8,9). The prophet Isaiah said, “He will enter into peace—they will rest on their beds—everyone who lives uprightly” (Isa. 57:2). If you want to unwind, then make time for quality rest.
Finally, you need to get away! When God created the earth, He did so for His and our pleasure. So move your nose around the rosemary. Bask in a sunset. Reflecting was never meant to be practical, it was meant to stir worship. The ability to unwind is enhanced by the wind’s texture, the babbling creek, the songs of birds and the fragrant aroma of majestic firs. In Mark 6:31, Jesus said to His disciples,"’Come away by yourselves to a remote place and rest for a while.’ For many people were coming and going, and they did not even have time to eat.”
So many people were coming and going demanding their time and sapping their energy so much so that they did not even have time to eat. Jesus took His men on retreats. If the King of kings made time to get away to remote places to unwind, we should too! Something to think about . . . in reveration!
©2007 Daniel York ARR. Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause. If you would like to receive these devotionals go to www.firstcause.org and click on the “Click here to receive weekly devotionals” box. Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.
Ecclesiastes 12:10-The Teacher sought to find delightful sayings and to accurately write words of truth. (Holman CSB)