Physiological Benefits of Rest

Psalm 23:1-3 says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for His Name’s sake.”

A few more thoughts on rest before we close out this series with an interesting physiological perspective. Here are the facts, put simply:

  • Adequate sleep duration is linked to less belly fat (both visceral and subcutaneous) and a leaner body overall.
  • Varying your sleep patterns will not only stress the body, putting you at risk for fat gain, but it will also lead to poor brain function.
  • Understanding the physiological concept of recovery is essential for designing optimal training programs.
  • Recovery = essential ingredient to training

Source 1
Source 2

In light of our conversations the past month about rest, reiterating that God designed rest and rest is good and essential, how encouraging is it that this physiologically makes sense? Quite literally, if we do not make rest and sleep a priority, it is scientifically proven to have detrimental affects on our physical and mental health. When we train, we must build in recovery time, or our workout is not as affective!

My fiancé, Kevin Tietz, just so happens to be a personal trainer, and it randomly occurred to me one day to ask him the question of the physiological effects that rest, or lack there of, have on our bodies. I thought I would share a few of his expert thoughts.

“In order to actually get the results you are looking for, you have to get adequate rest. If you don’t, the benefits that you get continue to decrease,” Kevin said, indicating that without the proper buildup of rest, “you will breakdown both mentally and physically.”

Let’s look back now to the beginning of Psalm 23, where the psalmist David worships God by saying, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me besides quiet waters, He restores my soul…”

God leads us in this pursuit of occasional rest not simply because it is good for us spiritually, but physiologically!

I want to pause to make a key note here that I have not yet mentioned in the previous three entries: In order to need rest, that implies that we are training our bodies both physically and spiritually as to win the race and seeking to labor in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 9:24, 15:58)

So not that we should be doing nothing but resting all the time, for that is in most cases lazy and selfish. But if your season of life is similar to mine where it seems to be going, going, going, and never stopping, let us not loose sight of God’s desire for us to find balance in our lives.

Kevin and I agreed that ultimately, if we are not abiding in the Lord, we start to stray away from Him. If we are trying to output and do things on our own which are outside of Him, it’s unsustainable, just like training the body. If the Spirit and energy of God aren’t filling us up, then the things that are difficult tasks will drain us and we will eventually have no energy to do His work at all! (And in some extreme cases, we might lose sight of Him.)

Kevin made an interesting point to end our conversation about work without gain. He said, “I would argue that is religion instead of following Christ: just trying to do right things instead of knowing Him.”

Let’s seek to know the Lord as we abide and rest, as Psalm 23 says, for His name’s sake.

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