Adam Northcroft
Give yourself a break - take some rest!

Rest seems to have gained a very poor reputation in recent years. It's often portrayed as something for the unsuccessful and weak, the mark of a 'loser'. Perhaps this view is most bluntly expressed in the words of the super rich and ambitious Gordon Gekko (from the film Wall Street) - "money never sleeps".

Many recognise the long hours culture at work has got worse. It is now just expected. Ever-higher company targets are required and employees must co-operate so many comply without question because of the pressure from big mortgages, holidays and other lifestyle 'necessities'.

But it's not just the business world that can look down on rest. Some Christians have taken a dim view, labelling it as 'lazy' or through the term 'eternal rest' associating this activity with death. It is implied the urge for rest is something to press through rather than be accepted or embraced.

Research shows many now simply do not get enough rest, and that includes sleep as well as other forms of relaxation. And Sevenoaks, as a prosperous commuter-belt town, is bound to be in the thick of this.

But what's so wrong with cutting back on rest? Why not just keep going if you can.

Well, we aren't machines. We need rest to be healthy.

Recent articles claim a lack of sleep and relaxation means memory and thought-processes slow down, while susceptibility to weight-gain and illness, including heart-attacks and strokes as well as colds, goes up. They claim the body needs rest to regenerate itself properly.

It seems we've forgotten some of the lessons from the past. During WW11 munitions production was stepped up to 7-days a week and to the surprise of the factory owners output fell. After restoring the rest day, things were improved.

The bible speaks of having a rest (or Sabbath) day each week. Jesus modelled rest and often went off to be alone to pray as well as calling his disciples to down-time during busy periods even when his popularity was at its height.

He demonstrated that even when the crowds were screaming for him, rest could not be forgotten.

We live in a super-busy age. Many of us are regularly caught up by deadlines, bosses, sales targets, children or simply the expectations of others. We tend to run at their pace all the time and at the expense of ourselves.

Maybe it's time to stop and rethink.

Hope you get a restful summer holiday!