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Ultimate Rest
Lounge chair
Photo: Julian Irusta
Although I now struggle a bit with eating healthy, not too long ago I was a bona-fide health nut. I carefully watched what I ate and when I ate it, I focused on my caloric intake, and I made sure I always had breakfast and drank plenty of water. But as much as I hated to admit it, I was guilty of neglecting one very important element that cancelled out everything else I did—the element of sleep, or my lack of it. I just didn’t get enough sleep, either because I was out with my friends late or reading a book or doing homework. It was a bad habit that I struggled with for a while.

It’s a sure fact that all of us, at one time or another, have had hectic days or weeks where we get very little sleep. Some days we are fine, everything is flowing smoothly and other days we are up and down at a hundred miles an hour! We have one-minute lunches, one-minute phone conversations and at the end of the day we’ve used up a bunch of energy. 
What happens when we don't sleep well the night before? We are exhausted most or all day long. We can't function properly and our body wants to shut down. That's where a good night's rest pays off, because it's only after recovering energy through sleep that we can face the daily grind of a new day. Research indicates that lack of sleep is one of the major causes of depression, it decreases metabolism needed to digest food properly and it can even double the risk of a heart attack! Our bodies cannot afford to go on without proper rest.

Spiritual Relief
I believe there is also another type of 'rest' where we gain energy. It helps us face life, and is even more important than physical rest. It's spiritual rest. This type of rest is designed to help us face the challenges that are in front of us and can be seen, heard and felt, but more importantly it helps us face challenges that are unseen. I'm talking about spiritual warfare. The Word of God speaks of this struggle, this daily invisible battle that we wage day in and day out: "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms" (Ephesians 6:12).
What does spiritual rest consist of? It is based on a constant relationship with God, reading His Word and praying for strength each day (I venture to say each second) of our lives. Jesus invites us to rest in Him and to receive spiritual energy to stay at His side when the going gets rough. "Come unto me, all you who are weary and tired, and I will give you rest...for my yoke is easy and my burden is light" (Matthew 11:28, 30).

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By Sebastian Zaldibar. Copyright © 2014 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.

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