Aloha from the sunny shores of Maui! I’ve been in Hawaii for about a week now and the rejuvenation sinking down to my bones is marvelous. When I left Wisconsin, it was -11 (-27 with windchill). When I stepped off the plane in Hawaii, it was 75, sunny, and perfectly humid. REJOICE!
Vacations are an absolute gift. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve pinched myself since being here, just marveling at the beauty of this place and thanking God for showering me with grace upon grace.
Given the slower, more relaxed pace of life here on the island, I’ve been able to do a lot more of one of my favorite things: thinking! I love to just sit on the beach or take a walk around the neighborhood and let my mind go.
When I was on the beach yesterday—sand soft beneath my bare feet and tropical breeze turning my hair into a nest of tangles—I got to thinking about a crucial vitamin that so many of us are missing.
It’s Vitamin R. Vitamin REST!
I’m all for hard work and productivity, but I think we tend to push too hard on so many fronts. From lofty career pursuits to crazy exercise programs, our culture is a go-go-go society that puts little emphasis on living quietly and simply.
Culture tells us to fill our lives with high-paying work, traveling, a social life, physical fitness, raising the perfect family, sports, and Pinterest-perfect hobbies. To think that one human being can keep up with all of that is flat out crazy!
Stepping away from my day to day routine has made the necessity of rest all the more apparent to me these past few days. I don’t lead a rush-rush-rush lifestyle—and I intentionally strive to keep it that way—but I’ve noticed since being on the island that I’m not giving myself the mental rest my body needs.
When we find ourselves thinking nonstop about work, finances, future concerns, family issues, our diets, or our fitness levels, it’s time to see things for what they are and admit that we’ve got a serious Vitamin R deficiency. A life without rest—be that physical, spiritual, or mental rest—is a life doomed for disaster.
I love that rest is part of the creation story. God spent 6 days working tirelessly to create the most beautiful, mind-bogglingly complex world, and on the 7th day He rested. He didn’t play “catch up” on all the things that got laid aside while He was busy. He didn’t wring His hands and fret about whether His work was good enough. He didn’t immediately rush onto another project.
Carving out dedicated mental rest time for myself isn’t an easy task. Being an entrepreneur, my mind is often tied up in anxious thoughts about work. Being an introvert, I also struggle with taking my mind off of introspective, deep thinking rabbit trails. Being an over-organized person, I deal with over-planning, over-thinking, and over-analyzing, too.
Needless to say, giving my mind a rest every now and then takes serious effort! But I realize during trips like the one I’m on right now how important it is that I strive to nourish myself with more Vitamin R.
Waking up without a plan for the day every now and then is perfectly okay.
Going a weekend without checking email is healthy.
Letting go of worrisome thought trails that lead nowhere is liberating.
Taking a break from a project to go to yoga or take a long walk is restorative.
Spending extra time with my Bible and prayer journal in the morning is nourishing.
Spending time in Hawaii, I’ve been allowing myself to rest more wholeheartedly. As I embrace rest, I automatically release worry. I find myself laughing more, breathing deeper, and sleeping better.
Rest is not the same thing as laziness. Rest is rejuvenating, inspiring, grounding, motivating, lightening, and uplifting. It’s a precious, God-designed gift that is not optional for human flourishing. It’s essential.
Don’t get deficient in Vitamin R. Take that rest and enjoy it! Work hard, be responsible, live well—but by all means, weave rest into the rhythm of your life.
I know it takes effort to make rest a habit in this culture that moves at lightning speed, but it’s one of the most worthy pursuits. For the sake of your health and spiritual wellness, don’t neglect the gift of rest. I’m right there with you on the road to learning to embrace it.
Sending you warm, sunny, and peaceful vibes from the beaches of Hawaii!
p.s. Looking for some tropical-inspired recipes? Try these:
- Fruity Macadamia Muffins
- Peach Breakfast Parfait with Avocado Lime Cream
- Coconut Lime Fresca “Shots”
- Coconut “Kale-ada” Smoothie
- Hawaiian Chicken Salad with a Soy-Free Dressing
- Coconut Lime Chicken Bites
- Soft Island Bliss Cookies
- Frozen Banana Split Bites
- Vanilla Macadamia Ice Cream