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The Hardest Habit

Since I wrote 8 Habits for Growth: A Simple Guide to Becoming More Like Christ, people ask me which habit I struggle with the most.

The book covers habits like engaging the Bible, speaking to God in prayer, worshiping and belonging as part of the church, and more. But the habit I struggle with the most is rest.

On one hand, I’ve learned to take a weekly Sabbath. Every week, for a day, I set aside anything that looks like an obligation and enjoy God, friends and family, and life. It’s one of the practices that has helped keep me sane throughout thirty years of ministry.

But I’m not good at rest the other six days. I tend to overwork, packing more into my schedule than I should, and ending each day in exhaustion.

What’s the problem with that?

I’ve found that people who work too hard don’t tend to grow much spiritually. My wife frequently looks at some plants we have in our condo and talks about needing to replant them. The roots are too crowded, she says. They can’t continue to grow.

Our lives are like that too. Everyone’s busy sometimes, but when we neglect rest consistently, we don’t give our souls enough space to grow.

Perhaps that’s why Scripture speaks so much about the importance of rest. I picture Adam and Eve waking up the day after they were created and wondering what God had scheduled for them. That first day, they rested. They enjoyed God’s rest before they worked. It’s as if God told them, right from the beginning, that they would work out of rest. That first day is a picture of the gospel: we’re first recipients of God’s grace before we do anything for him.

Rest is a confession of our creatureliness. It’s a recognition of our limits, as well as God’s sufficiency. Plus we need it to grow.

DARRYL DASH is the author of 8 Habits for Growth. He serves as pastor of Liberty Grace Church in Toronto. He is also cofounder of Gospel for Life. He has a Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and has over 30 years of ministry experience. Darryl is married to Charlene and has two adult children and one grandchild. You can find Darryl online at DashHouse.com.

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