‘I’m just not getting enough rest time!’, ‘I’m just trying to get that balance of work and rest!’. I don’t know about you but I hear these conversations a lot! In fact, I’m often a part of them. Millennials are bombarded with thoughts of making the most of each day and balancing work and rest often leading to a mental muddle of confusion and lack. I met with a group of students recently that didn’t feel like they had enough time to clean their kitchen, let alone think about rest! Notifications are too important it seems the barrage of invites, assignments, social pressures, news to keep up with and a high achievement culture is too much for many. 

‘I first started noticing the symptoms of millennial burnout during the second half of my time at secondary school. When I was 17, I was a high-achiever and enjoyed working a lot. I loved working on projects and I always had this non-stop yearning for a feeling of achievement. This led to countless sleepless nights.

When I got to university, these feelings continued. When I was meant to be relaxing, I’d constantly be checking my emails and thinking of all the other things I could be doing rather than resting.’ This is an extract from the ‘We all have millennial burnout’ article on The BBC website.

Many millennials are facing burnout. Many feel as if they should be switching off more or scheduling in time to relax. As life is separated into these compartments, our emotional and spiritual lives follow, swaying from one extreme to the other with little to no stability. When we work we feel focused and sometimes stressed, when we relax we feel free and happy. Rest often becomes a behaviour to try to distract ourselves from the rat race of life.

Hebrews 4 9-10 ‘There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their work, just as God did from his.’

We still get to work! Brilliant. Most of us love the thought of having purposeful work making a difference to the world around us. The writer of Hebrews says God’s rest is one that saves us from labour - the type of work which grinds us down and down until we have no more to give. The type of work that enslaves our minds to think we are never enough, always missing out and have to anxiously fill our every moment with activity. This is a work of the soul, an internal work which puts us in chains, the slow burdensome long haul of a work that Is the only thing we can turn to. 

Romans 8:1-2 Therefore, there is now no condemnations for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.

Those who are in Christ, those that believe there is no separation between them and him, because of his finished work they are not condemned, free and no longer enslaved by death! The good news. So, practically what does this mean for us and rest? 

Rest isn’t an activity, it’s is a state of being. A state of being rooted in our beliefs about God. If we believe we aren’t full accepted, we will try to earn our acceptance. If we believe the flesh limits us, we will become easily tired, hungry and depressed. We now have the mind of Christ, so we think like him. We think like the prince of peace, aware we have rest, retreat and peace two hours before a work deadline. Our ‘rest’ time is a gift but so is our work! Sometimes we work 12 hours a day, sometimes we don’t, what is done is done and what will happen will happen, but we live in heaven, that’s where we are seated, seeing our state of rest is eternal, won by his blood now and forever. 

Just to reassure you, I definitely don’t live in this reality all the time yet. A lot of the time, I do, but I often forget its true! However, I can say this is a reality. Even if we don’t feel it! This is what faith is. Believing the unseen will become seen, the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we don’t see. This is what we get to give away. To our mates at uni and to the stressed student sitting next to us, the truth of the kingdom at hand, a God who came to earth to set us free into permanent retreat! A energised rest and peace of mind that will propel them into a productivity only heaven can supply. Self-help, counselling, wellbeing services and mindfulness will only go so far. The bottom line is it’s the gospel that sets us free, God’s spirit hitting our heart and liberating us, give that away today! Will you live in his rest today?

Paul Eaton is a southerner at heart but lives and works in Manchester for Fusion as a student mission developer, encouraging mission amongst students in the local church. He is also a student worker at The Journey focusing on reaching international students. He loves to travel and see students living passionately with Jesus. He also enjoys sport/competition.