Holy Leisure: The Right Way to Rest and Refresh Your Soul

What do you think of when you hear the words “Rest,” “Leisure,” or “Self-care”?

Health & Wellness
 Min read
February 19, 2024

What do you think of when you hear the words “Rest,” “Leisure,” or “Self-care”? Do you think about sitting on the couch in your pjs scrolling on your phone or binge watching a season (or three) of your favorite show?

If so, keep reading because you’ll seriously want to rethink that. 

Our culture which applauds productivity and the “hustle” has warped the holy idea of rest. 

Instead of recognizing rest as a vital component for living a thriving human life, we tend to see it as a chance to turn off and recharge like machines so we can get back to work.

However, our ability to work and produce does not dictate our worth. Instead, we know that our value stems from our identities as sons and daughters of God, and our rest should flow from that truth. 

Because we were made in His Image and Likeness, we have the freedom to rest from our work as He did. And this true, holy leisure goes far beyond what our modern culture says rest should look like. 

What is “Holy Leisure”?

Catholic German philosopher Josef Pieper in his book, Leisure: The Basis of Culture, writes that “Leisure is not idleness, but the opportunity to engage in activities that truly nourish the soul.” 

Contrary to the modern understanding of “rest,” Holy leisure is not a state of inactivity, but is actually an active, contemplative stillness and wonder. 

Holy Leisure brings us into contact with the True, the Good, and the Beautiful, lifting up our minds and hearts to Him who is Truth, Goodness, and Beauty, bringing us into communion with Him and drawing us ever closer to our ultimate end. 

It brings deep (and much needed) refreshment to our souls and, as Pieper says, is a “...necessity for a well-lived and meaningful life.”

Your soul wants this life-giving rest; the next question is what does it look like for you?

Make a List

Think about the activities you most enjoy doing; you know, the ones you usually say you don’t have the time for. What comes to mind?

Reading a book, taking a hike, spending time in the garden, stargazing, painting, exercising (may we suggest our Online Studio?)--these activities can connect you to God and re-energize your body and soul. 

Make a list and refer back to it as often as you need. Pick at least one to do this week.

Grab your Calendar

Prioritizing Holy Leisure in your life isn’t always easy, but it is worth it. What do you need to make time and space for it? 

Maybe you want to set aside time in the evenings for reading, or wake up early to watch the sunrise with your coffee. Setting aside Sundays as a day of rest can help you enter into leisure with the right heart posture and will also help orient your whole week toward God.

Pick a time and put it on your calendar in INK. While the work you do is important, this small time for leisure is even more important. Don’t let yourself miss out on it. 

Ready, Set, REST!

This understanding of Holy Leisure challenges society’s definition of rest.

The world will tell you you are “wasting time” but you can rest in the fact that you were made for this closeness and communion with God. You were made to enjoy this freedom given to you as His Child.

Embrace true, holy leisure and see how it changes your life. 

Pietra Fitness