"My presence will go with you and I will give you rest" (Exodus 33:14). This verse always brings me comfort. God’s wants us to rest. Jesus Himself invites us to rest when He says: “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30).
The invitation from the Bible is open to each one of us to rest in God's redemptive and refreshing rest.
Ellen G. White also counsels us often about rest, urging women to take care of our bodies, to find time for solitude and rest. In the following quotations, you will find some advice from her to us.
Ellen White's Counsel to Her Secretaries Regarding Proper Rest
It is a very bad habit to let work drag and drive one. Drive the work, and then you will not become discouraged. It is a bad plan to give way to impulse. If you see a book you would like to read, and sit down in the midst of your work and read during the precious hours of the day, when there is work that needs to be done, then the work is neglected. Make it habit not to sit up after nine o'clock. Every light should be extinguished. This turning night into day is a wretched, health-destroying habit, and this reading much by brain workers, up to the sleeping hours, is very injurious to health. It calls the blood to the brain and then there is restlessness and wakefulness, and the precious sleep, which should rest the body, does not come when desired. It is needful to take care of the body and to study its needs and preserve it from unnecessary exposure. It is a sin to be ignorant of how to care for the wants of this habitation God has given us. Especially should brain workers begin to be soothed and not in any way excited as they draw nigh their hours for sleep. Let the blood be attracted from the brain by some kind of exercise, if need be. Let not the brain be taxed even to read, and, of course, not to put forth literary effort. You shall, Marian [Davis] and Fannie [Bolton], have one or two hours, as will best please you, in the daytime, and you will not feel so starved for intellectual food that you will partake of it in the night hours. God designed that the night shall be given to sleep. . . .
Wake up in the mornings. Set your hour to rise early, and bring yourself to it, then retire at an early hour, and you will see that you will overcome many painful disorders which distress the mind, cause gloomy feelings, discouragement, and unhappy friction, and disqualify you for doing anything without great taxation.-- Letter 76, 1888, pp. 3-5. (To Brother and Sister Lockwood, Marian Davis, Fannie Bolton, and May Walling, May 24, 1888.)
Periods of Rest Needed
My brother, you are in need of rest. The mere matter of speaking in your meetings is not the real cause of your becoming exhausted as you do. This exhaustion is caused by the intense strain brought on you by your preparation for these meetings. You put great intensity of thought into the effort to get everything ready in the most expensive style. This effort wears on you. You become worried and confused. You must make a change. You cannot afford to spend the hours for sleep in the preparation of charts and in other work which requires intense mental effort.
My brother, you must have periods of rest, in which you spend some time in the country. I have been instructed that during the summer, you should leave the heat of the city for a cooler atmosphere. Your strained nerves will respond to the grateful restfulness of nature's beautiful scenes. Your lassitude will leave you. You will be strengthened and invigorated, prepared for a fresh effort.-- Letter 79, 1902, p. 2. (To E. E. Franke, May 23, 1902.)
Counsels Regarding Caring for One's Health
I hope you will guard carefully against taking cold. It made me very sad to read what you wrote about being able to talk just a little to the students while at Berrien Springs. You must not expose yourself. It is too serious a matter for you to run any risks. It pays to cherish every jot of strength that you have. Refuse to sit up late at night on committee meetings. Give your body a fair chance, and you will then have much clearer spiritual discernment. I hope that you will be more concerned in regard to standing on vantage ground physically.-- Letter 199, 1902, pp. 2,3. (To W. C. White, December 14, 1902.)
Cautions Against Assuming Responsibilities That Are Too Heavy
Who gave you that mind? It was God. What right have you to commit day by day, hour by hour, week by week, month by month, and year by year, a system of robbery against God? What right have you to take the gift of reason, the gift of intelligence, and put that intelligence and reason largely to your own benefit in worldly profit? We are to yield ourselves up, all that there is of us. Men in positions of trust, positions in our institutions, you become self-centered. You bring commercial business in. Men of responsibility that stand in positions of trust have contracted burdens [that are] too big and heavy to stop to pray.
You are to consider the words of Christ, "Without Me ye can do nothing." Leave Christ out of your service and you cannot distinguish between the common and sacred fire. Oh, such are too crowded with the cares of life to pray. . . . Now what is the use of leaving Jesus out of the question and go on with your bungling work, botched work, and with your affections centered upon the things of this world, and absorbed and controlled by the business part--the temporal things of this eternal life and that which is of no value to us--while that which is of eternal moment to us is put away as a thing to be taken up transiently, when most convenient. If you go to meeting, you cannot keep awake, because you have robbed God of the nerve-brain power in pressure of worldly cares. . . . You have not been drinking of the life streams which make glad the city of our God. You have not been drinking of the snow of Lebanon, but you have been drinking at the malarious streams in the valley, and what you need is religion. It is what you will have to have or you will never enter the kingdom of God.-- Manuscript 35, 1891, pp. 4,5. ("Work and Baptism of the Holy Spirit Needed," September 26, 1891.) White Estate Washington, D. C. February 15, 1979
From Manuscript Releases Volume Nine: Page 46-49