As I have had the pleasure of working with youth and young adults, I find more and more there is one overbearing problem facing them in their daily life: lack of rest. I feel that as I have been listening to people in conversation, the stereotype for the younger generations is they don't work enough or hard enough. I think the new reality for our upcoming generations, Generation Z and beyond, is busyness. I am dubbing this the Age of Go. Everything is going all the time. The demand on our youth is they need to be going just as hard and just as much. Forbes had an article describing how millennials are taking fewer vacations day, but equally, power gave information showing the average American is working hard and resting less.
Now, this isn't just the working population; this extends to the college and high school age generations as well. I do not feel as if kids are working less, partying more, or have easier classes. I find many of our college students, having jobs, going to conferences, being part of multiple clubs, or participating in greek life. Even when I see students attending clubs, it is not just for points given in that they participated or led an organization, it is also being used as a primary way to socialize. Fewer and fewer of the youth I interact with are having a majority of their social interactions outside of organized gatherings. Overall, there is so much going on that the youth are getting less sleep, less downtime, and are putting in more work.
The result of all this is a lack of rest. Youth today do not know how to rest properly. In the scriptures, we find that God even commands us to remember to relax. A day spent focusing on what we have, being thankful, recognizing our lives are not meant to be focused on working, and gaining things. No, instead, our lives are meant to be lived remembering to be thankful for what we have, enjoy our relationships with our loved ones, and focus on bringing life into balance.
Adults can testify to the encroaching work life into their home life. With the dawn of the digital life connected and plugged into our smart devices, work is always at our fingertips. We are finding it harder to unplug and, therefore, to stop working. Where we have been slowly wading into these digital waters, our youth have been drowning in it. People reaching burnout is becoming a more common occurrence and particularly in Millinelials and the younger generation.
As the church, we need to find ways to offer rest to those in our community. We need to teach people the importance of rest and fight the cultural narrative that working hard is the highest ideal. We need to teach people how to rest. People, particularly youth, are struggling to unplug, unwind, and rest. The church as a people longing for the seventh-day rest, the people whose God rests have something important to say to the world. Yes, God partners with us to work in creation to bring it to its fullest potential. Yes, in the garden, humans still worked. However, we were also called to rest as much as we are called to work just as the humans in the garden were called to rest with God.