Giving our Best by Taking a Rest
Several years ago our oldest son Alexander said to me: “ Mom, you really don’t know how to sit down and relax.” What me? What do you mean? We ended up having a really good conversation about our lifestyle and what rest could look like.
I REALIZED I HAD NEVER REALLY LEARNED TO REST.
I remember the draining and sleepless years of having a baby when my greatest wish was to sleep or sit at the beach and enjoy the sun on my skin and listen to the sound of the ocean.
Have you ever been there? I am sure you have. Nobody asks questions or needs help from you.
Unfortunately this season was quickly followed by another one; having two active toddlers, having to care for a special needs child or adding homeschooling into the mixture.
Life taught me to serve, to be productive and to utilize every free minute. Our family motto was: Don’t be lazy. Don’t be selfish. Serve others.
Sometimes I envy my husband who can drift into his “nothing box”. That is his place to just “be” where doing, planning and thinking are eliminated
There have been seasons in our life when we moved at a breakneck pace, more or less by our own choice. We took on too much, were overcommitted, over scheduled, and consequently overwhelmed ourselves. I think I should get a master's degree in this class.
But there have been also other seasons in our life when true, full rest was out of reach altogether, and there was nothing we could really do about it except ride it out and remind ourselves that this is temporary, that this too shall pass.
I find that many of these seasons come during major life transitions — moving, having a baby, major changes in life, and emergencies with family members or friends.
The enormity of these changes and the adjustments that come along with them can drown us if we’re not careful.
BEING USED TO Doing TOO MUCH IS DANGEROUS.
This year I finally realized that I had been pushing myself far too hard for much too long. I didn't even really know it or understand it, not deep down, because feeling exhausted everyday, especially in the afternoon, crashing and running on adrenaline, had become my 'normal'. I was using every ounce of energy to care for our daughter, doing therapies, running a household or things other people wanted me to do, and having only tiny crumbs left for myself. My coffee intake increased and my rest time decreased. I ended up in a major crisis and suffered from anxiety and major nerve pain in my right arm caused by stress. I was not serving out of the overflow of my cup. Instead I poured it almost completely out.
LESS IS MORE AT THE END.
This summer, I reclaimed rest, and have been doing it unapologetically. Finally, I rest when I need it, but also, and maybe more importantly, before I need it. I realized that I end up enjoying what I choose to do more, when I choose to do less.
I learned that self-care is not selfish and that I have to be purposeful in doing it. I created my own “Happy List”. When I plan our week I try to include one of my Happy List items. We all know that saying: ”If mama ain't happy nobody is happy.” Being the mom of a special needs child is very demanding and finding moments of rejuvenation are rare or almost impossible. I am always "on" so to speak and my super sensitive antennas keep me on my toes.
RESTING IS NOT SELFISH, SINFUL OR LAZY.
God has already given us His express permission to take time for ourselves. He himself rested on the seventh day of creation. (Genesis 2:2-3)
Jesus rested (Mark 6:31-32). I think too often we think of Jesus as fully God and forget that He was also fully human. He needed time to rest and heal, just like us.
Here are some ideas from my “Happy List” to inspire you when true rest is out of reach but you need some restoration.
· Sit in my cozy spot (an idea I got from Cindi McMenamin)
· Spend time with my husband
· Talk to a friend
· Go for a walk
· Watch a sunrise/sunset
· Run with worship music
· Get my hair done
· Nail appointment
· Cup of coffee or tea on our porch
It’s okay to take a break, have a cup of coffee, read your Bible, take a bath, pray, journal, exercise, chat with a friend.
It’s okay to take some time, relax, and care for yourself.
It’s okay when we tell others that we want to take off the super woman cape and need help.
If we take care of ourselves we can give the world our best instead of what is left of us.
With that said, expect photos and blogs about my Happy List events or short trips and please hold me accountable to do them.
My favorite Scriptures about rest:
Be still and know that I am God. Psalm 46:10
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. Psalm 62:1-2
My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28-29
· What are two of your favorite things you like to do?
· Do you feel guilty when you take a break and if so why?
· How do you stay afloat in the stormier seasons of life?