So, it's a couple months into the year and as I entered into this year, I wanted to really focus on strengthening the rhythms in my home.
That's what I had changed my blog banner to reflect, originally, and while that is certainly a goal still, it has been pushed aside for a more pressing goal that God has been drawing me in to.
See, I'm really good at being productive. Even when I'm not working with my hands, my mind just continues to reel. I've struggled to really allow myself a space for rest.
I want to take.it.all.in. I hate wasting time and want every minute to count. I know, right? I'm a crazy kind of Type-A.
Between homeschooling and meals and cleaning and child training and writing and working....well, let's just say I don't take much time for rest in the day to day.
Mix all that in with driving to activities (which can't be completely avoided if we want our children to get out in the world), as well as the constant stream of social media (the Internet never sleeps), there is always something keeping us going.
I can hear God drawing me in to lay my burdens down...the day to day constant to-do list, even just for a little while, so I can focus on Him, breathe Him in deep, and remember who I am isn't found in what I do, but Whom I belong to. Yes, He's giving me permission. He knows how much I need it and sometimes I just don't want to admit that I need help; that I need rest.
What do I believe about God when I refuse to allow Him to fill me up? In fact, what do I believe about myself? Do I think I can handle it all? That I don't need His filling or strength? It's no wonder my body is so stressed and acting accordingly! It's no wonder I struggle to find rest in my soul.
I'm so Type-A in personality that I actually thrive under pressure. Such a strange paradox to me, really!
So, in acting in obedience to the Lord, I changed my blog banner to help me remember to focus on practicing rest since it's something that has seemed to elude me.
Why is rest so important?
From a biblical perspective, rest is for us.
And he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath. So the Son of Man is lord even of the Sabbath.” -Mark 2:27-28
You see, God gives us permission to rest. Yes we can take a whole day, and we should take a Sabbath, but even in the everyday we have permission to come to Him to lay our burdens down.
Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
As a culture and a time in history when people don't go to sleep when the sun goes down but instead continues well into the night with work, allowing a time midday to take a break is not a sin. It's not being lazy, it's being wise.
Rest helps restore the mind and physical body and it's something our bodies really require that we often deny them.
Stress does all kinds of terrible things to our bodies that I don't think we fully recognize. I know I didn't until I started experiencing it for myself.
I learned that even if my mental capacity to handle stress was high, my physical capacity wasn't quite so high and I suffered for it in that way.
Rest helps rejuvenate the mind, body, soul, and spirit. Each one has an effect on the other in varying ways. Especially as moms, who have this mentality that we can't stop because our to-do list is never-ending.
This is something I must practice because it is not a natural habit for me.
What does rest look like?
Since we all tick a little differently, this will vary from person to person.
Some people find rest in the quiet while others find rest being with other people, depending on whether you're an introvert or extrovert.
You can rest through reading, writing, or simply sleeping. Some rest through a craft or art such as knitting or painting. Yet some rest best by doing nothing at all!
For people like me, who seem constantly driven to produce, I find reading only stimulates my mind rather than putting it at rest...unless it's the Bible. The Bible has a way of bringing me peace and filling my cup.
I know many are going to HATE what I'm going to say here, but trust me, it's one of the most important forms of rest we can have in this age.
Turn off the technology for a bit. For real.
And I am talking to myself here because as a writer, blogger, and virtual assistant (VA), this isn't exactly the easiest thing for me to do. But I need it.
I need white space for my mind and eyes to breathe and rest. Not only will it refresh me to have a better attitude but to also have more focus and creativity.
The Internet is a black hole. There will always be more to see and more to read. We could never possibly keep up with everyone and everything all the time.
Rest should truly be a regular part of our lives. From small daily breaks (anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour) to weekly, monthly, and quarterly breaks.
Go out to a coffee shop -- alone or with a friend. Go hang out at the library (that's where I am as I write this). Step outside for a walk, or go to a nice, scenic park, if the weather is good.
I never, ever in a million years thought I would ever travel places. But my job has allowed me this gift and I have been able to get away 2-3 times per year for a weekend of rest. It has helped tremendously!!
Even if it's some place local. Just something away from home where you are not required to cook or clean or look at all-the-thing-that-need-to-be-done for one weekend out of the year.
It's not a matter of deserving. It's a matter of needing it. Sometimes we don't realize just how great our need is until we allow ourselves to stop for more than a breath, but instead, a deep breathing session.
Ann Voskamp is so right. Life is not an emergency. It is a gift.
Do you need to give yourself permission to practice rest?