If there’s one lesson I am constantly learning and re-learning in my life with God, it’s how to rest. Every time I think I’ve got it, I am confronted with another application, another dimension, another depth or angle to which I need to learn to apply the lesson.
When I was in my late twenties, my busy life was interrupted by burnout and I had to learn to stop striving and stop trying to please people. Now that I have two children and life travels at the pace of cheerios and potty breaks, drivenness pops up in sneakier ways.
Last summer, my second daughter was born. However, it wasn’t until a few months ago that I started noticing red flags for postpartum depression. With the encouragement of family and close friends, I called a support line. As I talked to the lady there, it became obvious that I needed more rest. I needed actual uninterrupted sleep, yes. But also smaller breaks throughout the day. I needed to up my level of self-care.
Now you need to know this about me: I have a terribly difficult time accepting that I can take breaks when things are incomplete. My husband can let go and relax a lot more easily than I can. Somehow I think that I can only rest when everything on my list is checked off. It’s as if I need to earn time off or prove that I deserve to stop.
Mark Buchanan, in his refreshing book, The Rest of God, writes, “[Sabbath] is sheer gift. It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could.”
“For no better reason than God told us we could.” Those words are hard for me to accept. It’s a challenge for me to stop in the midst of the daily grind and play or relax instead. It’s even more challenging to suspend the constant go-go-go in my heart.
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photo credit: Week 1/52