Sometimes blessings come hidden in strange disguises. For me the blessing was a true day of rest last Sunday, the likes of which I haven't had in.....I don't really remember. The disguise was that all four members of our family were sick. Thankfully not with anything too serious. Just some bad colds and sinus stuff that had been hanging on for a couple of weeks. No one was stuck puking into the toilet, be we were sick enough that we needed to cancel the commitments we had made that day and just stay home and rest.
It was the perfect amount of sickness, and honestly, one of the most enjoyable days I have had in a long time. We stayed in our jammies, and napped, and snuggled, and ate left overs and didn't worry about getting anything done. We had a day of rest.
Rest. This is something I do not do well. I sleep fine. I'm usually asleep withing about 30 seconds of turning off the light at night. But during the day there are almost zero moments of rest. There's the obvious busyness of life with small children. Constant comforting and carrying, feeding people and keeping them clean. And the new element and getting a child to and from school certainly doesn't add any restfulness. But even when babies are napping or have gone to sleep at the end of the day I seldom choose rest, because there is always that extra chore I can't get done with the kids around, or there's a post bedtime social gathering I'd like to get to, or there's the temptation to stay up late with a new crafting project, or in front of a screen trying to crank out a new blog post. As relaxing as knitting and blogging are for me, I'm not sure that I'm really resting when I do those things. My brain is still racing, trying to think up something creative, original and inspiring. I'm obsessed with having something to show for my time. I want to see output, results, the fruit of the labor.
"Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and
I will give you rest." Mt. 11:28
How long have I had this verse memorized and yet how often I read it and weep because the thing that I desire most but deny myself so often is resting in the sweet, restorative presence of Jesus.
Let's face it, life is busy and noisy. Results are everything, success is measured by achievement, and our minds are racing to absorb a never ending feed of information. There's always more, but my soul is crying out for less.
So here's what I'm advocating for, for myself and for anyone else feeling burned out and in need of true rest. Not a total abandonment of chores and responsibilities, just the ability to be ok with an unfinished to-do list. Not the adoption of a life as a hermit, but maybe saying no to one social commitment each week. Not denying yourself the creative outlets you need, but realizing that they are not the end, output does not equal fulfillment, and please, don't start something new if it's after 10:00 pm. Then, take those little moments of time you have now carved out each week to rest in Jesus, and do nothing else, and be ok with doing nothing else. Finally, go to bed 30 minutes earlier everyday.
"Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him." Ps. 62:5