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Rest

In the summer, I go MIA from my life. I leave the state, I travel to visit family and friends, I camp out at my parents' house for weeks, I just take a really long break. A really necessary break.


As a teacher, I'm "go go go" from mid-August until mid-June. The second it all ends I go into my version of hibernation. Perpetual exhaustion has caught up with me. My brain finally doesn't have to make plans or plan ahead. The stress and tension slowly leaves my shoulders and I breathe a sigh of relief that I haven't breathed since last summer when mid-June finally came back around.


I take my much needed break by going "home". By spending time with my family and my friends. By traveling for a couple of weeks or a couple of weekends. I eat a lot of ice cream. I read a lot of books. (JK. I maybe read one book. Maybe) I watch a lot of Netflix. I let my parents pay for my dinner. I stay up late. I sleep in. I take a lot of naps. The only constraints I have are the limited amount of clothes and shoes I have packed in the suitcase I live out of. And I don't really mind that.


When I was little and I wasn't feeling well, but not sick enough (by my mother's standards) to stay home from school, my mom would tell to try my best to "tough it out". She wanted me to push through. Push through feeling less than my best to accomplish what I needed to accomplish. Get through that moment, or that day, or that event because it was important, and don't let my health stop me. My mom knew my limits and never pushed me beyond them, so teaching me to "tough it out" was her way of helping me to know them too. Along the way of learning my limits, there were plenty of times that I pushed myself too far and suffered the consequences. There were also plenty of times that I pushed myself while my parents watched with deep concern as I found my way. They always waited with open arms and love to catch me if and when I needed it.


Getting the right amount of rest and sleep is important for everyone! Lack of proper sleep or rest can have negative affects on the heart. Since mine is only half, the proper amount of rest is especially important. Just like I had to learn to my limits - when to push through and went to rest - I've had to learn what rest looks like for me. It's okay that it doesn't look the same as for everyone else. While my sister can stay up until all hours of the night, it's okay that I "can't hang". While my friends can manage on only few hours, I need to ensure I get a good night's sleep in order to function.


I've been complimented, quite a few times, on the amount of energy I have. I just laugh. In reality, I don't have that much energy. I'm perpetually exhausted. Most of the time I'm just "toughing it out" and pushing through. I go to bed around 9 o'clock and when I wake up one of the first thoughts I have is "Can I fit in a nap today?" I'm crabby. Hangry. Sleepy. That's me. And people make fun of me for it. Especially for my 9 o'clock bed time. But listen people, I'm walking around this planet with half a heart and apparently I'm doing it energetically. And it's exhausting. So in summer...I don't do it.


Perhaps you can relate. Perhaps you find yourself in a state of constant exhaustion and going and going and going from one thing to another to another to the next. Perhaps you miss your bed the moment the you get out of it and hear it calling you throughout the day. Perhaps you have good intentions of giving yourself quiet time but you end up not having time to be or still quietly. Perhaps you find yourself getting short and easily irritated and have to give yourself a break and a chance to relax, even if just for a moment. Perhaps you know that you desperately need a vacation and a real opportunity to disconnect and unwind.


Rest is so important. It's vital. To my sanity and to my health. In the summer I make sure that it's priority numero uno. And I don't think that God intended for us to be in state of constant movement and business and going from one thing to the next with no break or pause in between. The word of God says in Matthew 1: 28-30 "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Rest for my soul. Now that sounds like some good; really good; rest.


God knew the humans that He created so well. He knew that would we would become weary. Weary from simply living our daily lives. He knew we would need a reminder that true rest can be found in Him. Rest that requires us to surrender to Him and the stillness. He knew that we would feel a need to be ever moving and always busy. Business and movement that in has no choice to cease once we tune into and find ourselves in His presence. It seems we aren't that different from them from the people Jesus was addressing at that time. We still push ourselves to our limits and remain exhausted. It's not healthy. Physically or spiritually.


Now that my restful and relaxing summer has ended I'm going to do my best to ensure I get time to rest and relax when I can. Sometimes that might look like matataining a schedule and keeping organized. Sometimes that looks like saying "No" to something or to a night out. Sometimes that looks like being intentional about finding down time where I can slow down and recharge. Sometimes that might look like giving up my need to get it all done and simply let my soul find rest in Him. Sometimes, that looks like going to bed by 9. Actually, that's always what it looks like!



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