I started a new practice recently of listing my daily goals at the start of each day. I am a creature of habit by nature, so adopting a new practice of gathering my gold striped notebook every morning to scribe out my to do list for the day was an easy habit. Some of the goals are simple things like drink more water. Get some sunshine. Exercise (why do I always have to remind myself of this one? Sigh.) Some of the goals are time sensitive to do’s that have a deadline. Like this blog for example. I have found that if I am not intentional enough to right down my plan for the day, more often than not, I will get distracted with busyness (hello mom life) and my to do’s will get sidelined. I am also a wee bit of a type A personality. I’m driven by checklists, organization, and accomplishment. I recently learned that type A has a correlation with coronary disease. Awesome.
So on my agenda for the next two days is this: a big bag of nothing and an empty to do list. Is that because I don’t have things that need done? Never. The thought makes me laugh.
It’s because I desperately feel the need for rest and recharge in all of my cells, the same way the body signals for water when it’s thirsty. My body is crying out please, for the love of all that is good Sarah…let. me. rest. Stop vacuuming already. Stop constantly filling in your agenda with the next thing. Stop with the incessant need to do something productive. I’m really terrible at the whole rest thing.
I passed a young gentleman recently who was mid conversation with the person in front of him and I couldn’t help but overhear. He was talking about his plans over the next couple of days when I heard him say, “I haven’t really relaxed in three months.”
I wish I could insert that emoji on my iPhone with the really big and bugged out eyes right here. Because that was my facial expression when I heard him. Three months?? That’s like twenty five percent of your year that you have not rested or relaxed! Say What??
But then. Like a mirror held to my face, I heard it. That small inner voice that I so often ignore. It stood up and waved it’s hand obnoxiously in the air with a small cough gesturing for my attention. Excuse me…over here. You do the same thing.
I wish I could argue with that, but it’s so true.
I have this friend who is the most bubbly, bouncing ball of joy that you will ever meet. Her happy spirit is infectious. I cannot imagine her in my mind without her ear to ear smile and it makes me smile just thinking about it.
She has a job that she absolutely loves and is passionate about, caring for a range of creatures at a zoo in Tennessee (there is something to this….loving the work you do. That’s a whole other blog). She has this balance to the whole rest vs work thing that I envy. She is good at both. I want to be like her when I grow up.
I think that far too often we have the whole thing backwards. We think that our ability to accomplish, produce and fulfill purpose in our lives is found in the quantity of what we do. So we slip into this unhealthy, out of balance habit of cramming as many hours into our day as possible. Our quality of life is measured by updating our status on Facebook. We drink coffee and energy drinks to keep ourselves going, staying up too late and waking early. We work more so we can afford to do more. While our souls are untended and scattered, like an overgrown garden in desperate need of tending.
We do the same to our kids. We think that our good parenting is measured by their activities, by over cramming their schedules, never allowing them to be bored to the point of having to explore creativity or who they are. The result? We all become exhausted. Burned out. Short fused. We live for vacations instead of the day to day life that we are in. And when we don’t over cram? We describe ourselves as lazy. Where did we learn this? At what point in our lives did a day spent in sweat pants and a rhythm of relaxation and grace get communicated to us as being lazy? It’s insanity.
Listen. I am all about hard work. Overly so. A life where you never leave your couch and sweat pants is also majorly out of balance. As Zig Ziglar is well known for saying, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
There were seven days in the evolving of creation. Whether this is literal or figurative to illustrate a point, I don’t know. I wasn’t there physically. But it says there were seven days in which God created all that we would need to sustain life. Do you know which of the days he named as holy (exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness)? The seventh day. The other days were good, but this was the day He blessed. The day when all of the work was completed.
It would be easy to read that and interpret it only as we are to rest once our work is complete. I would not totally disagree. But. The point of the word “completion” is that the universe is no longer in the process of being created. It’s a finished work. Our rest is found in that.
Let’s stop getting it backwards. Rest is holy. Rest is a good thing. Rest is essential to giving the world and those we love the best version of ourselves that we can. You can’t pour from an empty cup my friend.
This is your invitation to enter into rest. Not only physical rest, but rest from trying to prove your worth. You are already enough.