Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Permission to Rest

It's 12:45 on a Wednesday, my children, who started waking up at 4:30 this morning, are both taking nice long naps.  Noah, our oldest living son, doesn't nap much anymore, but a tantrum of epic proportions and a way too early start to his day won out today and he sleeps.  And my goodness, I almost forget about that tantrum when I peek in on him to see him sleeping soundly.  So when I suddenly found myself with a few quiet hours on my hands I almost didn't know what to do... and then I did.  I won't lie, I did wipe down the bathrooms, picked my 5 items for my daily minimalizing challenge I am currently in (life changing...I've gotta tell you all about it another day), and did manage to shower.  But you know what else I chose to do? Guilt free? I chose to rest.

My blogging position today.  If you look closely you'll see my son's uneaten breakfast and spilled cereal all over the floor.

I won't pretend that there aren't at least a thousand things I could be doing right now.  But something I have learned in my grief and in my motherhood is that sometimes choosing to rest is the wiser choice for me.  We all know that grief is emotional and mental, but we often forget that grief is also physical.    

In this fast paced world it's often hard to find the time to just allow yourself to rest.  Ask any parent on the planet and they will tell you the struggle is real.  But I don't think it's even necessary to be a parent to feel this way.  Even my 3 year old resists rest.  He's too busy to stop and allow his body the rest he needs.  He wants to go, go, go! And sometimes it takes an epic tantrum for both him and us to realize he needs more sleep.  And aren't we all the same? The laundry, the errands, the dishes, the meals...we need to go until we collapse into bed at the end of each day.  Now add in grief and you become a real hot mess!

This used to be me, and honestly many days it still is, but one thing I learned in my grieving is that I needed to not only work through my emotions and feelings, but I also needed to listen to my body. I needed to know that there were times the dishes and the toys would have to wait and I was going to allow myself to nap with my kids or sit quietly in my, what I like to call, "Old Lady" recliner.

Our culture tells us that our houses need to always be immaculate, our kids need to be in every activity from soccer to Girl Scouts to ballet, and success in life is achieved by being the most productive person on the planet.  So when I found myself deep in the trenches of grief and knowing my body needed to recharge, I knew I needed to rest, but couldn't shake the voice of GUILT that echoed in my mind.  "Lazy," it told me.  "Not good enough.  Get over it already. No wonder you are out of shape and overweight." 

Friends, it took a lot of tears, reading, and conversations to finally get to the point that I was able to shut that ridiculous voice down.  When I gave myself those moments of rest whether it was sitting on the couch for 20 minutes with a cup of coffee, sleeping for 2 hours while my kids napped, reading a book or blog, or working quietly on a craft or art you know what? I became a better mom, wife, and person.  Even my house was a little cleaner and more organized because allowing myself those small moments of rest allowed me the recharge that I needed to be more focused on my call in life as wife, mom, and homemaker.

Then this Lent I found rest in the most unexpected of times...I found "rest" at 6 am when my alarm goes off and I crawl out of bed (OK...after a few hits on the snooze button) and quietly grab a cup of coffee, my Blessed Is She daily devotionals, my Bible, and I take time (sometimes it's only 10 minutes before someone wakes up and sometimes I have an unexpected prayer partner that day) to rest in Him.  Scripture tells us, "Come to Me and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28 Starting my day off (or some days my kid's nap time) by resting in God's word and presence has also brought a much missing peace and focus to my days.  

So friends find rest in your life.  Whatever that looks like to you.  Unplug, unwind, and relax.  Say no to a few invitations.  Put yourself first for a bit.  Decide you're worth it.  Find rest and let your body soak up all that it needs.  Let the guilt go.  You're worth it!

We wait until heaven...

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