I don’t think I used to fully appreciate the true value or meaning of rest before I had Jonas. I enjoyed it, but I didn’t realise how important it was, until it became such a rarity. If you’re a mum, you will probably agree that since having your gorgeous baby (or babies!) finding time to stop, or relax, or time for yourself, or even time to sleep can seem at best difficult or at worst impossible.
Do you feel like there is always something to be doing, or always something that needs cleaning, or sorting, or someone who always needs entertaining or consoling. I do! I can look around me and in a second make a huge list of things that need to be done that day, many of which I don’t even get chance to start. Particularly as a stay a home mum, I think it can be very hard to stop noticing this huge list of things to do. Our home is our place of work and so it can be hard to switch off!
But with so many things to do, we need to consider is resting the thing we are compromising? Rest is so important and something that even in the hardest of moments we need to make time to do. I think our bodies, our emotions, and minds are all connected and so if we neglect one part, everything else can suffer. If we are overtired, often we start to feel emotional or grouchy, and sometimes a good nights sleep, or a break can change everything.
But what is rest? Well I think it’s different things to different people, but one thing that it always involves, is stopping. Stopping from your work, or your lists, or your duties. Taking a break. Making time for you.
For me, this looks the same everyday. When Jonas naps, I make a tea and go upstairs, shut my bedroom door and sit and relax. I read, or write, or just think. Occasionally I sleep but more often I just stop. Stop from the doing, or the rushing around, and I breathe. And honestly it completely refreshes me. I feel energised after this time.
I haven’t always found it easy to stop. I’d always want to but if a friend asked to meet up over lunch time, or come round, being someone who loves to see people I’d often just say yes. But I have learnt something about myself over this last year: I need to rest. At the moment, with Jonas at this age, his nap time is the best time to do this. It’s my time, and it’s precious and I have learnt to be disciplined in guarding it.
Could I do other things? Always! By the time Friday comes and I review my to-do list for the week, I can guarantee there are always things still to do, be it paperwork, or cleaning, or that huge pile of ironing I didn’t even touch. But the thing is, the thing that I have learnt, productivity doesn’t come by doing everything that needs doing. It comes by taking care of the priorities.
I can’t do every little thing all the time, and I need to stop. When I stop, it isn’t a waste of time, it’s essential. It keeps me going, gives me chance to breathe, and to be honest, it’s when I get vision for everything I want to achieve over the next few weeks.
Do you know that even God rested. After creating the world, and animals, and people, God rested! Why? Well I think one reason was to show us that we need to rest. To set us an example. But I was thinking it through. Thinking what God would have done when he rested. Would he have slept, put his feet up, lounged around? I don’t think so. I think he stopped, and considered. I think he reflected on all that he had done. Gathered his thoughts. Sometimes when we stop, when we rest, it gives us chance to gather our thoughts, to reflect on our week, to gain vision from God. And sometimes, in the busyness of life, it can only happen when we stop!
Maybe there are things God’s trying to show you, or speak to you, a revelation he desperately wants to give you, but until you stop, perhaps he can’t. Maybe, you just need a break, to relax, to rest, in order to recover, or energise yourself, but until you stop, you can’t.
Your rest may not look like mine. Your child may not nap anymore. And perhaps you will have to be a bit more creative in how you get that time. But make sure you do, because it will be more productive than you realise! And who knows what God will show you, or do in you in this time.
How do you rest? What works well for you? Leave a comment as to how you make this time, and if it’s been effective.