Ernest Ange Duez
Me, after a conference weekend! :)
Do you ever feel this way? What a silly question! Of course you do.
Today, I returned from the Texas conference with 3 national conferences, my book launch and all the rest of life. Today, I stayed in my jammies forever, did not unpack, and got very little accomplished. Sometimes rest is the most holy way to live life.
Why do we sometimes feel guilty when we rest? Monitoring my body, my emotions, my heart, my moods, my strength is something I have had to learn over the years. Often women feel guilty for stopping, but if a mom runs on empty for too long, she will be running on fumes and eventually crash and burn.
What an incredible weekend in Texas! Despite the snow and ice, over 600 moms made it to the hotel after all. I love the life, love and beauty that I always see at the mom's conferences each year. With kindred spirit mamas and friendship and time together over ideals, inspiration and the Word, it is as though the Lord Himself is knitting hearts together and building strength amongst us.
Eternity will be changed forever. Children's stories and legacy will be different because we paused in our lives to remember what His word says about the importance of family, discipleship, love and faith.
However, we return home and are reminded that all of mama-hood and life and marriage and home are filled with constant drain.
Sometimes, when we have piles of responsibility on our plate, we start to place a lot of energy, worry and fear into the "issues" of our lives, and we start to fret. And then there are those weeks of illness or moving or company or, or, or
The last thing that seems productive when life is busy is to rest.
Yet, rest may very well be the most strategic thing to do if we have a busy, full and demanding life.
If we do not practice a habit of a restful life, we will end up with serious illness, exhaustion, bad attitudes and fist-shaking faith aimed heavenward.
As I have said before, one of my most useful memory verses is, "Fretting leads only to evil doing." (Reflection of Psalm 37:8!)
God put Sabbath rest into the weeks of our lives with a purpose. It is not just a Sunday thing--it is a principle of stopping when life has drained too much.
I have found that when I believe and engage my heart in the goodness of God's character, and place into the file drawers of heaven all that I am carrying and worrying about, including the lists of all that I have to do, I begin to find peace.
When I find myself depleted, I stop and take stock of what is going on in my life. I place the worries and anxieties in heaven. I simplify my schedule. I plan a snack-style dinner, maybe crackers and cheese or fruit and toast, and break out the paper plates. I take a day off from regular commitments and plan to be still. The next day, I again put away normal commitments in order to attack the demanding tasks that are increasing my burden. But into my day I also plan simple pleasure--making time for several coffees or cups of tea, having a nap, watching a show or reading a magazine--which gives the little break I know I need.
When my children were little, on these burned-out days, I would do whatever would free me for just a time--bubbles would be brought out, or a long bath with new bath toys, a Winnie the Pooh cartoon, a trip to the frozen yogurt cafe, or a quick jaunt to the park or playground--I crafted a way I might have a break from the banter and demands.
Refueling just a little to find joy, create pleasure and celebrate life in the midst of all the demands helps fill my heart up just enough to begin seeing light at the end of my tunnel.
Slowly, I would begin see the miracles bubbling up ... slowly, surely; He, my Father, delights to provide when I take time to breathe, listen, and rest from the daily grind.
A Martha heart, frenetically busy, won't see the miracles of God, as she is so busy living in the whirlwind of her own making and subsisting in her own meek provisions that she loses all hope and becomes a wretched nag.
The more exhausted I am with life, the more tense, grumpy and tight I become and it spills all over everyone else.
Finding myself at a juncture of exhaustion from giving all that I have (Thursday-Sunday) to the sweet, wonderful mamas in my conferences has taught me to take a break, sleep, do something fun and distracting, and give margin to my weary body.
I find that somehow when I try to figure out all of the responsibilities and listen to the litany of the duties of next few months, which are huge, I am tempted to be overwhelmed.
Yet, from so many times like this in the past, I have learned a secret. My Prince Jesus comes to me at just the right time. Like the story of Sleeping Beauty, the prince comes not when she is searching the horizon, pounding her fists, running the floor,
Henry Maynell Rheam
But the prince comes when the princess is asleep, and doing nothing but resting.
Resting in Him, choosing peace and putting off responsibilities and recreating can be such grand medicine for my soul, that after choosing to rest and to invest in fun and love and ease of life, my strength is renewed and all life's issues can be faced with grace.
I know duty is bound to come, but I will face it with courage tomorrow if I rest today, when my body demands it.
And so today, my plan is to go back to bed, to pace leisurely through the pathway of Monday, to sip and really taste my coffee, to just sit and listen to my sweet girls and Joel and really look into their hearts and eyes; to call Clay at the office just to say "hi"--and remember that both he and they are also tired; to focus on the beauty of their light-filled eyes; to stay in comfy clothes all day-- listen to music, watch a fun movie, read and pray--and then maybe to rest again, because I know that while I am resting, my Prince is already coming to my rescue, because He has my back covered.
I am so much nicer when I am rested--and when I am nicer, I feel better about myself--which makes everyone happier.
Peace, be still, the Lord is near.