Rest means different things for different people, and I am not talking about the rest where you sleep. Without a doubt, I can say that everyone needs rest in one form or another. That’s why God created the Sabbath, right? I mean even He needed rest and in so doing He created a day that should be dedicated to rest each week, not to mention it’s one of the ten commandments.
“There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works [labor].” Hebrews 4:9-10
So, we know we need to rest in obedience to God and we know that it shouldn’t involve work. Rather, time spent enjoying the gifts God has given us and giving praise to Him. This is something my family is working on doing consistently and well. We usually practice Sabbath-rest on the day we worship, but we are pretty flexible depending on our schedule. It has become so hard in our culture to rest when everyone and everything is telling you to get up and go do work until you meet the standards of society around you. So let me encourage you to begin practicing it. Maybe it starts with putting you and your families phones away for a day so you don’t have any distractions. Or maybe just planning a day outside after church enjoying the people you love and praising God for his beautiful creation.
Anyways…now that we understand ‘rest’ and that we need it, the kind of rest that I am talking about today isn’t actually Sabbath-rest. It’s more of a break from the ordinary – for time specifically dedicated to exactly what fills your tank.
One Friday night a few months ago my husband, Ben, told me to get up and leave in the morning. Yes, you read that right. He knew I needed to get out of the house and away from him and my daughter in order to do something that was completely dedicated to filling my tank. Otherwise, I’d end up doing ‘to-do’ list items, chores, or get pulled into doing something that wasn’t dedicated specifically to me, just like any other Saturday morning. If you think about it, the home is my work place. So what do you do in your work place? Work, right? Or at least that’s the answer your boss wants to hear.
That’s why Ben tells me to leave – and although I’m sometimes hesitant, I’ll admit, it is the best gift he gives me. And the reason I say ‘gift’, is not because I have to ask permission to leave the home. Simply because, this was all his idea.
Because it’s become a habit this is how my ‘break’ typically goes 1-2 times per month. I usually leave the house by 8:15AM on a Saturday and go to a coffee shop. I don’t even eat breakfast before I leave because that just sucks me into hanging out at the house even longer. Once I’m at the coffee shop I like to read as much as I can. I also spend a portion of the time journaling over a passage of scripture, and the rest of my time writing about one or two blog post ideas I have. Oh and I can’t forget the people watching I do. [Don’t worry I am not a creeper, I just find it entertaining…I mean who doesn’t?] So by the time I’ve gotten my fill its been a few hours and I usually head back to the house around noon.
Now if you are thinking, “Well, I don’t have a blog, I don’t journal, or like to read”, don’t worry, as I said before everyone needs rest, and more specifically everyone needs a break or time dedicated to filling their tank. This isn’t something that is needed weekly; however, that could change based on the season of life you’re currently in. This blog post is not for a limited audience.
Think about it…it doesn’t matter what type of work you do, whether you’re married or unmarried, husband or wife, parent or not, we all spend a lot of time making deposits in people, things, work, etc. But what about yourself?
What if you make all those deposits on a daily basis and forget about you? Yeah, you’re gonna get tired. You might already be running on ‘E’, like for years. So do something about it! And I promise, you will see it reflected not only personally but in every other part of your life. Reggie Joiner and Carey Nieuwhof say in their book, Parenting Beyond Your Capacity, “We all enter into adulthood with a certain amount of reserve. If we expend too much without making deposits, we find ourselves at an emotional deficit.”
Just to let you in on a little secret…you know what recharges my husband? An opportunity to kill zombies. No really, he doesn’t play video games that much anymore, so whenever he gets the chance, he takes it. He says it is ‘just for fun’ but it’s like a release for him and it gets his mind off things for a little while. Between that and his soccer team, his tank is filled. And honestly soccer is probably what recharges it the most. It brings back fond memories, keeps him physically active and social, and also gives him something to continually work at. These are the things we’ve committed to prioritizing for each other when it comes to intentionally taking breaks: mom’s coffee shop mornings and dad’s soccer games.
Now think for a minute…what fills your tank or re-charges you? What’s a passion of yours? What is something that you love doing, but can never find the time to do? And I know that some of us, women in particular, are tempted to answer, “shopping!”, and although that is a prize, it might just be the ‘easy’ answer. Trust me, I love shopping without kids just as much as the next parent, but try to dig a little deeper and see if there is something else.
Do you ever get time alone and if so, what would you do with it?
Some Saturday mornings my husband has to physically push me out the door. Why? Because I can be anxious about leaving Eden; because I’m afraid he won’t do things the way I want them done; and because I like to think I can handle life with or without breaks. But he’s a Dad, NOT a babysitter and God equipped him to be a parent just as he equipped me, so it’s OK for mommy to leave. Besides, He and Eden need to have that time together (without mommy) at every stage in life. Not just when she’s older and less reliant on me. And that same statement remains true if and when there is another baby in the picture.
Trust me, I have totally reaped the benefits of my coffee shop mornings. Because honestly, how can I fulfill my purpose of wife, mom, and friend if I’m not resting and recharging. I fully intend to be intentional with this gift so that it continues to be a habit for me to get rest.