Sunday, May 29, 2011

Rest Part I

This is the first in a three part series on Rest.  Be sure to come back tomorrow night for the second post.

"Hear it on Sunday"...the word is rest

My son came down with strep throat last Thursday.  It's the first time we've had strep (or anything like it) in our house since having children.  For the record, strep is a bummer.

Per the doctor's orders, we gave him lots of popsicles and lots of rest.  Though he's been fever-free for two days, the strep is still covering his throat.  Though he clearly feels better today, he's still sallow in the face and needing much more rest than normal.

In fact, we've had him on a pallot in the living room watching TV and DVD's for three days.

Did you catch that?  Three whole days of TV-watching. 

Does this make me a bad mom?

Don't worry...I only ask that tongue-in-cheek, laughing as I type.  The truth is we've had the best weekend we've had as a family in a long time.  And I think it's because someone ordered me to allow rest.

Like most women, I'm not very good at slowing down.  I even multi-task when I go to the bathroom - reading a book, sending a text, typing an email (yes, the laptop has followed me into the toilette).  I have to make an active choice to rest, to slow down, to not do anything.

And my need to be productive can spill over into the other members of my family.  Yes, I can get annoyed if others aren't moving around me.  If my husband chooses to sit and snuggle with our little ones when there are dishes to be done, laundry to be folded, floors to be cleaned, I can get - well - huffy.

But the truth is: 100% of the time he's making the better choice.  He's making the Mary choice.*  And furthermore, he's teaching my children how to do that too.

It's not that my husband doesn't help out around the house.  And it's not that I don't snuggle with my children.  It's just that, naturally, he leans toward rest while I lean towards work.  Hmmm, not sure if I can call it work.  That might glorify it a little much, make it a little too important because of what it might produce.  It might be better to call it busy-ness (more on that tomorrow).

I've resisted rest over the years for many reasons.  The most fundamental, I think, is learned behavior.  To be valuable in my family, you had to be productive.  To be anything else was to be lazy (which was more than looked down upon or disapproved of, it was judged).  I've had to swing to the lazy side of the rest pendulum in order to learn the difference between laziness and rest. 

Laziness weighs you down, makes you feel bloated.  Rest frees you up, makes you feel light.  Laziness steals life from you.  Rest gives you life, energy, what you need to be productive when the time comes to get up and start moving again.  And if you practice rest right, you're able to walk in rest even when you are no longer resting. 

This is by far the most valuable lesson I've learned about rest over the years.  So much so that, now, if I'm working on something and feel all life being zapped out of me at an incredibly quick rate, I know I'm doing something wrong.  I stop, get to a place of rest, and start again from that place.  Inevitably I'm more productive and more efficient.

So, it's been a great weekend.  I've let my son rest, chill out, completely veg.  In fact, I've let all of us do it.  As a result, we feel very connected as a family.  And I've been reminded of how important it is to give your body what it needs.  I've watched my son sitting still and have lodged that picture into my mind to remind me: even when you start to feel like you're ready to get going again, it's important to keep operating in rest to become fully restored.  We often need much more than we think we do.

Linking up with Michelle over at Nebraska Graceful for her "Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday" series.

*See Luke 10: 38-42.


  1. You speak to my heart -- a heart that fears rest in many aspects because of how I have attached productivity to my self-worth. I love how you compare rest vs. laziness. I think I may have always considered them one in the same, even though if you asked me if there was a difference, I would have told you yes. But, my actions speak a different story.

  2. Love your post...LOVE it. Talk about knowing a mommy's heart. Thanks for sharing what was on your heart and words of wisdom of which we all need to be reminded now and again. Hope your little man feels better soon! Hugs.

  3. Jenny, this is the absolute perfect post for me! I rarely, rarely rest. Strangely, this weekend I've done a little bit more of it -- I even read my book on the patio for more than an hour straight! And you are so right, rest rejuvinates. Now what I need to do is take more time away from the computer...because as much as I love blogging and catching up with bloggy friends, I don't find it rejuvinating!

  4. I love your contrast bewteen rest & laziness!

  5. This is something most women have problems with, Yet Jesus demonstrated and taught of it so much. I often have to MAKE myself stop and just rest in HIM>
    Followed you from "Hear it on Sunday..."

  6. This is so true! Some of my happiest memories as a child are spending time with my family at home, just being together. I think stopping being busy and starting to relax is healthy and also fun! Visiting from SDG.