Thursday, March 20, 2014

Rest is not Idleness

Like I said in my last post, I have been feeling fantastic since my February 12th surgery.  However, today, my energy has dipped, and I'm back in bed.  It's okay.  Like I told my best friend on the phone this morning, even when I'm having a bad day post-surgery, it's better than my best day before the surgery.  So, my mind is not despairing.  I'm just trying to listen to my body, to honor it as a way of thanking God for His good gifts, and to treat it gently as I continue to be restored.

A large part of that restoration process is REST (rest-oration).  A few weeks ago, while I was trying to find the balance between activity and rest, I googled something like "how to rest" or "the science of rest" (I can't remember the exact word search).  I came upon this article:

Being the nerd that I am, I ate it up.  My favorite line? 

"In recent years, researchers have explored the idea of rest by looking at the so-called ‘default mode’ network of the brain, a network that is noticeably active when we are resting and focused inward."
(Association for Psychological Science, July 2, 2012)

According to the article, this area of the brain, researchers believe, is the area associated with learning, memory, and socio-emotional functioning (like moral judgment and self-awareness).

In other words, while we rest, this part of ourselves is growing, developing, maturing!  That's pretty amazing.

And it became even more amazing to me when, as I lay here this morning, my mind drifted to what's happening inside my body.  I asked God, "Lord, what are you doing in there?  What's happening inside me while I rest today?"  His response?  "I am healing you."

The staff at my son's school is currently reading a book called Margin by Richard Swenson.  As I read this article and thought about that book (which I have yet to read) and acknowledged God's word to me today, a thought began to form: rest isn't just about sleeping or laying in bed. 

I know that sounds obvious, but you have to remember, I had major surgery six weeks ago.  Up until last week, a lot of my recovery was about sleeping and laying in bed.  But now, as my body gets stronger and my mind can think more clearly, rest needs to look different.  Now, rest is about giving myself margin for reflection, about creating space for Him to work both inside my physical and mental selves.

So, on a day like today when I don't have the energy to drive my daughter to gymnastics, when my husband is, once again, coming to the rescue and struggling to keep all of the balls in the air, when I am doing well to sit up and lift my arms, I am writing.  Why?  Because writing in this space helps bring my mind to a place of rest.  Here, I am reflecting.  Here, there is margin.

Someone else might look at me right now and think, "why aren't you resting?"  But I need to get all those 'someones' out of my head and let my rest take shape as it will, perfectly formed to my needs in this time.  I will make mistakes.  I will do an activity that I think will leave me feeling restored, only to come out on the other side completely depleted.  Conversely, I will choose something I call 'rest' and it will take from me, rather than give back (I think of laying in bed - this is decidedly not restorative at this stage).

Perhaps the answer to "what is rest?" or "what should rest look like?" is "it depends."  It depends on what you need at the time, on where you are in your life, your day, your hour, your minute.  Maybe it is silence in one moment and singing in the next.  Maybe it is walking through the neighborhood one afternoon and taking a nap the next.  The salient point is this: it's about what restores you, what gives you life, what leaves you feeling full and not empty.  And that, ultimately, is about God at work in your life.

For me, no matter what that looks like, it must involve margin, it must include space for reflection.

And for you?  What does rest look like for you?

Monday, March 17, 2014

Time Flies

Wow, how time flies.  I came back here today FULL of things to write, insights to share, pictures to ponder, but then I noticed that my last post was FOUR MONTHS AGO.


In my mind, I have visited you many times since then, waxed poetic about all manner of things, and wowed you with my wisdom.

Ha!  How reality pales in comparison with my vivid imagination.  So, being true to form, I told you I was leaving, came back with a random post, and now sit here regretting my own absence.  I know, I'm a strange one. 

And consistency is hard for me.  I'm just being honest.  My reasoning for coming back is three-fold::

1.  I need you.  I need a place to write because I, dear friends, am an external processer.  I need to be able to get my thoughts out in order to make sense of them.  If I'm lucky enough to have you read me, and even reflect back what you here in the comments, then bonus for me.

2.  I want to encourage you. 

3.  My creative writing projects need the help and discipline blog writing provides.  In other words, this is a place to get my juices flowing.

So, I'm baaaaaaaack.  :) 

And where have I been in the meantime?  Parenting two precious children, wife-ing an amazing husband, working full-time at an awesome company, and walking the road to health.  In short, here are some bullet points to try to catch you up:
  • The novel.  I've written and rewritten three times now.  I'm currently on version 4.0.  Feel free to pray for me as I attempt - again - to respond to two agents generous offers to read a revision and FINISH THIS WORK.
  • The husband.  Last October he launched his own business!  I'm so proud of him.  He loves what he does and I love it too!  It's a great fit.  For more, check it out on his website - - or on Facebook.
  • The body.  I got really, really sick last year.  Worse than ever.  My chronic adrenal fatigue combined with crazy hormones combined with all sorts of wackiness led me into the Land of Deterioration.  I took matters into my own hands, fired some incompetent doctors, found some amazing ones, and started over.  I recently had major surgery (mid-February), and now feel better than I have in years, PRAISE GOD!  I still have a long way to go, but things are looking up.
  • The job.  Last fall I started back full-time at Austin's best jewelry and high-end gift store: The Menagerie (  I manage the website and some marketing and buying.  It's super fun, and I'm very thankful.
Post-surgery I feel like I have my life back.  I feel like I'm a new person.  I have been carried through hell and back by amazing friends and brothers and sisters in Christ.  I am thankful.  I will write more on that later, but, for now, that's a wrap.