The Gift of Rest

I don't have to earn rest or have to have everything on my list checked off to allow myself to recharge! Yes!!! I have such a hard time with this.

Kara Bee Photography

I have a problem. It drives my husband crazy. I can’t stand naps. Well, actually it’s not really that I can’t stand them, it’s that I have a never ending to-do list of things that have to get done continuously running through my head. I don’t have time for naps. Then throw in kids, only half of which regularly nap, and the opportunities for naps are far and few between.

This paragraph jumped out at me when I was reading Start by Jon Acuff,

Rest is a gift, not a reward. It’s not a hobby that lazy people take advantage of; it’s woven into the fabric of our very biology. The body is designed to rest. I don’t have to earn that with my performance. Rest is not a by-product of my success, it’s a  by-product of my humanity. I don’t have to get ahead to enjoy it or need it.

I don’t have to have a check mark next to everything on my list before I’m allowed to sit down and breathe. Sometimes a short pause is what I need to regroup and gain a better perspective on life. That’s not what I want to do though. I want to keep moving and getting things done. Going from one project to the next.

Rest done intentionally and at an appropriate time isn’t waste. John Lubbock says it this way,

Rest is not idleness, and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day, listening to the murmur of the water, or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”

I often don’t want to take the time to slow down and enjoy the little moments in life. Snuggling with my 3 year old as she falls asleep is hard for me. As I lie beside her, I think of everything I could be doing. So, let me be honest, it seldom happens. I don’t want to lose those small moments with my kids. This week both kids actually took naps at the same time for the first time in months. After a rough afternoon, I was exhausted. The house was a mess. I had a million things to do. My energy level and motivation was minimal though. I decided to take a moment to lie down and put my arms around my little girl and let our frustrations with each other melt away and rest. 

I came across this quote from Elaine St. James on The Art of Simple Facebook page this week, and it spoke to me.

“There are often many things we feel we should do that, in fact, we don’t really have to do. Getting to the point where we can tell the difference is a major milestone in the simplification process.”

Not everything on my list has to be done now. In fact, not everything on my list has to be done at all. Sometimes I just might need to make the choice to say no to one thing in order to say yes to something else. Even rest.

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23 thoughts on “The Gift of Rest

  1. Ai

    I don’t always get to nap because my to-do list is long too. But when I have a chance to take it, I’m thankful for the gift. Sometimes, I just take my naps with one of my kids on their bed. They love the snuggling, and I do too.

    Reply
  2. Shirley ~Light Love Hope

    It does help to slow down and relax a little. There’s nothing wrong with a nap, but I do understand the call of other things that you’d like to get done. Believe me when I say that those childhood days go by way too fast, so cherish the time you do have with your little ones now. If they want you to lay next to them as they drift off to sleep, settle in and put your loving arms around them. You’ll be glad you did. My daughters are 17 and 9 years old at the time of this writing, and the days of laying next to them while napping are long gone. I miss those days.

    Blessings to you and yours,
    Shirley
    http://www.lightlovehope.com

    Reply
  3. Karen

    We must have been cut from the same pattern. I get so tired, but push on because of that LIST! On some days though I do just scrap it all and sleep – and fall asleep nearly as soon as I lie down. You are right – its not a reward, but a necessary part of our total well-being.
    Thank you for sharing at Let’s Get Real!

    Reply
  4. Gentle Joy

    I am very much like this…. BUT now my health has suffered greatly from it and adrenal fatigue/adrenal exhaustion forces me to get rest… it is not worth it…. there is nothing wrong w/ resting and you are right – it is a blessing, but we seem to think that we need to do more.. more… more…. we also need to take care of the body God has given us… don’t wait until you don’t have a choice about rest. :)

    Reply
    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Why do we always seem to need to do more??? It’s crazy! I think my motto is going to be simplify so I can do less and enjoy more. Thanks for your words and advice, I appreciate it.

      Reply
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  6. Bev

    I’m terrible at resting! I also allow the list of to-do’s run through my head instead of soaking in the moment, but it is so important to distinguish between what we *think* needs to get done, and what actually does. Wonderful post, and a great reminder for us all!

    Reply
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  9. Kelli @ eat pray read love

    Ahhhh love this! My husband is a pastor and just finished up a whole sermon series on Sabbath. You are so right, it’s a gift (and a pretty darn good one!).
    Found you through Snippets of Inspiration- thanks for sharing!

    Reply
    1. Deanna Michaels Post author

      Thanks, Kelli! Oh wow! That sounds like a great sermon series. Rest isn’t easy and it seems like being busy is emphasized so much more. So right, it is a pretty darn good gift. :-)

      Reply
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