Permission to Rest

Am I the only person who struggles with being still? Somehow, I don’t think so.

I have so much difficulty with doing nothing. By nature, I am a very self disciplined, driven individual. The concept of taking time for myself does not come naturally for me.

Sometimes, I can do a lazy Saturday morning. I use this time to write and move at my own pace. I enjoy those mornings, but I still measure them by what I accomplish during that time.

Moments of doing nothing? Of being completely still? Those moments are so important for me to recharge and catch my breath. I don’t allow for them often enough in my life. Usually, it is when I feel myself becoming unraveled that I realize that I really need to rest.

Being still is a gift we give ourselves. Being still before God, undistracted in His presence…a gift we can give Him.

Today, rest in the grace of giving yourself permission to rest. We all need to take moments to pause and reflect.

How can you make this time? Will you?

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Learning to Relax

You would think that relaxing would be something easy to do, right? Not so much for me. I am learning to relax. I can relate so much to Martha in the Bible. In Luke 10:38-42, Martha was busy with all the work as her sister sat attentive and focused at the Lord’s feet.

Martha missed what was truly important at that moment.

I am so much more like Martha than Mary.  My son wants to watch TV with me, but I feel the need to be doing something while watching. Dinner cooking? Why not load the dishwasher? It is so hard for me to be present. 

I work in senior care, and one thing I have learned from older adults living with dementia…you learn to live in the moment. They have been great teachers to me.

I tend to wake up early even after a short night of sleep. I can relax best in the morning quiet. I love the ocean, the mountains, the lake…they all help me relax. I know I need to learn to relax where I am. Resting is important for my well-being.

I also want to be attentive with my friends. I want to be present for my family. I want to learn to relax. I don’t want to miss moments at the Lord’s feet. These moments are present every single day. 

God is with us. Rest and relaxation are okay. In fact, they are needed to replenish our tired souls.

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 

How do you relax? Am I the only one who struggles with being able to relax?

Redefining Vacation

My cousins and I were having a conversation last weekend about our views of what vacation should entail. They named off sightseeing, shopping, amusement parks…Those kinds of things. My thoughts on vacation are much different. My children are older, so I don’t feel the need to entertain them as much on vacation.

Vacation growing up was cramming as many sights into as few days as possible.  I love that my parents have taken me to so many states. I appreciate the experiences I have had.

My husband has given me another view of vacation, though, and it has been a true gift. He has taught me the value of rest and doing nothing. Sure, we enjoy taking in the sights especially natural beauty such as Yellowstone, the Great Smokey Mountains, and beaches, but we enjoy simply resting. I have learned to be content sitting by the beach or leisurely riding a bike. I find peace in rocking in a wooden rocker on the deck of a mountain cabin with my morning coffee and devotions.

Life is busy and fast paced. It is busy physically, mentally, and emotionally.

Vacation provides time to detach from the daily bustle, to reconnect with family and friends without the typical distractions, and offers an opportunity to be still.

To settle my soul before God.

I long for quiet. For moments of stillness. 

I don’t desire glamorous vacations with cruise ships and exciting ports with activities. I crave quiet. Simple moments of laughter over board games with my son. Slow paced mornings over the Word with coffee.
I need to learn how to capture the moments of stillness into everyday life. 

I need to give myself permission to rest.

I am looking forward to a few days away in a few weeks. I am looking forward to the seclusion of a mountain cabin. I am looking forward to time with my family and friend. I am craving quiet and stillness.

The definition of vacation is an extended period of recreation. I am exchanging the word recreation for rest. 

Vacation is less about seeing the world and more about reconnecting with my world. 

Our extended weather forecast looks rainy. I know weather forecasts can change daily but I am fine with rain. I am looking forward to reading, writing, board games, laughter, cooking together, sleeping in, conversation, and morning coffee and devotions on the deck. If we never leave the cabin, I will be fine.

Jesus acknowledged the importance of quietness. 
Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” He said this because there were so many people coming and going that Jesus and His apostles didn’t even have time to eat. So they left by boat for a quiet place where they could be alone. Mark 6:31-32 NLT

If quiet rest is important to Jesus, then it should be important to me.

Learning to rest is a journey I am on. I encourage you to find your own journey of quiet rest.

A Time for Rest

Tired. 

I hate when I come home from work tired. Exhausted. Emotionally drained. Mentally spent. All creative energy zapped.

I wish I was here…

But, of course, I am not. Instead, I am sitting in my recliner wishing I had the energy to do something productive. I am scrolling through Facebook looking at all the other productive people.

And, that’s where I must step back for a moment, pause, reflect, and give myself permission to rest. It’s okay to have days like these. It is okay to not accomplish all my goals and dreams tonight. It is okay to rest.

Resting is not something I do well. Giving myself permission to rest is something that I really do not do well.

New year, new opportunities. Maybe one of the opportunities God wants me to embrace is the opportunity to rest. 

Come to me all who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

Maybe tonight, I am supposed to simply rest. And be okay with that.

An Invitation to Rest

Sometimes, you just have nothing left. Your body is tired. Your mind is exhausted from multiple tasking. Life is just, well, exhausting.

The beginning of my day I had a moment, well a few of them. A moment of this is Monday, and I am tired and exhausted. Crazy how little things become exaggerated when you tired. Emotions run high. And if you are like me, you just want to be alone.

But you can’t…

Around one o’clock today, things started to feel manageable. I prayed…the blessings in the challenges, remind me the blessings in the challenges, Lord.

I realized it was going to be a Diet Coke kind of day. I hate pop or soda as one coworker adamantly proclaimed it to be. I just needed some energy, though.

I pushed through…A busy afternoon at work. A victory on the soccer field. Dinner served and cleaned up. Every day stuff.

Then a wonderful thing happened. The house became quiet, very still. I realized I needed quiet rest. I realized the “to do” list could wait until tomorrow. I realized it is okay. It is okay to rest.

A warm blanket. Fuzzy socks. A cup of tea. Nothing pressing to be done but rest. 

Giving myself permission to rest is the hardest thing for me to do. There is always something that needs done. Dreams and goals to work towards. A house to tidy. Something… always, something.

But without rest, I realize I am drained, depleted, defeated, vulnerable. 

Rest. Quiet rest. My soul yearns for it.

Jesus invites us…come to me, all who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28 NIV 

If He is inviting, then we should pause to accept His invitation and the gift of rest.

Rest

Rest…
Time to pause
Time to reflect
Time to be still
Time to listen

Permission to breathe
Slow down
Release the stress
To share with God
Who cares about the big and small
Stuff of our lives

I am learning to rest
To release myself
From the guilt I so
Often feel when
I am still

The work will always be there
The to do list will
Keep growing
But I am learning
If I don’t take time
To be still…
Silently sipping morning coffee,
Listening to a friend,
Reflecting in the nature,
Writing,
Pausing amongst the chaos to pray…

If I don’t take time to be still
I can easily feel
As though I am drowning
In the stuff of life
And miss the simple moments
That matter, that mean everything.

Rest…

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalm 46:10

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Oh, to fly away and be at rest…

I am doing something this week on vacation I don’t normally do well-rest. Now, of course, this is much easier here than at home…fewer responsibilities, the ocean just a short distance from my front door, and no alarm clock buzzing at me to wake up and start the day. I can take a walk when I want to take a walk. I can drink coffee at my own leisurely pace instead of during my commute into work. I have no meetings, no deadlines, no agendas…just time this week. Yesterday, I actually sat by the poolside for two hours and just rested. It was wonderful.

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This is much needed rest. So many changes in my life the past few months. Left a high stressful job. Started another job…still stress, but much better environment but lots of hours. Husband lost his job…so many decisions needing to be made. Daughter to graduate from high school in a few months. Decisions, decisions, decisions. My mind seems to be always racing. My body aches some days from the unpredictable effects of fibromyalgia. I always push through because I need to.

Here, now, this moment, I rest. My mind is calm. My body is calm. The ocean and sky a peaceful blue, meshing into one. A leisurely bike ride. My children, also relaxed, far removed from the pressures of homework and decisions beyond what to eat for dinner…we laugh, we enjoy the moment, the beauty of just being in the presence of one another. My husband enjoying the memories he is making here, one of his favorite childhood vacation destinations. My best friend and daughter’s best friend, both here for the first time, enjoying the beauty and the calm.

If only I could bottle up some of the ocean-the tangible things, easy to captute…salt water, sand, sea shells. It’s the intangible things-not so easy to bottle up-the calm, the quiet, the peace, the slow pacer, the freeing bliss of no schedule…

Oh, that I had wings of a dove! I would fly away and be at rest… Psalm 55:6

I need to practice this, this thing called rest. No, I can’t fly away and be at rest, but maybe, I can find ways to be better, more intentional, at rest when I return home from this blissful week of rest. One of my fellow leadership team members at work who is my direct supervisor and who I happen to greatly respect and admire had a “Mom” talk with me at work my last day before I left for vacation. She talked about rest and about finding and maintaining balance between work and family. She recognized something in me that she says is very similar in herself-we place high expectations on ourselves…a performance driven type of mentality. It is hard to transition from this type of mentality to one of intentional rest.

For this moment in time, I will savor the peaceful rest, the lulling sound of ocean waves, the laughter of those I am with, the beauty of no schedule. When I return home, I want to carry a piece of the ocean with me…I will fly away and be at rest, if only for a moment, to breathe and ask for His peace, His strength, His rest.

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