Rest

It's Wednesday friends. Hump Day. I think that's supposed to mean the week starts to get better, but, I kid you not, Wednesdays are just rough. I actually read somewhere a few years ago that a woman looks her worst on Wednesday afternoon at 3:35 pm. I believe it. I always have high hopes for Wednesday, but rarely are they achieved. I think I need to reevaluate my Hump Day outlook.

Remember my post on Margins a few days ago? I apparently thought it wise to totally ignore myself, and said 'Yes' to a LOT this week. Couple that with what seems to be a growth spurt and/or food reaction and/or general threenager and a baby who thinks afternoon naps are the most ridiculous thing ever, and I feel like I've worked a 50 hour week in 3 days. (I've done that before. Not recommended.) When I have weeks like this, my tendency is to do two things: 1) take lots of 'breaks' by hiding myself in either aimlessly scrolling through social media or reading random blogs that I 'need' to catch up on, and 2) push myself to do all the things that aren't getting done. These are usually the 'basics', like laundry and dishes, and I feel like those things should be done regardless of what is going on. (Those shoulds, I tell you...) When, in reality, what I need is REST.

We live in a society that does not value rest. At least, not until you've 'earned' it. "Work hard, play hard" we say. So we work til we're in a frenzy and burnt out, then we play til we're exhausted and need a break from all the going and doing...and then the cycle starts over. What about actually resting? Not vegging in front of the TV (which I totally did last night and it was kind of awesome), but really finding something that rests not just our bodies, but our brains and our souls as well? I'm horrible at this; both of my parents (I love you!) struggle with it and I inherited that tendency. Mom is FAR more laid back than dad is, but I recall many a time yelling up the stairs 'Stop doing dishes and just sit down!' I can apparently tell other people how to rest, I just don't do it myself. Friday night is a perfect example. Jim took a break from homework and we watched a movie. But I had to get up to make a snack, then to pee, then to...I don't even know. I can't just sit. I feel like I'm being lazy and unproductive.

And being a mom...oh, don't even get me started. We put SUCH pressure on ourselves! "I'm the mom, I have to do it." "Pull up those bootstraps and get it done." Some days, this may be true, but a lifestyle of it? No. I've finally decided that it's not worth it. We're human. We were made to live in community, not driving 20 minutes just to see another person to share our life with. In other cultures, in past centuries even here, woman lived and worked and did the day to day together, like, physically, not online. (hard to fathom, I know) I have had quite a few days this year where we decided as a family that we'd make do and have Jim take a day off so I could rest. I've driven to a friend's house at 7 am, given her my children and slept in her spare bedroom until 2 pm. I've finally given in to letting my mother in law do dishes and laundry while she's here and not feel guilty about it, but just say 'thank you!'

It may be at a snail's pace, but I'm learning that rest isn't a luxury, it's a necessity.

We can't give of ourselves if we're depleted. We can't energize others or care for kids or be engaged with our families or work if we're not engaged with ourselves. (that came out weird. but I'm keeping it.) And boy am I ever preaching to myself here. Being a mom isn't being a martyr. Being an employee isn't either, or a whatever. They are roles, parts of us, but they are not us. Regardless of our stage of life, we were created with a unique and amazing design and specific characteristics to reflect God's glory. It may come out in our various roles, but those roles do not define us, God does. And to be at our best, at our highest potential, sometimes, we just have to let it go and rest.

Today, that looked like forgetting some of the to-dos and taking a walk after preschool with the boys. Let me tell you, that instinct SAVED me today. I adore nature and the weather in October is amazing. We had a rough afternoon after that, but it gave me just enough energy to push through. Usually on Wednesdays, I go to yoga downtown. Jim takes the boys to church and goes to a marriage class. Yes, you read that correctly. My husband is at church learning how to work on our marriage, and I'm at yoga. And it's perfect for us right now. Our marriage is better because both of these things provide us rest and reprieve individually, which brings us closer together as a couple. Since the baby ended up going to bed at 6, I volunteered to stay home and do yoga a different day this week. Because today, rest for me looks like writing this post and cleaning my house. It may not sound restful to you, but once it's done, I guarantee you I will look around, smile, and breathe a gigantic sigh of relief.

Here's to rest, to finding what fills you, and to my husband...who did the dishes and brought me a large glass of wine as I sat on the couch before he left. He's the best.