Last year at this time, I was teaching at a private school, an opportunity that richly blessed me and deeply challenged me. During last year’s experience I was wearing many hats. Most women do. My hats covered my position as a wife, mother of two incredible sons, friend, daughter, teacher, hobby farmer, and co-leader of a high school youth group.
My days would start at 4:30 a.m. to get the farm chores of milking, feeding the animals, and collecting eggs accomplished. I left for work by no later than 7 a.m. to get to school in time for the staff’s morning devotionals and any staff updates. School started at 8 a.m. ending at 3 p.m.
Arriving home around 6 or 6:30 p.m. I would clean up after dinner, put up the animals for the night, collect any errant eggs laid while I was at school and milk the goat one more time. After the boys were in bed, I would sit down to grade papers, etc. heading to bed around 11:30 p.m. or midnight. Then up again at 4:30 a.m.
By the time the school year ended my physical exhaustion was overtaken only by my emotional ineptitude to relate with my friends and family with the grace and love I wanted to give them. I was so far past empty I felt like I had left it in another time zone.
I don’t relate this as a martyrdom application, my point is, I chose those things. The problem was, doing all of this meant I had less to give elsewhere. I didn’t ask for help when I was overwhelmed. In truth, I thought asking for help was a weakness. I came from “strong farmer stock”, I should be able to handle long days. I was wrong.
Fast forward to this year.
After I took the boys to school this morning, I came home and rested. I went back to bed, deciding that dishes, laundry, and anything else I needed to do could wait. I slept for more than two hours. When I woke up I was better equipped for the tasks of the day.
Pay attention. Do you find that the longer you go without adequate sleep, the less capable you are to function well? The more fast food you eat, the more slowly you move? The more you say “yes” to, the less “yes” you have to offer when it is really needed?
Jesus knew what we needed. He knew rest was required to re-energize, refocus, and prepare us for the next thing. The words rest, rested, or resting, appear almost 350 times in Scripture. There is a reason. We are commanded to rest, God set the example in Genesis when He rested on the seventh day. He didn’t need to take a break, He was setting the standard for us.
So rest. Take a nap, take a walk, take a break, take a bath, watch a movie, hold your kids, hold your honey’s hand. Rest your body– it will rest your soul, you will be restored and then you will be ready to move for God.