“By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all His work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.” - Genesis 2:2-3 NIV
Hi friends. What a joy it is to be back in this space with you. I haven’t posted a blog since June and in some ways it feels like it’s been the longest four months or so, ever and in other ways it feels like just yesterday that I was writing and posting every week.
A lot has happened since June 6th, things that I plan to write about in detail. Things like getting married and having parties in Denver and in Pennsylvania. Things like moving in with Patrick and honestly having a pretty tumultuous first six weeks of being married. Things like having to see a counselor for anxiety and finding a lump in my breast, getting the IUD and entering my last year of my 20’s. Things like trying to finish out the year reading a book a week, adding a whole new group of people to my family and getting an Instant Pot.
I have a lot to catch you up on and I will in the next few weeks but today I want to talk to you about rest.
Recently I was reminded of the fact that humans were not made for constant motion. We weren’t created to just go, go, go. For the last few months, I feel like I haven’t stopped moving for more than just a second. We’ve been planning and planning and once one thing was done it felt like we immediately had to start planning something else and it was exhausting.
I felt like I didn’t have the energy to do anything. Once our final wedding celebration was over (we technically had three, more about that later) I just wanted to go home and crawl in to bed and stay there for a month. I’m not exaggerating when I say that we would make plans to go somewhere or do something and I would feel physically ill at the thought of leaving the house.
My belly would get tight, my heart would race and I’d just feel so sad over the thought of having to engage with anyone in my free time. It finally culminated with me feeling like we needed to cancel and bow out of some reoccurring weekly commitments and feeling like I need to take a break from volunteering and serving at church.
I had a meeting with our Pastor Mandy and my plan was to talk to her and tell her that I wouldn’t be able to serve anymore. Instead what happened was that we sat down and I told her everything that I was feeling and she gave me the most thoughtful and encouraging advice. Where I thought I’d receive words of disappointment from Pastor Mandy, instead I received understanding. The biggest takeaway from our meeting, was feeling like I had permission to do something that God has wanted me and all of us to be doing from the beginning. I was given permission to rest.
Before talking to Pastor Mandy I felt guilty for taking time for myself and for things that bring me joy. I felt like I didn’t have time to just sit and read because there were songs to practice and scriptures to read, friends to call and a husband to love. I thought that I was honoring God by filling my schedule to the brim, my time was being used for him. I was using my time for commitments to church and ministry. I was using my time for my relationship and planning our wedding and improving our marriage. I was using my time for people that God had brought in to my life and trying to make them feel loved and like I was present in their lives. ‘I don’t have time to rest,’ I thought, because I’m doing God’s work
Pastor Mandy reminded me that rest IS a part of God’s work. She encouraged me to start scheduling time, once a week, where all we do is rest. A time where you don’t do anything that drains you of energy or makes you feel like you’re working. A time where you spend each minute refilling your tank. She also reminded me that God didn’t just rest but he ALSO made it a commandment that we, weekly, take a day of rest ourselves. It’s not simply a suggestion or something he modeled for us, it’s a concept the God values so much that he made it one of the commandments.
Since that day Patrick and I have been intentional about having one day each week where we only do things that make us feel rested and give us energy. A day where we don’t clean or go grocery shopping or have important relationship talks or create a budget for the month. It’s a day where we read and watch movies and sit by the fire and just enjoy each others company and do things that bring us joy.
We’ve only been doing this for a few weeks but it has made such a drastic improvement in our lives. I feel a lot less anxious about my life and all of the tasks that fill it, since I started prioritizing periods of rest. I feel like I can swim or at least tread water in areas of my life where for a while I felt like I was drowning. If you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed with life and your schedule, I encourage you to experiment with a rest day. It doesn’t have to be during the weekend or even a consecutive 24 hours but maybe you start off by having one night a week where you don’t make any plans and you do the things that give you energy and bring you joy.
I wouldn’t be writing this blog right now if it wasn’t for my rest day. Writing give me energy and fills my heart with joy but I felt like it wasn’t something I could make time for in the face of all of my responsibilities. Now it’s a permanent fixture on my schedule. I’m not worried about whether or not I’ll be able to blog regularly anymore because I know that my rest day is coming and in it lies time for writing.
So get ready for regular blogs from little ole married, well rested, instant pot using, lump finding, ME. Blogs of honestly and sincerity. Blogs that ask tough questions and seek answers. Blogs about God, love, justice, hate, candy and marriage. I’m back and I’m so dang happy about it. Until next time friends!