Rest. It seems like this has become a dirty word in our society. Our lives have become a competition to see who is busier. If you aren’t busy then you aren’t productive. You aren’t making use of your time or, even worse, you are lazy.
I don’t buy into this nonsense. I have never been someone who fills my days to the brim and never takes time to relax. Some days are busier than others and with two kids going to different schools my days can become busy quickly. However, over the past three and a half years I have tried to take life slowly and only involve myself in things that I actually want to do and find beneficial. Staying at home with my kids made me slow down and I wanted to slow down. That was part of the reason I wanted to stay home in the first place.
Even though I intentionally look for time to rest each day it can be difficult to find. I have a five year old and a three year old. That should tell you everything you need to know right there. My kids still need me quite frequently and I spend a lot of my day focused on trying to raise them to be good people. Plus getting food and snacks… so many snacks.
Moms have a hard time seeking out rest and relaxation. I think most moms know that they need it. There are two main problems that moms face when it comes to actually taking the time. First, finding the time can be pretty hard. A lot of it depends on how available and willing your spouse is to take over the childcare duties. My husband is pretty good at helping out and giving me time to myself. He does travels some for work though, so when he is gone there is much less room for me to take a breather. The second problem the simple fact that relaxing brings on the guilt. We feel that we should be spending that time whittling down our to do list or spending the time with our kids. I know that since I began staying home I have felt an increase in guilt for relaxing, especially when the kids are at school, because staying at home is my job. I am supposed to be filling this time up with getting things done, not taking a nap, reading a book, or watching an episode of a show. What I have figured out about myself though, is that this time is essential for my mental health. I am a much better, happier mom when I get a break and can focus on myself for even an hour. I am an introvert and I need solitude and time to myself to be restored. It is not optional. I have had many times throughout the past three and a half years where I was extremely unhappy due to not getting much alone time. I am a much more pleasant mother and wife when I focus on myself a little each day.
If you are still looking for a reason why you need to rest then guess what? It is biblical. God likes rest and He likes it a lot. In Genesis 1:5 God is creating light and darkness and separating them. “And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.” What is interesting is that we tend to see the start of the day as morning when the sun rises. However, God put evening and darkness first. He put the period of rest first and then the period of activity and light. God is showing how important rest is for our daily lives.
Even God takes a rest. Once He created the heavens and the earth He rested on the seventh day and made it a holy day because He rested. He wanted his creation, people, to also rest from their normal activities on this day. Having this mandated holy day is a great way to rest, reflect, and even build your relationship with God.
There are so many examples of scripture that pertains to rest. A quick Google search will reveal more Biblical passages about rest than you can use. One of my favorites is from Psalm 127:2 which reads. “In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat— for He grants sleep to those He loves.” This hits home for so many of us. We work so hard trying to do all the things, but for what outcome? We spend so much of our time doing things or worrying about things that aren’t very important. God is saying that if we slow down that He will grant us the rest and peace we need. This is so powerful and applicable to most people.
Rest doesn’t have to mean, physically resting. It can be spiritual or emotional rest as well. The main takeaway from all of this is that “rest” is important for everyone. Rest will look different for each individual. Your mission is to prioritize rest and figure out what rest looks like for you. You will not only be a happier person, but you will grow in your relationship with God. Making time for rest will probably always be something you work on. I know it is something I still struggle with some days. This past week I actually did fairly well with it and that is why I haven’t posted anything here in a week. When I wasn’t busy with the millions of things moms do everyday I snuck in some downtime and even took a few naps. It was heavenly.
And remember… you are important. God says you are important. Make sure you believe it as well and take time for yourself without any guilt. Now go and take a nap.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
– Matthew 11:28