It’s funny because I actually wrote this blog back in May about finding time to rest, and it’s now, at the end of the summer, that I’m feeling the need for it more than ever.
It’s just a season. I keep thinking to myself (or complaining to Daniel), it’s just a season. This season is hard with a toddler who isn’t in full-time school, who throws fits and doesn’t always listen, who makes tiny messes EVERYWHERE, but it’s just a season. Once we get through this, it will get WAY better. But that’s a lie. Then we move on to the season of carting your kids around to piano, soccer, swim, gymnastics. We move on to being the chauffeur and logistics liaison. Then after that, there’s the teenage drama (I don’t even want to think about that part yet), and so on and so forth. Even after that then there’s the time when you’re taking care of your own parents as they get older. So at the end of the day, yes there are seasons, but we probably won’t rest in those either. Life doesn’t slow down for us.
Vaca from my Vaca. We try and find rest on the weekends. BAHAHAHA. Then, we take vacations (with and without the nugget), but have you really ever felt rested after a vacation? I usually need a vaca from my vaca. OR on most Sundays you can find Daniel and I at church, somewhere after for Sunday brunch (if you don’t love brunch we might not be able to be friends) and then a nice afternoon of Netflix binging, and even still, after all that (which sounds like the perfect day to me actually), I still don’t feel rested. I don’t feel joyful or at peace about the next week’s demands weighing on my mind. Doesn’t everyone start the decline into depression on Sundays with Monday looming? Oh, just me?
Summer with kids. Take this summer for example: It’s my first summer with a child that I had a very flexible work schedule. At first I didn’t know what to do with myself or felt lazy, but I soon embraced the summer schedule and fully took advantage by sleeping in when kennedy did, doing more with friends on “school nights” and just not worrying about a strict schedule. But now instead of leaving me feeling rested and relaxed, I feel even more anxious and tired. What I realized is that with a summer lax schedule I wasn’t making time for God in my normal routines. We were traveling a lot, and I was feeling a distance grow between me and the only One who can really replenish me. And as a disclaimer, I love summer, I love a glass of wine on a Tuesday with friends and neighbors, I LOVE traveling! But I realized I was missing out on tapping in to the presence of Jesus in the mean time.
So once I started feeling this way, exhausted and distant, I could do one of two things: start to feel guilty and distant (which is my usual go-to) or stop and just draw close – go confidently to the throne of grace.
HOW DO I REST?! So, how do we find the real rest we need to make it? There’s really only ONE place we can find real peace…real rest…real joy. We were only meant to find rest in Jesus, tapping into the presence of the almighty God in our lives. For me it’s quality time with Him (that’s my love language so it makes sense). How is it that you feel close to Him? Is it sitting outside? Is it QT with coffee? Is it worship? Figure out how you feel Him the most and make time for that. CHOOSE to tap into His presence because that is the only time we will find the real rest and rejuvenation we need to meet all of the demands we have on our lives. We CANNOT do it without Him. So tap in, be present in that moment with Him so He can fill you up with all you need for the day. I swear to this that especially on days when I feel like I have way too much to do to stop and spend time with Him that when I actually do stop and read some Scripture, journal a bit, or talk to God, those are the days I am even more productive, more joyful about all of the demands, and feel more accomplished.
To-Do Lists. And just so you don’t start adding one more to-do to your list, causing you even more anxiety, rest in this: His affection for me hasn’t been affected when I don’t, my performance can’t affect God’s love for me. It’s my awareness of His presence that is affected and therefore I miss out on that rest and peace we all get from tapping in to His presence. Nothing we do or DON’T do, will affect His love and faithfulness to me (THANK GOODNESS). Praise God for the summers with our kids, but also praise God that his mercies are new each morning, His grace is sufficient even when we are prone to wander, and He just wants us to run to Him and rest.
James 15 is one of my favorite chapters of the Bible which always reminds me to stop and ABIDE (walk closely) with Him because I pretty much suck without Him. It’s also tattooed on my body so I am always reminded (sorry mom – she hates tattoos).
Real rest isn’t a Netflix binge (although I love those). Real rest in only found in abiding in Jesus.
So even when you feel distant because you haven’t been able to spend any time with Him in months (or years) because you’ve been in survival mode trying to keep your kids alive, draw near to Him, because He will draw near to you, it’s a promise.
“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” James 4:8