It's been a strange summer that has forced me to really take a look at how I rest. I have my go-to stress relievers: music, reading, painting; but somehow my sources of relief were recently causing stress? I suffer from the disease of too much - too much doing, too much trying, too much striving...it could even be said that in my search for rest, I was trying too hard.
My husband and I took a weekend trip mid-summer and I brought along my normal "relaxing" items, some of which I was looking forward to finally getting to after long hard weeks at work. But somehow I didn't. I did nothing. And THAT somehow tired me out. The week following I was more exhausted than I had been.
I'm reminded of my days in college when the days leading up to finals filled with endless momentum and driving forward finally came to a crashing halt after the tests were over, and I had nothing more to give. Once the momentum stops, it's even harder to get going again...until you have the proper rest.
Proper rest. I thought I knew what that was. Bonnie Gray, author of "Spritual Whitespace: Awakening Your Soul to Rest" says "We try to control the journey of what a restful life ought to look like. But the journey of rest paved by faith is a living story. It cannot be contained. It is beautifully mysterious and personal." I like to contain things. I like when things fit into neat little packages and when 2+2 always equals 4. But the beauty of life is that this is not how it works. It is also the pain of life.
Thankfully, that first "exhausting" weekend trip was just what I needed to prepare for our big summer trip. A week and a half of mountain bliss. I'm not going to lie, it was not all blissful, I had my grumpy mornings and my husband and I had our disagreements, but what good relationship doesn't? Finally after a week in the mountains, I felt I could breathe again. And just when I was learning to rest for real...it was time to go back to work, and BAM huge pile of unexpected paperwork on my desk, a long stream of voicemails, and rumblings of more problems in the workplace. Sigh.
Life is a balance, and often it is about perspective. I am blessed to rest, and I am blessed to work. All I need to do is take the next step into what is right in front of me. God will lead the way.