Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest. – Mark 6:31(NIV)
I ain’t as young as I used to be. Back in the day, I’d clean the entire house—a good cleaning—in two days, and wash all the windows and curtains and drapes in one. And that’s with refereeing three kids, two cats, and one dog on the side. And getting supper and gardening. Nowadays I’m lucky to get one room cleaned a week. If I do anything that requires physical exertion one day, I have to take it easy the next. And there’s just hubby and me.
Which is why I don’t mind forgoing the social butterfly thing and being a quiet homebody. But the past couple of months have been unusually busy: three trips to Colorado in as many months (I never realized before how traveling can knock the stuffing out of you), a week-long writers conference, then coming home to clean the house and prepare for my daughter’s two-week visit. By the time she pulled up to the house with her two boys, I’d already been running on “E” (exhaustion) for longer than I cared to think about. My body screamed “REST!”
So for the two weeks she’s home, I’m sleeping in until nine (unless my grandson gets me up), doing only what’s necessary to keep up with my freelance work (which amounts to maybe five hours a week), forgoing planning meals and activities for going with the flow. On Wednesday night, I stayed up until 2 a.m. reading. I haven’t done that in a long time.
When a friend commented Facebook that she “will attempt to squeeze a lot into one day,” I replied that I “will attempt to squeeze in as little as possible, but include the following: read, spend time in the hammock and in my son’s pool, play games with the grandkids, go to my grandson’s minor league all star baseball championship game, and read until 2 a.m. again.” It’s a good thing I knew what I was going to write about and had this column outlined already, because as soon as I send it off, I’m going to join the grandkids in the pool.
Fun. Idleness. Rest. Quiet. Nothing wrong with those. When God created us, he didn’t make us Energizer Bunnies. He fashioned human beings with bodies and minds and spirits that need rest. And to make sure we got the message, He included a day of rest a week in the Big Ten and mentioned the importance of rest several places in His Word. When Elijah, exhausted from the intense battle he’d just waged and won, fled to the desert, God gave him the rest he needed (1 Kings 19). And who can forget the words of David the shepherd: “He makes me to lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside still waters, he restores my soul” (Psalm 23:2-3).
Feeling like you’re running on “E”? Carve out time for rest. Find those green pastures and still waters. Sit on the beach and watch the waves. Or on the back porch and watch the leaves. Or lie on your back in the grass and gaze at the clouds floating across the sky.
Rest isn’t a sin. It’s a necessity.
Dear God, teach me to rest. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Mark 6:30-32