Monday, August 08, 2011

I Stink at Resting

Now, before you rush to judgment and think, "this is one of those posts where the writer thinks they're divulging a character flaw while really being all look-at-me, I'm so awesome I can't even stop my awesomeness to take care of myself," let me assure you, it's not.

I really stink at resting.  I waste time with the best of them.  I watch television shows that take hours of my life I'll never get back (Design Star being my newest fascination).  I play sudoku and solitaire before bed to make my brain stop doing somersaults with the information in my head.  But, I'm terrible at resting, actual God-commanded-I-feel-re-energized-when-I'm-finished resting.

Take today for example.  I had a really long week last week and worked 16 hours yesterday.  I needed to rest today and I made up my mind last night to do just that.  It started out pretty well when my son jumped in bed on top of me at 5:30 this morning and my sweet husband swept him up and took him from our room so that I could go back to sleep.  I managed to fall back asleep (a huge feat for me) and stayed asleep until 7:30.  I got up and played with Jake for awhile, ate a bowl of cereal and then headed to the gym.  Really I was too tired to go to the gym, but I told myself I would feel better after I went - I didn't.  I just felt more tired and frustrated with what had been a lame work-out b/c I was too tired to push.  I came home, showered and got dinner started in the crock-pot.  I ran two quick errands and landed, at all places, in my office.  (Again, this is not "I'm an awesome workaholic, please pity me" post).  I was not there to work.  I was there to grab lunch from the food leftover after yesterday's volunteer appreciation breakfast and lunch.  I ate, checked facebook, tried to upload our Rwanda video to youtube, failed and decided to move on.  I had a gift card to Kohl's in my purse that I thought I could go use.  I got there, realized I was too tired to get enjoyment out of walking around the store without a purpose (not unusual, I'm not a big shopper) and left.  Then I sat in my car...

I felt trapped.  My husband was at work, the babysitter was at the house with Jake and I really wanted to be at home watching a movie, falling asleep in the couch or reading a good book.  Only, I didn't want to go home where I could do those things b/c the babysitter is there and I'm worried she'll think I'm a slacker.  Plus, if I go home there will be cleaning and laundry and 80 other things that need to be done.  I contemplated going to the movie theater to see something, but there's nothing out that I want to see now that I've seen the final Harry Potter.

Now it's 1:30, I'm stressed that I only have 2 1/2 more hours before I go home and the babysitter leaves and I'm sad that I've squandered a rare opportunity to do whatever I want and simply rest.  

What's wrong with me?  Or, shall I say, "what's wrong with us?" because I'm guessing I'm not the only one like this.  We all live hectic, over-booked lives and we wait until we're at breaking point to rest and then we don't know how to do it.  Our list of "things I'll do when I get a free minute" is too long and our rest debt, much like our national debt, is too high to solve in one day.  We need to make serious changes to our lifestyle, but the truth is we're too tired to really think about it.

Hmm, I wonder if this is why God felt the need to make a regular routine of rest a command.  He knew we would be bad at it.  He knew we were just arrogant enough to believe we could go on forever without it.  So, how do we get back?  What does real rest look like?  How do we change our culture to encourage healthy, life-giving rest?

I need you blogosphere - help me.  How do you rest?  How do you help and encourage the people around you to rest?