Learning to Rest

I tend to get things done. It’s who I am, and God obviously put me here for a reason. But one of the hardest things for me to learn is to take time off. My mother is the same way: ever a busy bee, puttering around the house, making bread, doing the million things that moms need to do in order to keep their family fed – not to mention handling her half of running the family business. She tears out walls and starts big projects. I have ongoing online projects, manuscripts, and other things.

And deep down, it’s hard for me just to take a day off. I joked to a friend recently that my life really must stink if I have to have her come over for the weekend just so I stop working! It is as if somewhere along the way, I stopped doing things just for the sake of enjoyment, or having fun. If it did not seem to be “going anywhere,” I would drop it. In many ways, my life epitomizes the bottom line of The Godfather: “it’s not personal, it’s business.” In the back of my mind is a constant monologue asking, “How will this benefit your life? Will doing it be productive?”

God told the Israelites to work six days, and rest on the seventh. We may not be out there doing manual labor, but this is His hint to us that we need to stop. We need to give our mind a break. We need to once in awhile just take a day to be peaceful.

Last Friday, our weather was gorgeous. The wind had stopped blowing (it blows from about September until May) and it was warm enough that a few of our trees are even budding far too early. I shut off my computer for the day and just… went outside. I helped my parents move some furniture around at the main house. (We don’t live together.) I sat and ate my lunch on the boulder outside my front door. I opened all the windows and let the air flow through. I spent about two hours just talking with my parents. I walked the dog and watched him swim in the pond from the crook of a tree. I did not write a single thing, I did not check my e-mail, or tumblr, or anywhere else until the end of the day… and it felt good. Maybe I didn’t make progress on my book, but I made progress in my heart. I gave my mind a rest. It was what I needed.

I need to learn to have fun again, to do things “just because,” to give myself permission to lay on the couch and have a Harry Potter marathon if I feel like it. I need to decide to go do things just because I can, and I want to get out of the house. I need to learn to unplug and step back from the internet and draw and hoop and paint the different rooms in my house, and spend time playing with my new juicer, and writing real letters to my friends because that is what is best for me, body and soul. God wants us to be productive, but He also wants us to rest. I’m really good at being productive… but I need to learn to rest.

6 Replies to “Learning to Rest”

  1. Oops. Posted this on the wrong blog post. Sorry about that! 🙂 This is also a great post. It’s true: we do need to take a rest… think, relax: I am in the learning stage of this: Enjoying life and the blessings we have.

  2. It’s a hard thing isn’t it, resting. I know God asks it of us, though. I am trying to NOT do school stuff on Sundays and just relax–read a book, watch a movie without multitasking (something I never really do anymore) and yes, some days I feel guilty about it. We’re in this together!

  3. Great post, Charity!

    I have been leaving the computer off more often (although not this week!) and taking a step away from all things Internet / writing also because I think it is good, and in its own way, “productive” to do so. My personality isn’t a “busy” one though, I do know how to relax and enjoy myself… most of the time. =)

    1. The irony is that I’m kind of lazy when it comes to everything else. I need to find a good balance between physical laziness and mental busy-ness…

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