I realized recently that one of the reasons I struggle with rest is that I fear in resting I lose the ability to cope with stress in the future. In my job for example, I left a very emotionally draining position to take a step up into a position that I thought would support people in the position that I was leaving. It turns out, that while it is a better title for my resume, and I have learned some new things, it is a much less demanding and stressful job. Rather than resting and enjoying this new found peace, I find that I am creating work for myself, worried that I am not doing enough, that I should be doing more in the course of my week. All the while I continue to hear God say “rest”. Unfortunately, peace and quiet are not in my nature. Having been a single mother of three for thirteen years who went to school full time, worked full time, volunteered as their cheerleading coach, basketball coach, or team mom all while keeping up with most of their school activities, I have rarely before been in a position in my adult life to rest and relax. I feel guilty for even considering it. I want to help someone else who is struggling, by taking something off their plate. So, I take in extra children, do paperwork for other staff members, and ask for more work at every turn.
I mean, even my vacations consist of visiting more historical sites than anyone should plan for a weekend trip. I want to do it all and see it all while I can. Don’t get me wrong, I love to sleep! I’m not a night owl by any means. My husband jokes that its past my bedtime if the sun is setting. I’m an early bird. I want to get up early and get going. I strongly dislike sleeping in past 7 or 8 even on vacation. Daylight is burning and it’s a hot commodity! About three years ago on Spring Break I drove from Texas to California to visit my husband who had just weeks before taken a new job there. I loaded up one daughter, one granddaughter, two great nephews, and headed out for adventure. We didn’t get to leave until afternoon and drove until after midnight to Grants, New Mexico. After 4 hours of sleep we got up, fed everyone, gassed up, and hit the road with the intention of meeting my husband for dinner in California in about 10 hours. Along the way we saw signs for the Painted Desert, a once in a lifetime chance to show the kids the wonder of God’s handiwork. Next we found the petrified forest and of course we had to stop, then we had the great idea to get off the highway in Flagstaff to take the quick drive up to the southern edge of the Grand Canyon. See how quickly I get off course and think I can take on the world? Before we knew it, the drive to, across and back from the Grand Canyon took about 5 hours. By the time we actual arrived at the first sight seeking platform we were tired, behind schedule and unimpressed with the majesty of it all. We ended up meeting my husband at iHop after 10:00 pm and then went straight to our hotels to bed. The next morning we were up early and ready to see Los Angeles, which was only a 90 minute drive…without traffic. To make a long story short, we struggled to find the correct exit for a Starbucks on the way their that started the tension. We enjoyed lunch, the aquarium, and some beach fun at Santa Monica Pier and decided we should head back by 3:00 to avoid significant traffic. This happened to be the day that President Obama was visiting the area, therefore shutting down major freeways, and turning our 90 minute drive into 4 hours of car sickness and despair. Needless to say, we arrived back at our hotel after 7:00 pm, fed the kids and went straight to bed. I had not spent any time with my husband other than the drive to and from Los Angeles and we were leaving in the morning. I was too exhausted to even think straight. Told him good night and sent him back to his hotel alone. The next morning we left bright and early for a quick trip 2 hours to San Diego before heading to stay the night with friends in Yuma, Arizona on our way home. Luckily, it was a beautiful drive, the kids loved the beach, and Yuma was only 3 hours from San Diego. Thankfully my daughter refused to allow me to make any side trips this time, and kept us on schedule for dinner with friends after checking in to our hotel. The next morning we drove straight through and arrived home 17 hours after we ate breakfast in Yuma.
That’s how I run everything, I want to do it all. I want to see it all. I want to share it all with anyone and everyone who is willing to join me on the adventure. It’s exhausting to just think about, but I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Rest is not something I do willingly, unless it’s between the hours of 10:00 pm and 4:00 am. So, having come to this realization that what God really wants from me is rest, I am finally resigned to working on resting in His arms. So, the first question is how do I rest? I have little experience in this area. One way I am learning to rest is by listening to Everyday Genesis by Nika Maples on Audible for the second time. There is so much truth in this book that I am having to go through it again to pick up the bits and pieces that I missed the first time through. One of the things I’m learning is how to let our creator re-create me in His image with new mercies every morning. Listening to this book is like learning new things about God that I did not previously know. It is so refreshing to hear more about the awesome God we serve from such a deep and engaging author. For more information on her or to follow her blog just go to www.nikamaples.com. I appreciate any feedback on other authors or Bible passages I can add to my study on rest.