Intentional Rest?!?!

Today a good friend of mine posted a status on Facebook about being intentional about what goes on on their days off.  Her thoughts were that if they just laid around all day, watching movies, that they just didn’t feel good about their day–and she needs to feel good about her day.  My answer to her post was that a day off is not supposed to be scheduled or intentional–it’s supposed to be a day off!

If you know me, you know that I like nothing more than a day off!  I am a single mom of 3 daughters, I work a full time 40 hour job plus my photography business plus my Disney travel agent stint.  I can’t wait for days that I can do nothing but lay on the couch and watch a movie….and I never feel bad about it at the end of the day!  Now that doesn’t mean my way is the best, or even that I must be lazy!  The truth is… I’m tired!

Now, you must know my dear, sweet friend to understand where she is coming from.  She is the perfect wife and mother. ( I can hear her burst out laughing right now with her Southern twangy laugh and asking her husband, who is probably sitting 2 feet away, where I ever got the idea that she was a perfect wife and mother?!?!  Or she’d be laughing and say “Yeah, right!  Hey, Billy, Monica thinks I’m perfect!”.)  You see, Shanna is the mother of 5–yes, 5 children and the wife of a grown man, who is the perfect husband and father. (She is now laughing even harder and telling her husband that I said HE’S perfect!  Laugh on, RamFam!)  I say they are perfect in that they have this family dynamic that is to bless and love each other, and bless and love their children, and bless and love their friends and family (I realize that I just broke the dreaded “and” grammar rule about having too many “and”s in a sentence, but it just felt right)  This woman is not only a wife and a mother (of 5!!), but she also has her own business, yet she still has time to bless those around her AND give her family the time and attention they need.  Her Facebook statuses are a plethora of things they have done with their kids or with each other.  I get exhausted just reading about her life!! (You can read about their life on her hilarious blog)  I take days off in honor of her !!

I will admit, and I have admitted this to her, that when I first met her, I did not want to like her.  I won’t go into the reasoning behind my dislike, but I had decided before I met her that I would not like her.  Try as I could, there was nothing about this woman that I could dislike about her(except perhaps that she has 5 children, her house is clean and she always has something exciting planned for her clan!).  I grew to love her—in like 5 days.  We don’t see each other often, but when we do it’s always like we had just seen each other the day before–it’s comfortable, it’s wonderful and I adore and love her in so many ways.

Anyway….back to the purpose of this blog!  When I read her status, I chided her a bit about her need to plan things, and feeling that they wasted a day by not doing anything.  Her “go-to” plan, if they don’t have a plan, is to –WORK!!  What kind of rest is there in work?!?!   This got me thinking all day about the idea of ” rest”….

Nothing against my sweet friend, but is there such a thing as “intentional rest”?  A rest where we make a plan for the day…is that really “rest”?   If our day of rest includes a hike or an outing, does that really count as rest?   Can we actually plan what we will do to rest?  I thought about God.  After He spent all this time creating the Heavens and the Earth, He rested!  It didn’t say he rested, then he reached back down to Earth and straightened the Aspen trees, or dusted the beaches of San Diego.  It says “He rested”.  He sat back and marveled at what He had done and enjoyed what He had created!

I remember when I was a kid, there was a little boy that lived two houses down from us.  On Sunday his whole family just rested.  They could not do anything (watching TV was included in this!).  I remember being outside, riding our bikes in front of his house so he could see us and waving at him because we knew he could not come outside. (Yea, we were brats, but he was a bigger brat and we felt he deserved it! Sorry, David, you were!)  His parents were very religious and believed that they were honoring God by doing absolutely nothing but going to church, and going home to nap or read the Bible (the only two things they were allowed to do).  Did they actually have it right?  Or was that too extreme?

I think we have gotten so busy in our lives that we forget what resting is all about.  I looked up the word “Rest” in the dictionary.  Rest means:  refreshing ease or inactivity after exertion or labor; relief or freedom from anything that wearies, troubles or disturbs; to refresh oneself; tranquility.   Wow!  Are your days of rest refreshing?  Or are you just as tired at the end of a “restful” day as you are from a busy day? Do you find relief from your troubles or worries on your day of rest?  Do you find some tranquility in your day of rest?  

Perhaps my dear, sweet friend has to schedule things on her day of rest because she does have so many children, God bless her!  I think sometimes as mothers we tend to forget about ourselves, or put ourselves on the back burner.  I know I’ve said to myself many times…one day the girls will be gone and then I will rest.  I know that’s a mantra that so many moms take upon themselves, but the truth is, we need to rest!  We cannot keep up with our busy schedules, plans, work, etc…if our bodies get sick or we wear ourselves to exhaustion.  It doesn’t hurt children to do nothing for a day, or even an afternoon.  It doesn’t hurt children to make them sit in their rooms and rest.  Our children are so busy that they probably could use the rest as well.  Where does it say that we have to keep going all the time?  Or that we have to keep our children entertained 24/7?   I know I’m the first to admit that I allow my children to over do it.  When they were dancing they were gone at least 5 out of 7 nights/days a week.

I really hope that the words I’ve written have not offended anyone—especially my wonderful friend.  I know it’s hard for her to rest because it isn’t in her to be “lazy” and somewhere along the line, laziness and resting became the same thing, but they aren’t, and that is one thing she is not-lazy!   I do, however, hope that I am leaving you with some things to think about, and I hope that you can find a way to rest from your busy lives…

Do you have a day of rest?  What do you do on your day of rest?

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