We need it. Long for it. Avoid it. And feel guilt when we indulge in it.
In a culture where productivity and climbing the ladder of success are both highly valued, we don’t often take the time we need to rest. To sit. To read a book or take a bath or watch a movie mid-afternoon.
And if we do rest without seemingly having a reason – like sickness or vacationing or napping when the newborn is napping or healing from a surgery (you know those few times in our life when people insist we just rest) – we feel we need to give a reason, an excuse, an answer to why we are lying on the couch on a weekday afternoon.
It’s 1 o’clock on a Tuesday. Why are you lying there? Are you okay? Are you sick?
Can we all agree that resting needs to be normalized? Even more so – encouraged. Celebrated.
During the pandemic, we all were forced to take a collective rest. A time out from our busy schedules and the demands of the day-to-day. While there was uncertainty and stress, there also seemed to be a giant sigh of something – I don’t know what – maybe relief? Our social feeds became evidence of what was happening in our homes.
We found ways to pass the time and embrace the space we now had.
We baked bread. Watched movies. Went on family bike rides. Took naps. Learned new recipes and hobbies.
Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?
It seemed like maybe we were starting to recognize the value in taking a pause from the busyness to simply be present with those in our homes – and to do those things that had become squeezed out by our margin-less schedules. Those things that breathed life into our souls.
When the schedule was stripped away, we were allowed to rest without reason or excuse.
And I had hoped to carry those lessons learned with me, but I have to admit – finding rest is becoming hard these days.
I have to embrace it and not feel guilty about it, and sometimes that’s not so easy. I can feel the weight of the things I should be doing pressing down on me. The house needs decluttered and the laundry needs put away and the weeds need pulled and the errands need run and the kids need picked up……….
But in the back of my mind and in the depths of my heart and soul I know this to be true – rest is good for me. It’s good for you. It’s good for all of us.
God, the Creator of the heavens and the earth rested on the seventh day. Jesus rested. the Bible encourages us to take one day out of the week for Sabbath. For rest.
So, let’s normalize it. Encourage it. And celebrate it. We don’t need to have our toes in the sand on a beach to be allowed to read a book.
When we ask someone to hang out, they don’t have to have something on their calendar to decline the invitation.
When we see open space on the calendar, we don’t have to fill it.
And when we feel like doing nothing on a random weekday afternoon, that’s okay.
Because sometimes, resting is the most productive thing we can do in the moment. It recharges us, centers us and gives our bodies and minds the space we need.
From now on, if someone tells me they aren’t doing a thing, or they are just going to read a book or take a nap or go on a long, leisurely stroll, or lie on a hammock so they can feel the sun kiss their cheeks – I will give them a giant smile and enthusiastically cheer them on.