Tell me, sweet mothers, when do you rest? When do you really take the time to sit down, stop cleaning and carpooling and cooking and washing faces? I can tell you: if you’re not being intentional about finding the time to rest, you aren’t ever resting.
Because this life, this mama-ness, this in-the-thick-of-it huge chaos-filled merry-go-round doesn’t grind to a halt on its own. No, you have to push the big red button marked STOP.
Oh, but this seems like an impossible task. Kids’ rear-ends don’t cease to need wiping just because we decide to sit down for a spell. That’s true. But, we need to find some time for quality rest and deep breaths and a little space. This is why God created the Sabbath. The Sabbath is for resting and for worshipping our Creator. But, once we’ve acquired a few kids, it starts to become almost unheard of to find that spot in our life where there’s room for true rest.
As Christian women, we experience a whirlwind of flying hairbows and tantrums over tights every Sunday morning. By the time we locate the Bibles and pens and offering and drag our moody bunch to church, we don’t exactly feel rested. In fact, I’d say that we feel pretty worn out. And maybe angry. And most definitely annoyed. And certainly not in much of a state of mind to worship.
And then church is over and we get the now starving children back into the car and we bring them home, locate all of the necessary changes of clothes since they CAN’T STAND THE TIGHTS for one more minute. And then we remember that we now must feed this ravenous bunch. So, we make lunch (or in my case, slap some sandwiches together). Then we clean up and we start thinking about those piles of laundry or how very disorganized the closets are or we have a school project to “help” a child with. Sometimes we even have ball practices or playdates or we go grocery shopping while daddy is home to stay with children.
Before we know it the afternoon is gone and Monday looms once again, and all we have done the entire day is rush and work and try to mark things off of a never-ending to do list. This doesn’t seem to look much like the Sabbath that the Father had in mind when He told us to keep it holy.
So, here’s what I’m suggesting for all of us, my sisters. We need a Sabbath rest. As mothers, we will NEVER STOP if we don’t make up our minds to do it. If we don’t stick to our weary guns and schedule time for serious rest, we will go on and on, day and night, never resting, never giving ourselves the chance to breathe, to reflect, or even to think.
Our Sabbath rest doesn’t have to happen on Sunday. But, it needs to happen somewhere in our week.
I found myself being run ragged with the duties of child-rearing and housekeeping. I felt like my job (full-time mother) was just completely consuming every moment of my existence. I never punched out. I was always on call. I could never relax in my own home because there were always jobs to be done no matter which direction I looked. So, I decided I was going to start a new policy in my life. I gave myself permission to sit on the couch on Sunday afternoons. I started napping if I felt like it. I said no to the children and didn’t feel bad about it. I decided that I would no longer play, cook, clean, or do a single load of laundry on Sunday afternoons. Pretty soon, my entire family understood that Sunday afternoon was a time of rest for me. And they let me rest.
It sounds dramatic to say that adopting this policy changed my life, so I won’t say that. But, it changed my attitude. It improved my morale. And it made me appreciate my job a lot more. I think maybe these are the kinds of benefits that God had in mind when He gave us the example of resting on the 7th day. Truly resting your mind, body, and spirit for some period of time each week just changes things.
But, we mothers are a hard group to convince of this truth. So, you heard it right here, ladies. I am charging you with giving yourself permission to take a Sabbath rest, whether it be on Sunday afternoon or Thursday morning. Make time for it. If you aren’t carving out the time to rest, you probably don’t even realize how badly you need it. God doesn’t do anything for no reason. There is great purpose and meaning behind His resting after He did all the work of creation.
So, go for it, Mamas! You need rest. Your Mom said so. Love to you in this wild and tiresome and wonderful journey.