When you hear the word “rest,” what picture immediately comes to your mind? For me, I usually imagine myself sitting down with a cup of coffee to watch a movie or read a book. Maybe even just listening to music, but with no agenda (Honestly it doesn’t really matter what exactly is happening, as long as I don’t have anywhere to be and a cup of coffee is involved.)
Our culture is incredibly fast-paced. We tend to praise those people who seem to embody the human version of the energizer bunny. You know who I’m talking about - those people we see on social media who are clearly busy conquering the world, volunteering for a million different organizations, and somehow STILL making time to cook amazingly healthy home-cooked meals for the family and all the neighbors. As a reaction to that, I also see a lot of posts to counteract the mentality that you have to be on-the-go all the time. You probably know exactly what I’m talking about with those social media posts too; they usually involve an artsy photo of a book and a hot beverage and include a subtle (or not so subtle) reminder to take space and time to be alone and clear your head.
Personally, I don’t think either side is wrong: I just think there’s a healthy balance between the two. This topic has been on my mind a lot lately because, let’s be real, most everything I blog about is a reaction to what is currently going on in my life. In the past few months I’ve had a lot of really fun and exciting opportunities come up, and I’ve been grateful (if not surprised) at how encouraging people have been as I’ve started to publicly share my story. Along with that opportunity has come a much busier schedule than I’ve been used to - I have two jobs so I work every day and am learning how to balance work along with a social life. I’ve also gotten a chance to meet a lot of new people and have found myself going out to do way more social things than I used to. (That may not seem significant, but I’ve always been a pretty introverted person, so this new-found desire to be out with people most of the time is somewhat of a new thing for me.)
I say all of that NOT to complain in the slightest - for real. I consciously chose to work two jobs (both of which I’m extremely grateful for), and I’m absolutely loving getting to meet and gain relationship with new faces in Nashville. The reason why I’m saying any of this is to help me process finding a healthy balance between being on-the-go all the time and knowing when I need rest.
Here’s my thoughts: I love the thought of being able to have long periods of complete silence and solitude every day. I also think it’s incredibly important to let your mind, body, and spirit relax so you’re not running yourself ragged. Running on empty doesn’t fulfill anyone, and it sure won’t help you pour back into other people. But, does rest need to mean you have to stop everything for a period of time so you can journal and reflect? That sounds great (and that time is great - I love the moments I get to myself), but it’s not realistic to say it’s the only way you can rest and rejuvenate. Personally, I think our idea of rest is a bit too “American-ized.”
I think of single parents with several kids, a full-time job, and not a lot of support - probably not super easy to get that “quiet” time every day. In my opinion, that doesn’t mean they’re doing something wrong, it just means their reality is different than someone who does have the ability to get in that quiet time. Even more than that, think about other world cultures. Call me ignorant, but I have a hard time imagining the typical person living in Mozambique waking up to a fresh pot of french roast while they pull out the latest best-seller at Barnes & Noble before leaving home for the day.
So, if I’ve come to the place where I recognize that my body still needs rest but that my current season of life doesn’t leave room for a lot of lazy days, what do I do? Per usual in my blogs, I’m still figuring that out. Probably the biggest realization in the last few weeks is recognizing the importance of intentionality. I’m busy, but all 24 hours of my day is not filled to the minute. It’s really tempting to waste time scrolling through Instagram when I have a free moment, but I’ve realized how much more relaxed I am when I choose to go phone-free instead. My mind suddenly has space to calm down rather than go into hyper-comparison mode. Making simple decisions like to pray as I drive to work instead of mentally mapping out my day can look like rest too. Or maybe, instead of making a phone call every time I get into my car, I drive in silence and just reflect to myself.
These past few months have been a time of recognizing that I won’t be able to do everything - being intentional about why I’m saying yes (or no) to something gives me more confidence in my decisions about what to invest in and what to let go.
Also, maybe most importantly, I’m CONSTANTLY recognizing that I’m human and I fail. A lot. I often don’t give people the time they deserve. Or sometimes I say yes to a lot of things, over-exert myself, and then feel grumpy about it. BUT, some days, I feel like I’m starting to get it right. Even if I’m constantly moving, I’m realizing how sweet and wonderful opportunities are, and recognizing how to slow myself down even when I’m physically still going.
All of that to say, I think it’s okay this season looks different for me. I think it’s okay that I’m still figuring out how to balance everything and what rest really looks like - both physically and emotionally. If you’re reading this, be at ease if you also find yourself navigating through this struggle, no matter what your schedule looks like. Everyone’s life is unique to themselves, and no one needs to feel guilty just because someone else’s “rest” looks different than their own. If you take away anything from this post, I’d say to wake up every day and choose intentionality over quantity. And no matter what is going on in your life, remember to be patient and give yourself grace - we all rely on it.