I have tried to write this post on several different occasions now and I just can’t seem to string the words together. Some of it has to do with my own distractions and the frequent indulgence in said distractions.
However, I think my hesitation and struggle goes deeper than just that. I think the real reason I am struggling to write is that this is something I am currently walking through. Wresting with. Learning from. Winning some, failing more.
Lately, I have been failing way more than winning which is why I think it is hard for me to write about this stage of life. By no means do I have this all figured out. If it comes out clumsy or not entirely clear, that is why.
So, what has got this lady all bent out of shape?
Rhythms. Routines. Responsibilities. Rest.
The intersection of these opposites. Relaxing and responsibilities. The balance of work and play. What the two mean in a spiritual and faith context. Why I should even care in the first place.
This is where I currently find myself. Struggling big time to figure out how to properly work and rest and show the world that it can be done, it should be done, and it is even possible in the first place. In today’s culture of extremes (busy workaholics and indulgent self-care obsessions), what should a gal of faith be doing?
With that being said, I am just going to go ahead and get my big, fat elephant out of the way.
I absolutely stink at this.
I am a wife and a mom of two boys. I work full-time outside of the home. My husband works two jobs to make sure we have what we need so most of the needs of managing a home falls in my lap… and I am fantastic at residing in the extremes of work and rest and am awful at living out the healthy, God-directed rhythm of work and rest. I STINK at managing a home. I just can’t seem to make it work. I STINK at respecting the depth of what rest should look like. I STINK at the balance of life-giving rhythms…I even stink at trying to establish a rhythm in the first place.
While it is really easy and very tempting to just “let myself off the hook” and use the excuse that I am doing the best that I can, the truth is, most times I am not doing the best I can. And right now, I KNOW I can be doing better. It is not like I can’t do what I need to do. I have the skills. I know how to clean, how to fold laundry. I know I should make time for a Sabbath and rest…
It is just that I don’t want to out the work into establishing the rhythms and accountability to live it out in a healthy, God-honoring way. Working outside of the home, coming home and wrangling my two boys alone can be draining to say the least.
So…what does God have to say about this? Why does this matter to us from a biblical perspective?
To answer that question, we need not look further than the first book of the Bible, Genesis. The creation story. The one many of us were taught in our Sunday school days.
To sum up an incredible story simply, God created the entire universe in 6 days and on the 7th day, He rested. BOOM. Right there is a gigantic cue from the Creator of the universe that our rhythms of work and rest matter. Want to see for yourself? Check out Genesis 1-2.
The theme of work and rest does not end there. Oh, no. It continues throughout the Bible. I’ve included a quick snapshot of what I am talking about.
Exodus 20:8-10/Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.
Psalm 127:2/ In vain you rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat – for he grants sleep to those he loves.
Colossians 3:23/ Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters.
Genesis 2:2-3/ By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.
Psalms 23:1-3/ The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.
Matthew 11:28/ Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
These are just a few verses throughout the Old Testament and New Testament that address work and rest. With that, here are a few things I’ve come to learn and am working out in my day-to-day.
- Work is important. Hard work, it honors Him. Everything I do has a greater purpose. It is never just cleaning my house for my family or completing a project for my boss. It is holy work, an opportunity to honor God.
- There is a time and a place for it. Work is good. Working non-stop is not. Having a routine for hard and dedicated work needs to be a priority in my life.
- I am better when I work. Everyone around me seems to be better off when I put a high priority of working hard and working well (and holding myself accountable). I am kinder when I am not stressed by the mess of my house. I am more patient. There is more space for the good stuff of life – walks with my kids, crafts, exercising, etc…simply being able to be present because the demands of undone work aren’t screaming at me. Which leads to the other part of this teeter totter, rest.
- Taking time to rest is important and I need to make time for it. If the Creator of the entire universe had time to rest, then I certainly do too. I need to follow His lead and put rest into my rhythms. It is for my betterment that I observe a Sabbath, that I get a break from the work.
- Just like work, too much rest is harmful too. I run the risk of being lazy and sinful if rest is constantly high on my priority list and there is unfinished work around (check out Proverbs! That book says a lot about laziness!).
- How I rest matters just as much as if I rest in the first place. Where do I go for rest? A mani/pedi? A Netflix binge? Too much _______ (fill in the blank with whatever the vice of the day is)? I love how Matthew 11:28 says “Come to ME”. It does not say run to your couch and go into zombie mode consuming whatever show you are currently into. It does not say run to Target and buy a ton of stuff don’t need. It says COME.TO. ME. True rest is in Him, spending time in his presence. It isn’t taking a night off to yourself. It is a lifestyle, a rhythm. It is so much more…and yet, so simple too. True rest takes intentionality, not just resting because you are burned out and crashing into a checked-out heap of tired.
Rest and responsibilities. Responsibilities and rest. Repeat. Let’s show the world there is a better way. A way where the yoke is easy and the burden is light (Matthew 28:30). A way where you can work and rest, rest and work without the burn out. A way where the work and rest are always holy. A better way.