Friday, August 7, 2015

Mandatory Rest

Three weeks ago, Jeremy and I flew four thousand miles away from home for our first-ever week to ourselves in sixteen years of marriage.

It always feels wrong to board a plane and willingly leave the place your most beloved people are, but this time it was different.



For the first time since becoming a mom nearly fifteen years ago, I didn't shed a single tear in the days leading up to saying goodbye to our crew or even in the moment of actually parting and driving away toward the airport. And I didn't even feel bad about it.

Somewhere in the hustle and straight crazy that was this last year, I'd lost myself.

So when it was time to leave, all I could do was sigh, smile, and know that in no time at all, we'd back in the game of parenting eight children and I was so ready to be in that restful space that would only exist if we left.

If I was going to find myself again, it was going to be by getting on an airplane and going away for a time. God had provided the time away and we were confident He would fill us back up to overflowing with Himself while we were gone.

For the first two to three days, we couldn't even talk about the kids or the kind of parents we wanted to be when we got back. I joked about us having PTSD.

In many ways, it was no joke.



Rest had become mandatory if we were going to be productive at all anymore. If we were going to have the ability to have clarity and act with wisdom. Two things we wanted so badly.

In the months leading up to leaving, we were running on fumes. It wasn't pretty. We were desperate.

Maybe we waited too long to have this much time away by ourselves. Maybe we wouldn't have been quite so needy had we done it sooner. Now we know. We need respite like this more often.

Or maybe we need more smaller two to three-day breaks spread throughout the year.

The point isn't really how long or how often. The point is: people need rest.

What if we stopped putting off rest when we need it most? Before the breaking point hits and before desperation hangs so heavy you don't know how you'll go on.

Jesus regularly rested away from the push of people, even his closest companions, the disciples. What sticks out most to me though?

He never once apologized for it.

"I'm so sorry friends, but I'm fatigued and need a break. I should be able to do all of this. I should be more together. I'm sure I'm failing you somehow... but I must go. On second thought, maybe I'll stay around a bit longer because I'm so valuable to you." 

Uh.

Never. We've never heard anything like that from Him.

Maybe He didn't even really need a rest. You know, because of the whole fully God part? But maybe He knew we would, and we wouldn't take it seriously unless He showed us how to do it well.



He was humble. Which meant he didn't think so low of the crowds and His disciples to think they couldn't survive without His company for a time.

On the other hand, He didn't think so highly of Himself that He had to stick around and save the world at every moment. (I had to. You know I did.)

We get so weird about rest. Is it really so bad if we get a little behind on the responsibilities that just don't matter in the grand scheme, if we'll be paralyzed with stress and unable to perform the duties that do if we overwork ourselves?

When we fail to take mandatory rests with loved ones or without, it leaves us unable to do anything well. Especially the stuff that matters.



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9 comments:

  1. Wholeheartedly agree. I don't know why we feel the need to apologize for needing a break. When we don't take a break we need, we might actually be damaging our family and/or marriage by living in the denial that we can handle everything life throws at us and still run to the Lord first. Sometimes I need to get away from the noise to be able to hear the Lord. Reorganize my thoughts. Focus my priorities for His glory.
    Love this! Super encouraging and necessary for women to hear. At least this woman.

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    1. Absolutely, Cheryl. Getting away from the noise is so healthy for us to do what we do well for His glory.

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  2. This last year has taught much the same thing. I prefer several times a year weekend getaways. Otherwise the constant parenting becomes a chore instead of a gift.

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  3. We have friends that have many children, bio, adopted and foster. They have a mandatory weekend alone, with themselves and the Lord every 3 months.One of the weekends is used to prepare for the nitty gritty of homeschooling.
    Makes things run much more smoothly. We have not done this yet, with only one child, but as we approach schooling age, its been something I am thinking about more and more.
    Paula

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  4. Sister, I am so thankful you had this time to breathe! Your days are jam packed with purpose for all your people. Love you and the sacrifice you have said yes too. And you forgot to tell them about the snake! AHHHHH

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  5. Hi Amanda,

    I have read and re-read this recent post of yours over and over. I am sooooo glad that you and Jeremy were able to get away for awhile, just the two of you by yourselves. I'm sure you and Jeremy don't have PTSD, but sometimes things can be too much for too long. I do not have one child of my own yet, let alone 8, so I know I don't know what your life is really like. In many ways, I know my life is probably way easier than yours any day, but I do have quite a few things that I do. Mostly mine is ministry related. I will be getting to go on a wonderful trip in a few days for a week. No ministry or everyday obligations for that time. I am so looking forward to it. I cannot believe you and Jeremy haven't been away as a couple since before Drew was born 15 years ago. I don't know how you did it all these years without a break by yourselves as a couple. And here I was silently complaining about not having been away for 5 years. I too feel that I will be able to do my yearly ministry stuff this coming school year much more effectively after I get back from my vacation as I know you will be able to do your things now. If God provides the time and things fall into place, I say, go for it! Get that time away! Again, glad you got a wonderful restful vacation with Jeremy. I pray that you will get to take another trip just the two of you alone soon.
    In Christ,
    Bethany

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  6. So glad you commented! P.S. Jeremy and I have been away several times by ourselves through the years, but never for a whole week at a time. :) It was delightful!!!

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