First: Rest

Categories faith, motherhood

Every mama needs a break.

I’ve seen it in the faces of my friends this last month—that worn-down, pushed-to-my-limits face of needing rest. If she could just shut off her brain from her to-do’s, or stop feeling the guilt of “not good enough,” or have an hour of uninterrupted personal space, she could feel joy again.

I learned recently about Working from Rest. So often we Rest from our Work, but I challenge you today to Work from your Rest. It’s a tricky mental shift, but it means that you intentionally, deliberately plan rest into your schedule so that you aren’t blindsided by burnout when you find yourself erupting at your two-year-old over a dropped popsicle.

Because full-time mamas can’t leave their work at the office at the end of the day, the value of scheduled rest is beyond measure.

I didn’t know it, but when I first became a mama, my date nights with my husband were my rest times. My baby was just a month old when we asked his “grandparents” to watch him so we could get out together. As soon as we were in the car and driving to the restaurant, I realized that that little baby had been taking up ALL of my brain for the last four weeks. Walking out of my apartment without having to think about diapering, dressing, or nursing an infant was medicine I didn’t even realized I needed until I had a taste of it. And even though the demands of mothering become less constant as little ones grow, they do not become any less taxing on one’s heart or head.

These days, I still get a rest when I go on dates with my husband. I’ve learned to also take some rest time early in the morning, before I hear little hands opening their bedroom doors. By taking my Rest before the Work of my day, I can rest more purposefully and feel more rejuvenated than when I try to Rest after my Work of tucking everyone into bed.  I also take a large chunk of time every Monday to simply be still, and to do things on my list that are stressful to do with kids in tow (read: grocery shopping). By resting at the beginning of the week, I am able to set goals for the following days and hear more clearly where God is leading me, rather than having conversations with him at the end of the week about what went wrong.

When we try to work as mamas without rest, we are crabby instead of joyful, we are hurried instead of patient, we are reactive instead of proactive. And we lose a sense of who we are. Our children will take as much of us as we’ll offer them, and so it is our responsibility as mamas to set boundaries for what they can and cannot have access to.

God desires this balance in us and for us. He reminds us that those who remain in him will bear much fruit. We desire to be blessings to our husbands and children, but without God at work in us, we will strive and strive with little result. If we stop and rest in him, we will be more open to hear his voice. We will be more aware of the work that he desires to do through us.

So, mama, do you have that look on your face—the look that says that you are drained empty and you can’t even remember what a full tank feels like? Perhaps today you could make a plan to take ten minutes for yourself. Ten minutes to rest in the Lord. Ten minutes to abide, before you go about the important work you have in front of you.

Trust me, the work will still be there when you’re done.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” John 15:5

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