I was talking about this concept with a friend the other day. We both are constantly assessing the pace of lives. I realize that I over-do it often. My life seems to swing between two extremes. I’m going full tilt and then I’m slowed down to due to illness – my own or someone in my family. My calendar goes from all the commitments to no commitments and back again. I’m not a fan of the extremes.
January was a slower month due to illness and as the pace picked up leading into February, I realized that I need to be intentional again about making sure I have one full day at home a week. This doesn’t happen every week, but I do best if it happens most weeks.
When it comes to taking a day at home, I struggle with guilt. How many people have the opportunity to claim a day of rest? Some people, due to personality, might not even want a day at home. It might not fill them up in the way it does me. However, in a culture that honors busy, a day at home seems indulgent. I don’t want to be lazy or unproductive. Protecting a day at home can seem selfish when there is so much to do and so many opportunities available. And let’s be real, the things that keep me busy are valuable. They are causes I care about and people I love.
It dawned on me though, this day at home that my soul longs for is biblical. It’s a Sabbath. It’s a time to wear less hats and juggle less plates. When I’m at home, I tend to still be productive, but in a slower way. I get a few things done, but I also make plenty of space for rest. When I’m not exhausted from my pace, I can be present with my family and show up better for them. And as an introvert, time at home way from the public eye is what recharges my battery.
It can often feel like a power struggle between my social/public life and my mental health. Yes, I want to attend all the things and I want to see all the people. I want to be an excellent leader, volunteer, and friend. What if I re-wired my brain to not see this as a power struggle between Social Amy and Homebody Amy? What if I used these two equally valuable sides of myself to compliment each other?
I believe that a rested version of myself is better for the world. Resting, relaxing and withdrawing might not seem like they would make the world a better place. But when they don’t happen, I certainly don’t make the world a better place. My attitude turns to one of obligation. I sigh as I leave my house, longing for my pajamas. My spirit is sad. This is not bringing my best self to the table. I might be able to fake it and pretend like I’m all in, but inwardly, I have one foot out the door. I’m ready to go home before I ever arrive.
When I am mindful to have time at home to rest, I am more willing to go out and give my commitments 100%. I actually have something to offer my people. I have filled myself up. And yes, I will empty myself out. It’s a cycle. Fill up to pour out. You can’t have one without the other. It can’t be all fill and all pour.
I might be a homebody. But I am not called to cultivate my own stand alone kingdom. I’m called to do God’s kingdom work. Part of that takes place in my home. I believe in the power of the home life I am creating for my husband and my children. And while I love the “feeling” of control over my little kingdom, I know that God hasn’t called me to stay hidden away from the world. He has called me out into the harvest field to work alongside him. The hearts in my house matter and so do the hearts that I interact with through church, through the school and through friendship. In order to be who I am called to be, I need rest and solitude. I need that time of withdraw. I pull back fully knowing that it is for the purpose of going back out.
Maybe you know the feeling of being frazzled and worn out? I know it well. When I hit the wall and have no more to give, I tend to shut down. I want to cancel all the plans for the week, for the month, for the year. I want to hunker down and go into hermit mode. But what if instead of vacillating between two extremes, I just scheduled more rest instead of scheduling more things? What if I left margin in my days, in my weeks and in my months? I’m positive it would make a difference. The reason I am positive is because I’ve experienced it before. It crazy how we know a truth and yet we learn it over and over again throughout a lifetime.
I will continue to learn the art of Sabbath. I will do my best not to make life a power struggle between two good things. I can be both – social and restful. I will give of myself and I will withdraw myself. Life can be both. Not one way is more correct than the other. They go hand in hand.
How do you make time for Sabbath (a day of rest) in your life? What are some activities that fill you up and renew your energy?
Find a day on the calendar and put a big X over it so it doesn’t fill up. Rest doesn’t happen on accident. If you want margin if your life, you have to create it and protect it.