Yesterday I sat for 15 minutes at the piano…headphones on while my baby cried and my three year old clamored for attention in his room. Eventually I was able to let go of their needs and think about my own for just a small window of time (and they were okay anyway!) This morning I’m thinking about what keeps us from shutting out the noise and coming to God for rest. What is it for you? Maybe a few of my roadblocks will shed some light on what is keeping you from finding what your soul needs…
True busyness – This first one is a key culprit to look at for ALL of us, I’m sure. Our schedules are jam-packed and it can be hard to realistically find much time to care for our very real needs. Whether you’re a mama, single lady, working woman, or tough guy, life shouts at us with all the things we need, need to do, must accomplish, etc. Letting the voice of love permeate our schedules is truly unusual for most. Scheduling some margin into your day is such a beautiful habit….literally putting an appointment on your calendar to be alone, or to be with someone or doing something that brings you deep soul joy.
Pride – Ouch. Are we really that important to keep the world in motion?? I have to remind myself that my little people and close circle – even reaching out further to my community and extended connections – they will be OKAY if I back off on some things. This one can be just. so. hard!! It feels good to be wanted and needed, and it is easy to think it is more “spiritual” to be doing lots of good things… rather than just being with God and your “people.” I have really had to look at my schedule lately and trim some things down. It’s hard! Trust me, I really get it. As a mom of itty bitties, and wife to a pastor, our schedule is far from relaxed. But there’s so much joy in surrendering my priorities to God, and letting him fill my days, rather than jumping in to try and “save the world.”
Shame – Do I even deserve this time to myself? time to be with God? time to simply ENJOY something? This can be a real toughie too, at least for me. When the chores are piling up and others around me have legitimate needs, how can I put some of my needs first (even just occasionally?) A friend has lately been reminding me of the oxygen mask analogy – you know it – the airline stewardess always reminds us to put our mask on first, before we attend to others. Of course the analogy breaks down because we are also called to serve selflessly, but even Jesus got away from others and felt no shame doing so!
Resources – This seems like a legitimate reason to power through life working, trying harder, being “all things to all people.” You may need to work two jobs, you might be strapped for cash and can’t afford some “luxuries,” you may think there’s no way you can truly “afford” to take time for yourself, time to relax a little. But trust me, this is simply not true. Growing up in a family of eight kids, on a farm, I get it. There can be 5,000 things to do to just make life “work.” And now, as a ministry wife, we don’t have a lot of extra. But I still find ways to rejuvenate! We have gotten gift cards for several occasions, which is super fun for treats here and there. We were gifted a piano, and I truly enjoy that! I do yoga videos on YouTube, take walks with my kiddos (using a Black-Friday-deal baby carrier and second hand stroller!) Drinking enough water is a great beauty tool, and that is free! Ten minutes here and there with simple little things is not going to break the bank for anyone.
Boundary issues – I’m slowly reading the book Boundaries, by Cloud and Townsend. I’m sure you’ve heard of it, because it’s been around for a long while. The idea, if you’re not familiar with it, is that we have a responsibility for our lives and many times others cross over our boundaries that are God-given. We can also walk all over others. I highly recommend this book if you find that you are often getting into situations that lead to resentment and frustration. Are you doing more than you want to do because you simply “can’t” say no? Is someone loading guilt and shame on you for wanting to take a break? Lots to say on this topic – read the book!!
Lack of self-knowledge – Lately I have realized that in the busyness of being a newborn / toddler mama I have quite literally “forgotten” what brings me joy!! There are things I really loved before Baby A came along, and I have had to dig deep and really think about what will bring rest to my soul. The easy “Sunday school” answer is that we need to read our Bibles and pray more. Shocker – sometimes we need a nap more! My favorite author, Emily Freeman, talks about this concept in her writings on the blog, in her books, and on her podcast. I’ve had to ask God to remind me of how he made me and what things I might start back on now that my baby sleeps a bit more. 😉
These are just some of my own ideas, things that I have to work through in getting back to a good place in my soul, with God and with others. What about you? What is keeping you from rest? I’d love to hear.