This place has been silent for 4 months. I wish I had some big reason for my absence. Instead, I have a hundred little ones but I’m not going to list them all here. All you need to know is that during a time of high stress, I pushed myself too hard to be all the things to all the people and burnt myself out in the process. Yep, I lost my balance. I was running and running and running trying to do it all until finally, I reached a point where I wasn’t able to do anything. You know the drill, we all do it.
So, I gave myself permission to rest.
I once read somewhere that the key to keeping your balance is knowing when you’ve lost it. Well, I lost it. One morning this summer I woke up and realized if I didn’t do something quick, I was going to hit the ground hard. I sat down and took an inventory of all the things I “had” to do then put them in order of priority. My family went to the top of the list and everything else just kinda sunk to the bottom.
Though I love this blog and the creative outlet it has given me, posting here wasn’t more important than the daughter who needed extra love, the son who needed to see me in the stands at his game, the new family business being launched, or the traveling husband who needed his wife to keep life together in his absence. I had to choose between doing all the things horribly or doing a select few of the things from my heart.
It’s funny how stress can take away ability, isn’t it? In normal times, I can get more done than 3 people combined. By nature, I am a goer, a mover, a doer. I rarely ever sit still. I’m constantly busy and trying to accomplish 47 things at once. But when the driver we’d been praying for didn’t show up so my husband could come home. When I found lumps in my breast and had to wait for results. When the world started turning faster than my body could go, I had to put on the breaks. And, that’s ok.
At some point in our Western culture, we came up with the ridiculous idea that busy-ness means success and rest means laziness. We’ve become obsessed with speed. We demand faster cars, faster internet, faster phones… and then with those crazy fast phones we now demand even faster devices so we can bark orders because picking up those fast phones just isn’t fast enough. Alexa, Google, Siri, smart locks, smart homes, smart cars. Faster, faster, faster! Busy, busier, busiest. We’ve come to believe that being busy makes us better. I saw this quote on Insta that read, “Being busy doesn’t make you important or cool or worthy. It just makes you busy.” In my opinion, it doesn’t just make us busy, it also makes us distracted, overworked, and stressed to the max.
I’m learning that in this day and age, Satan uses busy-ness to break us. He knows that if we slow down, we will feel or see the good stuff, so he ramps everything up in the hopes that we will fall apart. The adversary knows that if we give away everything we’ve got, we’ll have nothing left to give. And, no way to replenish ourselves. Because you can’t give water from an empty well, or light from a burnt out candle. And yet, God knows when to slow down. He’s provided Sundays and the winter season to remind us of the importance he himself finds in rest.
Alan Cohen said, “There is virtue in work and there is virtue in rest. Use both and overlook neither.” My friend, if you are tired and need a rest, take it. Ditch the guilt. Don’t listen to the people that say there is something wrong with you. If your body or spirit or mind is telling your heart that you can’t do this much longer, listen. Rest. Breathe. Assess. Get quiet. Seek calm. Be still. Find your balance again.
The world will still be there when you get back.
Things haven’t slowed for me, the stress is still here, but I’m feeling a lot more sure-footed than I did a few months ago. Ideas are coming and the creative juice is starting to flow again. Fun things are ahead here on the blog and in my everyday life. Just know if I take some time off here or there that I was probably teetering and needed to get my feet back on solid ground. If I learned only one thing from this strange summer it is that there is no shame in needing a rest.
“Rest is not idleness,
and to lie sometimes on the grass under trees on a summer’s day listening to the murmur of the water,
or watching the clouds float across the sky, is by no means a waste of time.”
-John Lubbock, The Use of Life.