I love the beach. I look forward with great anticipation any opportunity that I have to come to the beach. I am not sure why I find the beach so relaxing and peaceful, but for me it seems to be the only place where I can finally get to a point that I can relax and rest. We have all heard the saying, “There is no rest for the weary.” – and at the other end of the spectrum, “Come to me all who are weary, I will give you rest.” Why is rest so elusive?
I am sure that I have made plenty of foolish statements in my life. Those who have worked beside me along the way can probably comment and share some of the silly things I may have said. My husband often reminds me of probably the most foolish statement that I have ever made, “Sleep is highly overrated.” The funny thing is that not only did I say it; I actually believed it to be true!
I know that I have a difficult time relaxing. I get caught up in excessive busyness. When I am at home, there is always something to be done. I can’t seem to catch up and getting ahead seems to be out of the question. In my younger years as a single working mom, I used to joke with my friends about the fact that we ate out of the dishwasher and dressed out of the dryer. It seemed that I was doing good just to get the dishes and laundry done – getting them put up was another question altogether and anything more was just a dream. Each day, I tend to go and go and go, until I finally sit down late at night. I find myself envious of my husband and others who can sit and watch TV or stop and take a nap.
For the past two weeks, I have been at the beach. While at the beach, I spent some of the time alone, some of the time with my husband and some of the time with my children and grandchildren. I have done the things I love with those I love: read seven books, watched two movies, and spent time at the pool and the beach, along with normal chores such as grocery shopping, laundry and cooking meals. Why do I give myself permission to rest, read and relax at the beach and yet don’t do the same thing at home? Why do I talk myself into believing that in order to rest, I have to relocate?
While resting at the beach, I am pondering how I can generalize this ability to relax and incorporate it at home. Perhaps, I need to schedule rest and relaxation. I tend to fill up my calendar and am quick to say yes without regard to how those things impact me overall. According to my husband, I maximize every available moment of every day. He often laughs and says, "Don't just do something, stand there!" I need to listen to that advice. If I block off time on my calendar, I can make a plan to relax and rest. When you plan, things are more likely to happen.
I believe the most difficult part for me will be to give myself permission to relax. At home, resting represents wasting time. I need to let go of that perception and understand that rest will rejuvenate my body and my soul. God even told us in the Ten Commandments to take a day of rest. Who am I to question the wisdom spelled out so clearly? He also tells us to come to Him when we are weary and He will give us rest. I must not be the only one to struggle with weariness and lack of rest.
As I leave the beach to head home, I realize that rest comes perhaps not from a place, but from a state of mind. I understand and see that when I get more sleep and rest. I am more productive, in a better mood and happier than when I am tired and worn out. So, I will attempt to stop my busyness earlier in the evening, go to bed a little sooner and make a list of things that actually are relaxing for me and schedule a time to make them happen so that I set time aside for me. Most importantly, I will give myself permission to rest and relax.
What about you? What are the things that you love to do that are relaxing? Take time to identify them and then give yourself permission to do them. I hope that you’ll share your ideas with me. Go to bed at a reasonable time and sleep. Sleep yields a rested you. A rested you will be a better you and a better you will enable you to make a difference in your work environment and among your family and friends. I know that I will always look forward to coming to the beach, but hopefully my escape from weariness will not be the purpose of my trip.