In Search of Rest

Susan Narjala   |   October 21, 2015 

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I’m in a transitional phase right now. Which is a polite way of saying, I have no clue about what I’m doing with my life. Having just moved back to India after ten years in the US, I’m grappling with how I spend my time. My kids are at school all day, we have a maid, I don’t have a job and I haven’t worked up the courage to drive in India (yet!). Which leaves me becoming intimately familiar with the four walls of my house and the sound of silence. Envious? Well, don’t be. Because boredom is not rest. In fact, it causes restlessness sometimes (Just ask the husband who has been at the receiving end of Restless Wife Syndrome).

But, today, let’s talk about rest - rest that we so desperately crave but are unable to make time for. How do we find rest when the demands on us seem endless?

Buy Some Time

Learn to say, “no” if you have to. Believe me when I say I first need to preach this to myself. I’m the self-proclaimed queen of nodding my head to everything – sometimes at the cost of my sanity and my family’s schedule. But, recently, I’ve been learning a simple lesson: buy yourself some time. You don’t need to say “no” or “yes” right away. Even if a commitment seems fun, helpful or churchy should you agree to it? Is it going to be the undoing of you? Will it mean your family gets second priority? As women, we seem to come with the in-built need to please others and to take on more than what’s possible. But it’s okay to say, “No,” or at least, “Can I let you know real soon?”

Use the time to ask yourself whether your “yes” is to please people or so you feel needed or maybe so you don’t feel guilty later on. Author Lysa TerKeurst says it best: We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.”

Add a Pinch of Salt

To social media that is. Despite all the flack it’s received, I have to confess that I really like Facebook. But, I definitely need to limit my consumption of it – especially when it leads me into a comparison trap. I have a friend who posts non-stop about her non-stop life. She always needs a weekend to recover from her weekend. I read about her super busy life and super smart kids and I feel the need to enroll my kids in every conceivable after-school activity. I end up feeling guilty and like a less-than-stellar mom. But then I remember that when status updates seem too good to be true, they usually are. So add a pinch of salt to those glorious claims of a perfect life - and a heaping dollop of grace as well. And don’t feel like you have to play catch up by adding more to your list.

Be Intentional

If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not going to happen. Schedule your rest time, like you would a dentist appointment. Rest looks different for different people. I know people who run to unwind and others who run a mile from the very thought of running to unwind. You know what rest looks like for you. Just be sure not to crowd it out with the “just one more thing which I have to do”. Even the God of the Universe rested on the seventh day. Not because He was wiped out. But because He was setting a pattern for us.

Fill Up the Tank

Getting back to point 1: If you do think about it and say “yes” to another activity, make sure you get filled up first. When my tank is empty and I try to keep going, I start spewing exhaust fumes. Noxious fumes and loud noises like a beat-up auto that hasn’t had an emissions check this century. I need to remember to first be still before God. To allow His grace to fill me up. To come to a place of knowing I’m loved, I’m enough, and I’m His. To a place where, like the Sunday School song goes, “my cup is full and running over.”

If you’re choosing to be a Martha, start with being a Mary. Saint Augustine said it perfectly:

You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.

You don’t need to run the rat race to prove your worth. You simply have to run with perseverance the race marked out for you, with your eyes fixed on Jesus.

 

Photo Credit : Moyan Brenn via Flickr CC

 

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When she's not smuggling chocolate past her kids or drinking gallons of coffee, Susan Narjala can be found writing, baking and (thinking about) working out. She grew up in Chennai, lived in Portland, Oregon, for the last ten years and is now back in India with her family. She finds nuggets of humour in the everyday, and writes about it on on her blog, www.susannarjala.com

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