I used to think that the word rest was a cuss word. I knew it existed, but I figured rest was what you did after everything else was done. Rest was a reward for productivity.
I’ve never had a hectic life, but from the day I finished school, I was always busy. Straight into a full-time job when I was seventeen, as well as jumping into full-time ministry at my church and pursuing my first proper relationship, maintaining new and old friendships, becoming an adult. It was a big year.
(Beautiful greenery provided by Leaf & Pebble.)
From there forward, time just gets away from you, you know?
Hours and hours and days and weeks of work pass, on top of important coffee dates, pivotal meetings, occupation variations, friendship changes, learning new things about yourself as you grow, as well as adjusting to everyone and everything around you.
I had to fit everyone and everything I wanted in. I had to finish all of those important things; not only so I was doing something with my life, but so I could make my friends, family and community feel loved, needed and valued. You feel me?
Then the descent started.
Have you seen, in big Hollywood production movies, where someone is running across a bridge in a terrifying bid to reach safety on the other side …but as they look back, running as fast as they can, the bridge is disintegrating behind them?
That happened to me.
It will inevitably happen to anyone who decides that they need to do in order to be.
(That’s a weird line. Say it again: this will happen to every single person who thinks doing things makes them who they are.)
All of my effort, all of my caring and pouring out starting falling into dust. As time wore on, so did my mental capacity, my strength, my emotional battle with not being able to be everything to everyone. My heart was in the right place, my intentions were solid, and I was giving everyone my best – but it was my best shared amongst 345 different things.
(Like, think about your favourite cake. Try cutting it into 345 pieces.
No one’s really getting their full or fair share now, are they?)
I was ticking everything off my to-do list with vigour, but at the cost of losing the fullness of what I could have in all of my relationships, work life and personal health.
All because I didn’t stop and invest in rest.
There will be some of you that read this and you will respond similarly to Old Katherine. “Well, that’s not me. I’ve got this under control. I like being busy, I’m doing fine, rest is for the weak, rest is what we do when we’re dead, I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night so make every minute awake count.”
Count for what?
But seriously, count for what?
I don’t have a concrete answer, because it is up to you to decide what your minutes are counting for.
I decided to start my journey of making minutes count by making investments, not appointments. Now I take baths, not back-to-back coffee dates. I like to make dinner plans, not just eating during meetings. I lay in bed when I could be doing something productive, I read, I watch movies, I go for walks. AND, because balance exists, I work, I care for a little baby, I spend time with friends, I cook for our family. I say yes, but I will often say no as well as not now. Unashamedly, without guilt. I don’t explain my reasons for everything to everyone. I bail, or as I like to phrase it (because I hate the word ‘bail’), I let what I need trump what I “should” do.
I breathe a lot easier now too.
It’s not selfish, but it is wise. Your investment in rest is an investment in how you spend the rest of your life.
Rest is not a reward.
Rest is a necessity. Slowing down is crucial.
You don’t need to do in order to be.
How do you rest?