Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Art of Relaxing

Photo source: Stock Xchng

My friend called me today, but I didn't hear the phone.  She left me a message and the last thing she said to me was, I hope you are relaxing while Hannah's in preschool today.  I keep thinking about how tired you looked last night.

I literally let out an audible laugh, heard only by me and my cat.  Oh, dear, you know me better than that.  Relax?

But as I stood there, I knew that a part of me, well, I guess all of me, was being disobedient.  I knew in my very heart that God had told me that I needed to take some time to rest today.  I woke early to meet with Him, telling Him that it was going to be a long and busy day, that Craig had a meeting after work, and it would just be me and the girls until bedtime.  I begged Him, Please, help me be a good mom today. Help me to keep to my challenge.  Help me to be patient, and kind, and good to my daughters.  To which He replied:

Well, then, you'll need some time of rest today.

To which in that moment, I think I said okay, you know, just to placate Him and all (as if you can placate God!).  And, vaguely I penciled in rest on my mental calendar, and went about my day.  5 mile run, Hannah ready for school, Hannah to school, HEB, Home Depot, Christian Ed. craft planning and lesson-planning, respond to a few blog comments, encounters with some Kilz and chalkboard paint (and a pesky, curious cat), lunch, back to the paint.  Time for tea.  Okay, a little rest time now before I pick up Hannah, Abby, and the friend that's coming over to play today.

I sit down with my tea, my Real Simple magazine in my hand.  I sip my tea, shiver under my blanket, read an article.  Think about the other things I really should be doing, but then vaguely remember I agreed to rest awhile.  I read another article.  I remember that tomorrow is Friday and there are two link-ups that I want to participate in.  I gaze over at my computer.  Does blog writing count as rest?  What about responding to comments?  Because you know, God, I'm behind on that.

I throw my magazine on the love seat and I grab my computer.  And now I'm typing away and wondering why relaxing is an art form that I cannot seem to master.  Why must I be doing?  What can't I rest in being?  Why do the deadlines rage in my head and why can't I just tell them to quiet down?  If He's calling me to rest, surely He knows how the important stuff will get done.

But see, then, that takes me out of control.  I don't have the plan.  And you know how much I need to have the plan.

I'm going to put down the computer, because I'm kinda feeling like I'm doing, not being, while I'm writing this.  I'm going to try my hand at reading the magazine again.  I have a book nearby if that fails.  Perhaps I should invest in some superglue for my bum!  Or perhaps, I just need Him to teach me what it means to really lay it all down.  Perhaps I need to remember all those words I wrote about having a Sabbath...

Linking up at Michelle's Lost in the Prairies today!  And, don't miss Company Girl Coffee at Rachel Anne's Home Sanctuary.


  1. I read your words, I can't help but think that I am the same way...I don't know how to relax...even when I have to, I don't. I don't just sit and enjoy the calmness...I have to be doing something while the calmness is happening.

    It is almost as if I can not quiet my thoughts.

    I pray that you were able to be still for a bit and just listen to the world around you...with no computers, no magazines...just you and Our Lord.


  2. Jen, I have seen that some times you have used photos from here and there; if you wish, you can reach me, and I can grant you permission to use my photography.

    I would love to see sisters in Christ using it on their blogs! :)

    My photography blog is

    Under His sun and by His grace,

  3. oh boy, can I relate. Relaxing is always much more appealing in my mind. Once, I'm finally relaxing my mind starts to think of that one thing that I should be doing. When you find some super glue let me know!

  4. I don't know how to relax either, but in recent days, if given the opportunity (which I'm not), I think I would be really good at it. =p We did have Spa Day at MOPS and we made sugar scrubs, so now I am reminded to take a rest and pamper myself once in awhile.

  5. Oh, it is unbelievable how much of myself I see in you at your age. Age has mellowed me out some but likely not as much as it should. I have been relaxing a lot this week fighting this pneumonia and it's truly been wonderful. I'm reminded of the words, "Be Still and Know." HE does His best speaking to me when I am not allowing so much of my busyness to get in the way.

    Loved this post and love you!

  6. Here's the sugar scrub recipe, but actually all you really need is olive oil and sugar. The scents are just extras if you don't have them on hand, but I'm sure you have some vanilla extract.

  7. Your post reminds me of a conversation I had with my mom yesterday where she said something like, "Well maybe in your spare time..." To which I laughed and said, "I know not of this spare time that you speak of..." We had a good laugh over that. It really is hard to relax and rest when there are so many things to get done. I think sometimes I put the wrong priority on some of my to-do's. The rest and relaxation ought to be more of a focus...makes me a better mommy, wife and friend.
    I hope you get some rest in today and that the Lord gives you the strength you need to make it through this long day! Be blessed!

  8. I like how you have written about the struggle between being diligent, being the best mom, and resting and how it all fits together. I enjoyed reading your thoughts today. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Re--what? Hee he. I hear you, girl. I think even sitting down for a few minutes with your tea and magazine is a good start. I'm thinking of carving out a day or part of a day each week for Mommy Sabbath. It will involve some planning ahead so that I can get my "to do's" done so that they aren't nagging at me when relaxing, but I think it will be worth it. Would you be able to try something like this?

    Hope you're having a great day!!

  10. It is, at times, so hard to relax and not have the thoughts of what you should be doing running through your mind...however, in the past couple of years I have begun to learn the value of just being still, resting, having sabbath and it is TOTALLY worth it!

    Have a great weekend!

  11. Relaxing? Well, I'm still working on that, too. Our pastor did a serious on Sabbath a while back, and how essential it is. What I loved was the idea that Sabbath will look different for each of us. Someone might find rest in sleeping, while others might find it in reading, while still others might find it in playing in the snow with their kids. But rest, sabbath, is essential. So I need to put down the work, too. Great post.

  12. I agree it's a control thing. Would the world end if we don't wash the dishes, do laundry, vacuum, pick up clothes, etc....NO! We have to put our trust in God and rest in the peace He wants to offer us. This Martha needs to learn this lesson as well.

  13. Jen - we are cut out of the same cloth...just this week I intentionally scheduled downtime and rented a movie ( I do not like watching tv ) and am making pizzas and watching it with the kids. My house is a mess....basically same list as yours but I told myself what if I never had another chance to sit with them.
    I have to be that drastic in my thinking just to stop and sit.
    I REALLY hear you! Don't ever worry about linking up with me...YOU are most important. I won't ever take it personal:)
    praying with you...
    have a grace filled weekend...receive every last drop!

  14. when you think you might get a few minutes something crops up...I will admit that the older I've become the more that rest is easier to take...I'm just too weary to do otherwise....thanks for stopping by Jenn...I hope you schedule some more rest'll get easier, really..a little at a time..

  15. It's Joyce...again..I was listening to this song today and thought of you. It is called Restless by Audrey Assad

  16. It's hard to do, isn't it? Friday afternoons are usually my time to get prepped for school for the next week, but today I knew I had to just leave it, get what needed done around the house finished, and then rest. I had a great nap! :) I hope you were able to get some much needed rest today and recharge your Mommy batteries!

  17. Oh, you're speaking my language today, Jen. And I do think you're right on the money -- it is about control, and about my inability to hand it over to Him.

    Honest, insightful post!

  18. On this topic, I have really enjoyed the book, "The Rest of God." by Mark Buchannan. You might like it.


  19. Oh, I hear you, dear one. But you must rest.

    I find that the days I'm the shortest and most impatient with my children it's because I'm just so tired and never stopped to recharge during the day when I could have done so.

    I've also struggled with all that comes with a blog (the Twitter! The Facebook! The comments! Oh my!) but then I came to the conclusion that I may not respond to every comment that comes along (though I completely appreciate them) but I will do what I can to be the best mom I can be and if it's rest I need to do it, then that's what I need to do. Now you know why I'm such a delayed commenter...;)

    Take good care so you can take good care, dear one. You are such a gem.

    Natalie at Mommy on Fire


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