Lessons From a Month of Rest

Closing out a month of rest feeling this exhausted is something of an irony. But I’ve learned a few things along the way.

The more you think about something, the more you find it.

I know. It may sound obvious. But the more I began to think about the concept of rest, the more I was apt to actually take a nap, the more I noticed it in conversation, and the more I began to connect the other ideas in my life to the idea of rest. This isn’t some weird “The Secret” thing, but maybe it’s like when you buy a dark blue mini-van you start to see dark-blue mini vans everywhere. Do you have one too? I thought so.

God speaks more loudly to me when I’m listening.

Or maybe he’s been speaking that loudly all along, but the junk between my ears and his whispers has been lessened. For whatever weird reason, I feel like this month has been a close conversation between me and God and I love it.

Rest doesn’t exactly make you less tired, but it makes you more sane.

I don’t know about you, but a nap/period of rest doesn’t always kill the fatigue. But it does help order my heart and my thoughts around what is important. True story.

If you love something, set it free.

Let me explain. It’s like anything else: once you give up your right to it, many times it seems to come beckoning and calling at the right times and places. This past month, sometimes I really did have to schedule and discipline myself to slow down. But sometimes it just came in like a sweet breeze that I hadn’t asked for. I love it when life happens like that. Maybe this feels like it flies in the face of number one, but what I think this last one means is that once we stop grabbing on tightly to the idea of something, sometimes we are surprised at what it actually looks like when it does come.

So there we have it. Thirty-one (minus two) days of Rest. I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.

What was your favorite post this month? {click here to browse them all}

What have you learned about rest this month? Or what has your own 31 days taught you?

Tangible Peace

My biggest little person is home with a fever. She is sleeping on the sofa next to me as I write.

The house is quiet except for the jeans tumbling in the dryer and the whirr of other household appliances hard at work while I think. And her breathing.

She wouldn’t have been able to fall asleep on the sofa had I not picked her up from school. She’d still be in math or history or taking her books back to the school library. She wouldn’t be at peace in her place of peace in this home.

And I’m next to her, setting out an offering of words and hoping they are worthy.

I wonder if all we really need to quiet our hearts and our minds is knowing that there is someone solving problems while we sleep. That we don’t have to do it, really. There is someone working, someone watching, someone waking us when it is time.

Maybe that full body, full heart, full mind rest is a result of full trust.

From the time she was 2 months old until she crawled up on my chest in all the days after Kindergarten, she used to nap with me. When she was tiny, I’d “borrow” her from her morning nap and we’d take it together in front of the Today show. When she was bigger, I’d lie on the sofa, she’d put her little girl body against mine and we’d watch Sesame Street together. Usually she’d close her eyes after a few minutes, sink her growing limbs into mine and doze off.

When I think of her being little, I think of these times.

And now she is fully resting, fully trusting in the same way curled up in a blanket trying to fend off a fever. And in this room the peace is tangible.

God, help me to trust you in this same way: with my whole heart and whole mind and with my whole body. Let me trust and rest and curl up next to You, knowing that you are hard at work while I sleep.

Thirty-one Days of Rest | click here

What are your thoughts today on peace and rest and trust?

We Grow Larger with Our Joy

I escaped the rain and the delays and the people {all the people!} of three different airports today.

I slipped out before the storm and made it all the way back home.

Each leg of the trip brought a piece of home closer and made me feel one bit nearer to where I belong.

A roommate-soul-friend I whisper good-bye to as I shut off the bathroom light and shut the hotel room door.

A car ride with two lovelies in the early-dark to the first airport. Hand-kisses and hugs and I’ll-see-you-soons left our mouths as we said good-bye.

And then a walk through the next airport with only one person left.

And now I’m alone. I am just one as I make it into my last compacted tiny-plane-seat and I sigh. I’m almost there. I’ve left a little bit of my tension along the way. A little in Pennsylvania. A little in DC. And the last little bit I leave in Houston as the plane leaves the earth.

I’m almost home.

It’s funny. We begin the journey alone in our bathrooms putting on mascara in the dark trying to muffle the hairdryer so we don’t wake up our husbands. We begin to swell as we gather one and then a few others on the way. And then the group of us trickles into the hotel. We grow by leaps and bounds as laugh in groups and laugh in the elevators and laugh in the cars. It’s almost as if we grow larger with our joy.

And as we travel home again, we climb back down the ladder. We leave a bit of the joy also as we leave the people. Sometimes the hugs mean more because there is no calendar date to look ahead to. We become smaller and smaller as we come home again. We leave the girls in the car. We leave the friend at the airport.

And we become anonymous again.

But only for a few minutes.

“MAMA!” The glorious blue mini van pulls up and a six-year-old voice sings out. All the business people and rich people and people on the way to meetings look up as this mother pulls her bag toward the back of the minivan. I’m not embarrassed. Not at all.

I climb in the van and all of a sudden I’m home. And all the joy that I’ve had to disperse in small doses all over the US and all of the hugs that have meant until-next-time are worth it because now I am where I truly belong.

It is the rest that I have known I have needed. Home and hope and grace and courage. Simply that.

{To all the beauty-filled women I had the honor to meet this week, I’m SO glad we were in the same place and time at the right moment. Your love and words have changed me and you honor me with them. Thank you.}

My 31 days of rest might have turned into 29 days of rest, but you can read them all here.

 

Introverted at an Extrovert’s Conference: Tips to Survive

I’m at Allume this week. {Yay!}

But like many other bloggers {It’s why we blog, right?} I am an introvert.

And because, as an introvert, emotional expenditure exhausts us, it is fitting to include this in my thirty-one days of rest series. I thought I’d share a few of my own personal tips on how to survive in this environment without wanting to strangle someone with their conference lanyard by Saturday night.

1. Focus small. Don’t worry about not being part of the “big group” of people who all know each other. All you need is one or two good people around you. (and plus, the big group will exhaust you anyway!) If you can grab coffee or eat meals with smaller groups, it will feel more manageable. 

2.  Take a nap when you are feeling overwhelmed. In other words, rest your heart and listen to your body when it tells you to rest. The emotional energy it takes to hug, love and talk with so many people can be overwhelming. Listen to your heart when it is telling you that you should rest.

3. Make time for regular breaks from the crowd. When there is down time, take advantage of it. Go on a walk, read a book, surf the internet. Just take regular time to give yourself a break from the noise. It’s okay to hide once in awhile. 

4. Be open to meeting new people.  This tip isn’t going to help you survive the extroverts, but it will help you survive as a person. Sometimes we as introverts like to hang out with the people we know because it is comfortable. Be open to meeting new friends because you might be surprised at what you find.

5. Many of the people around you are also introverts. Let’s face it: a lot of the people you are hanging out with are just as exhausted as you are so give grace as much as you expect it.

If you are here at Allume, PLEASE come find me so we can hug.

If you are an introvert, how do you survive in the middle of extroverts (church, school, work, conferences)?

Read my Thirty-One Days of Rest | click here

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Rolling out the Circle

I know I have time to spare when I put a pie in the oven.

There is nothing super special about my piecrust, except that it is the only food I truly derive joy from producing.

“Will you bake more this fall?” Chad asks me a month ago. “It feels so much like, you know, fall when you do.”

He has to say this because very few leaves change around here.

Apron on, I pull my hair into a tie and wash my hands with soap to begin. I find the flour and the sugar. I find the rolling pin.

Cutting in the butter, the shortening and rolling out the circle is Sabbath to me.

It is quiet in my head when I bake. It is soul-giving when I do.  The oven warms the kitchen and the children seem to play with more peace when there is something sweet to be expected for Sunday supper.

So I roll. I bake. And I breathe.

What do you like to do that gives you rest?

31 Days of Rest | Click here

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Have Smart Phones Robbed Us of our Rest?

“I’m going to get you a Blackberry.”

“I don’t want a Blackberry.” I told him. “I don’t need it, sweetheart.”

That was almost five years ago. That was before the iPhone. That was before the entire universe was at everyone’s fingertips in the form of a smart phone.

Nevertheless, he got me a Blackberry, {because he had one and he was being a good husband} connected my email account to it, and off I went into the wild blue of information. I’d already been blogging for a little while but until he put it in my hand, I had had no need for email in the car, email in the drive-through and email everywhere.

And now I do.  I can’t get away from the information.

We have to send out mass emails when we are going to go “dark” or when our phone is broken. I-hope-you-can-excuse-me because I’m out of range for a few hours. We apologize for being without it and get hurt feelings when others don’t check their phones as often as they should.

{Why haven’t they emailed me back? I emailed her over an HOUR ago?!}

Raise your hand if you check your phone when you are waiting in a long line. I do.

Or when you have a lunch break? Or in the line for the kids to get out of school? Check and check.

There are natural times when our brains should be at rest but with the way we live our lives we rob ourselves of that natural down time. No one can sustain this kind of information onslaught all. the. time.

I’m talking this week at the Allume conference about writing and about how writing is something that can help us be closer to God if we let it. The idea of space has kept popping up when I’ve been going through what I’m going to be talking about.

Space.

I’m going to suggest that we don’t give ourselves enough space to even think these days, let alone rest or write.

In fact, I think a lot of us are actually afraid to be alone with our own thoughts.

There is no way I can be a good writer if I don’t have space in my heart and in my mind to think. The busier I am (the less alone, down time I have) the less inspired I am. I have no new or interesting thoughts because I can’t be alone in my brain for more than a minute.

And with our phones sewn to our right hands, we don’t allow ourselves that room to think.

So with our smart phones, do we actually rob ourselves of the natural mind-rest, alone times that we seem to need?

What do you think?

This is part of my thirty-one days of rest series | click here

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You can still enter the Be Still necklace giveaway | click here

Lisa Leonard Be Still Necklace Giveaway

In my Thirty-One Days of Rest series, I thought it might be fitting to insert a little fun.

I’m giving away one of the Lisa Leonard – Be Still and Know Necklace from her new Dayspring Faith line.

Today I will quiet my heart and mind and remember that God is working his purposes in my life.

This pretty little thought accompanies her necklace and I thought it fitting to make sure this made it’s way into this month of rest.

To enter the giveaway, follow the directions in the handy little Rafflecopter link below. There are a few ways to enter: leaving a comment or tweeting a link.

Giveaway will close on Wednesday night at 9pm Pacific. I’ll announce the winner on my Facebook community and through twitter.

I love this necklace {and all her things, truthfully} and I hope you will too.

UPDATE! I’m new to Rafflecopter and I created the widget (on accident) to end 24 hours too early. YOU CAN STILL ENTER! Leave a comment in the comment section (only if you have not already) and I’ll close the giveaway tonight at 9pm Pacific. Have grace on me: I’m traveling today and I’m still trying to figure out this widget thing.

THANK YOU for being understanding.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A Wish {and a Prayer} for You and for Me

Sometimes I’m long overdue to just sit quietly.

To pull my children close and to snuggle up my napping blanket and let my eyes close if they may, or stay open if they choose. I will give THEM the choice today.

I’m long overdue to put my feet up {actually up} and read a book.

I’m overdue to put my hands in the soil, to put my feet on bicycle pedals, to fall asleep outside.

I’m overdue to watch my husband move around the house with the eyes of a woman desperately in love and for him to watch me with those same eyes. I’m overdue for long conversations without our phones in right hands.

I’m long overdue to create space for an entire day in front of me with nothing to fence in time.

I’m overdue, pregnant with a need for peace and the inner twitch toward the simple sometimes gets too strong to ignore.

So today, I’ll simply leave with you my prayer for you and for your peace, for your quiet and for what you are overdue for.

Lord, be peace to us. Be the quiet we need. Let us rest in your love and let us always long for the simple beauty of You. Steer us away from complicated worries, but direct us toward harmony with You, with others and with ourselves.

Originally posted on March 30, 2012 under the title “Overdue”