Can we be honest for a moment? I mean, really honest? Not awkward “I’m not wearing any underwear” honest; more like funny but obvious “I’m addicted to ice cream and facebook” honest. Can we do that?
The thing is, I like naps. OK, I more than like them. I love them. LIVE for them, in fact. I love naps so much I wish I were taking one right now. And if you happen to see me out and about sometime, like at church or Walmart or Zumba class, you can be sure that right then I’m thinking, “Man, I wish I were taking a nap.” Every time. No joke. Maybe it stems from years of insomnia, or perhaps from an utterly immutable laziness, but it is a truth that cannot be changed. I like naps.
Now, naps for me don’t always include sleep. I know, I know, what’s the point of a nap if you’re not sleeping, right? But the insomnia that assails me at night is just as active during the day, so I have to lie down for a really long time under perfect conditions to actually fall asleep. Instead, I have perfected the art of resting. It’s like napping, only without that embarrassing grogginess when the phone rings: “Hey, whatcha doing? Were you sleeping?” “Me, sleeping? Noooo.” Resting includes a nice, quiet lie down, usually preceded by a little reading time. It doesn’t require quiet – which is good since my two kids make quiet impossible – but is aided by some completely uninteresting documentary from the Military Channel as background noise. Resting is peaceful, rejuvenating, and above all, relaxing. I like rest.
Here’s the thing, though: there’s more to rest than nap time. Sometimes it’s more than the body that needs rest. Take the spirit, for example. At this time last year, my spirit was raring to go – helping begin a women’s ministry, leading a life group, taking on the spiritual responsibility of home-schooling my son, and, of course, being a voice for childhood sexual abuse awareness. I was, as they say, on fire and enjoying every minute of it. Now, however, my spirit is resting. All of those things are still important, but my role in each has changed – Women of Destiny is up and running, my life group stopped meeting in August, the school year is over, and, though still passionate about abuse awareness, it’s a banked flame rather than a raging wildfire. I don’t feel a spiritual drive to do anything at the moment but rest. It’s not even like waiting, you know? Waiting requires readiness, preparation for the next season. This really is like a spiritual day at the beach – lying on my blanket, soaking up God’s presence like sunshine, and trusting Him to wake me when the vacation’s over. It’s taken a while to accept, but I can so do this.
However, you’ve heard that expression about spirit, soul and body? Well, my spirit and body have got resting down, but my soul (my mind, will and emotions) is in outright rebellion. Picture a group of bescrubbed orderlies trying to contain a wild-eyed, screaming mother of 17 toddlers. She’s been tackled, wrestled into a straight jacket, and sedated, but still she writhes and screams, “No, I won’t go back home! I won’t! You can’t make me!!” Are you feeling her desperation? Are you seeing that crazed look and thanking God for birth control? OK, maybe I’m taking my metaphor a bit far, but understand: that poor, overworked mother is my soul. She can’t face taking care of her responsibilities, which is weird because, unlike my poor metaphor’s responsibilities, all my soul has to do right now is rest. Take a break from all those crazy expectations and relax.
What is the deal with expectations, anyway? We always seem to expect more from ourselves than from anyone else. I, for one, expect myself to always be able to handle everything, regardless of how exhausting or traumatic or life-changing it is. So when I don’t handle something as well as I think I should, I’m the first one – the only one really – in line to beat myself up: What do you mean, you need rest? Why are you still grieving? It’s been almost 4 months, get over it already! Stop all this whining and get on with your life!
Ugh. See why my soul needs a straight jacket? She’s merciless.
However, in the last few weeks I’ve heard two bits of wisdom that are getting me through. The first was, “I know it seems like forever to you, but it’s really only been three months.” Well, duh. Three months is not a very long time in the grand scheme of things. It does seem like forever to me, but God, my family and my friends do not expect me to be back to “normal” already, so why should I expect it of myself? The other wise tidbit goes right along with that. Part of my problem is that I’ve been beating myself up for my perceived failings – that I haven’t been a good enough friend, good enough wife, good enough mother through all of this. I’ve failed everyone who loves me! Drama, drama, drama. But then my sweet friend Deretha told me that not only do I have to trust God in all of this I also have to trust my friends. I have to trust my husband and my family. I have to trust them to love me when I’m not myself, when I don’t meet my own expectations. These people love me more than I love myself at times and they are not messaging each other on Facebook about what a terrible friend/wife I am. Again: duh. So that’s it. No more excuses. Today, my soul rests. End of story…Pray for me.
Wow, this is a long post! And why is this blog always about me? Still, thank you for reading 😉