I had a very, um, productive second-half of the week, and a corresponding sense of accomplishment and pride (and relief) in what I’ve completed.
This week I’ve been hauling feed bags, carrying loads of straw, and shoveling chicken poop. I’ve joked with people that I’m getting fit the old-fashioned way– though manual labor. And I have had that tired satisfaction that comes from muscles used correctly without overdoing it.
And I had the weird experience yesterday of getting in bed for a rest and shaking worse after an hour horizontal than I did before I lay down.
I think I get the biological element of that: Most bodies can give more than we expect, especially when there’s a real need. But once those same bodies are taken off *imperative* status, the reality of physical limitations becomes unignorable.
Getting half or two-thirds the amount of sleep my body needs will catch up with me. Using muscles to exhaustion will mean an enforced time of rest before they will be effective again.
And this is so reassuring in my mothering, because I’ve often got this voice in my head insisting, But look what you haven’t done yet! And that voice is not lying or saying anything that is impossible or even that I’m not good enough.
At times it’s even this sweet little, Oops! I’m sure you didn’t mean to forget, since we both know it’s so easy if you’ll just get started…
I had four hours last night without kids. (Mom picked them up after dinner to spend the night.)
I could have (in theory) gotten a lot done on my messy messy house. But I was physically empty. And I knew it.
I could have (in theory) gotten a lot done on a novel, or another writing project. But I was about 8-hours in the hole sleep-wise, so connections and focus just were not coming.
So I rested.
I sat with my sick goat (I think she’s been pining for human contact. She’s gotten better with more attention).
I listened to music.
I looked at my novel, and there was a moment (of deep relief, I must say) when things finally began to click and I was able to give it a solid hour of productive attention.
But all that was after rest. Nothingness in measurable productivity.
~ ~ ~
I’ve decided that my desire to write isn’t just (or even really) an indicator that running a household isn’t “enough” for my “personal fulfillment.”
At this season of my life, it is largely an indicator of fatigue.
I like to work. I love to see things *completed* or progress made. But I have to rotate, to cycle through the different muscle groups. Just like arms or back or legs, focusing on one thing wears it out faster. And using them all means greater endurance (usually) but also demands a fuller rest in the end.
And this awareness gives me a new respect for my need of rest. Rest for more than just my body.
“It’s this simple: you and I have an inescapable need for rest.The lie the taskmasters want you to swallow is that you cannot rest until your work’s all done, and done better than you’re currently doing it.But the truth is, the work’s never done, and never done quite right. It’s always more than you can finish and less than you had hoped for.
So what? Get this straight: The rest of God – the rest God gladly gives so that we might discover that part of God we’re missing – is not a reward for finishing. It’s not a bonus for work well done. It’s sheer gift. It is a stop-work order in the midst of work that’s never complete, never polished. Sabbath is not the break we’re allotted at the tail end of completing all our tasks and chores, the fulfillment of all our obligations. It’s the rest we take smack-dab in the middle of them, without apology, without guilt, and for no better reason than God told us we could.”
-Mark Buchanan, in The Rest of God: Restoring Your Soul by Restoring Sabbath (via Laura Ziesal)
So, here I go into the rest of the day, continuing to let many things I could be doing just hang. And I am inexpressibly thankful to even have tasks that can wait. And I feel joy too, because I am being obedient by resting, which means (and I almost get choked up thinking about this) My rest is worship.
My restoration brings God glory, just as my service does.