Rest and Reflection

I’m a very goal-oriented person. I’m a planner and a list-maker. I generally have a good idea of where I want to be in the next five years and what steps I need to take to arrive on time. In the areas where I am not as driven and organized, leave it to my husband to fill in the gaps. So you take two driven people who know what they want and you end up with constant motion and planning. We don’t slow down. Sometimes this is great–it’s great when you reach a goal and when you’re happy with where you are in life. But anything, however good, can be a problem if it’s taken too far. With constant motion, comes fatigue and burn out. Sometimes all the planning and counting, working and moving–all the good intentions to accomplish your best can destroy the beauty of where you already are and what you already have.

Sometimes, the most important thing you can do is to be still and be quiet.

Even though it’s hard for me to sit still, I’m learning that not always doing something is a very important part of everything I do. I’m learning to make time for down time and learning not to worry about what people will think even if they find out I purposely sleep in until like freaking lunch time one day a week. No alarm clock. No making a list of all the things I have to do that day. Just sleep until I wake up rested. And guess what? I usually get more done on those days anyway because I am rested.

I still sometimes feel guilty–even when I’m sitting here tapping out my thoughts, I feel like I should be doing something else, something more productive than babbling on the internet. But charting your thoughts and stirring thoughts in others isn’t such a waste of time, is it? And here I am again, justifying my lack of motion as if every moment of stillness need be weighed and accounted for. If you must find justification for every moment of stillness, just ask God, he will back you up.

When God was tired, he didn’t just take a nap, he took a retreat–forty days alone in the wilderness for prayer, rest, and reflection. He didn’t just suggest the Sabbath as a good idea but actually made it one of the Ten Commandments–he only chose ten and rest was one of them.

After spending the first couple years of our marriage working full-time and never seeing each other because of schedule differences, my husband and I both quit our jobs and started over. We had to take a pay cut which meant cutting other things out too and it was scary at first, but you know what? It worked out and we made it and I’ve never been happier. Getting to slow down and spend time with my husband was worth the chance we took. Now, as we plan (of course, we have to have a plan!) for the future, our goals are not so centered on advancing our careers or making heaps of money as they are on building a quiet, peaceful life together. We want to live in the country on a big farm where we can raise a family and build a slow, meaningful life together. We want to take our time and enjoy our days and get our rest–even if that means taking a pay cut or doing without a thing or two here and there–we learned early, the hard way, that a paycheck can never pay for time together.

As I was mulling over all these ideas, I came across this blog post that was Freshly Pressed here on WordPress. The author beautifully summed up my own thoughts before I could do it myself; I hope you will read her words.

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4 thoughts on “Rest and Reflection

  1. Isaiah 30: 15: “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength.”

    “At the still point of the turning world. Neither flesh nor fleshless;
    Neither from nor towards; at the still point, there the dance is,
    But neither arrest nor movement. And do not call it fixity,
    Where past and future are gathered. Neither movement from nor towards,
    Neither ascent nor decline. Except for the point, the still point,
    There would be no dance, and there is only the dance.
    I can only say, there we have been: but I cannot say where.
    And I cannot say, how long, for that is to place it in time.
    The inner freedom from the practical desire,
    The release from action and suffering, release from the inner
    And the outer compulsion, yet surrounded
    By a grace of sense, a white light still and moving.”

    “Burnt Norton
    –T.S. Eliot

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