(Where does the term “sleep like a baby”, even come from because mine wakes up all the time lately!!)
My husband and I literally have a conversation about rest and sleep nearly every week. With his work schedule and children that rarely sleep through the night, rest and sleep are a huge issue. It usually starts with one of us complaining that we are tired, a short argument over who got more sleep that week, and then ends with both of us apologizing, and coming up with a plan that never works. The reason that it never works…me.
Why is it that as moms we seem to have this overwhelming amount of guilt when we take the time to rest? If I sit on the couch for twenty minutes in lieu of doing the dishes that afternoon, I feel bad about it the rest of the day. If I say no to an event or a get together because I am too tired, I feel like I should be putting more effort into my friendships and relationships. If I ask someone else to take Gabbi to dance, I feel bad for not taking her myself. If I ask Matt to stay up on his night off so that I can sleep, I feel like I am being unfair because he works so hard. Even worse, I feel like I am missing out on spending time with him, since he is gone so much. I don’t like missing out on my one on one time with Autumn either, if I ask Matt to watch her so that I can nap. Our plan for sleep never works because I refuse to trade in something for someone else in order to get something that I need.
After talking to some other moms about this recently, I realized, thankfully, that I am not the only one who feels this way. As moms, the least guilt inducing thing to do seems to be to always put ourselves on the back burner. It is easier to put everyone else first, because that is what we do, day in and day out. Our lives are about taking care of the lives of those we love the most. But today I have to stop and ask myself, don’t I love MYSELF just as much as I love the rest of my little family? I think I do, but I definitely don’t treat myself in that way.
And I am not just talking about sleep. I am a person who can function well on very little sleep, as long as I make up for it eventually. I am talking about rest. Relaxing, not thinking about the to do list, not chasing babies, cleaning the house, making food or worrying about some project you signed up for out of excitement (I am the queen of overextending myself), that kind of thing. Even just being alone for 30 minutes…
However, if I can’t even listen to myself about rest, that who can I listen to? There is one person who loves me more than I could ever love myself, and He spoke to me so loudly this morning that I had to listen up. In reading our devotional this morning the Lord explained to me, again, how He created me to NEED rest. Even He rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:3)! But then He said something else to me that left me dumbfounded. The idea that we can keep going and going without rest is a lie, a trick from the devil and another attempt to keep us too busy to stay close to the Lord and to be confident in the way He created us. Whoa!
I once heard a sermon that talked about how the enemy isn’t going to just come in one day and turn you away from the Lord. It won’t happen in one instant, or one moment, but instead in slow and calculated steps. It’s the steady decline of time with the Lord, time in the word and time in prayer that leads eventually to separation, sin and confusion over what is right or wrong. After almost two weeks of not doing my morning devotional, and after about a week of not reading the word at all because I was too “busy”, this is what the Lord lead me to. He is reminding me that I need rest, because He made me that way, but also because it will bring me back closer to Him. Needing rest in this way should not lead to guilt, but should instead lead to peace and the ability to face everything the Lord places in front of us.
So, moms, stop feeling guilty about resting! I am going to
try to stop. The last part of our devotional this morning said this:
“Lie down, close your eyes and whisper “Jesus, help me rest". I’ll cover you with a blanket of Peace and watch over you as you rest in Me.” (Jesus Calling for Kids)
The adult version says it this way, which I thought was powerful as well:
“I built into you the very need for rest. How twisted the world has become when people feel guilty about meeting this basic need!…I have chosen you less for you strengths than for your weaknesses, which amplify your need for me.” (Jesus Calling)
So think about that, and take some time to rest today ….