Friday, September 26, 2008

Giving Ourselves Permission


I was chatting with my dear friend, Bonnie, last night.  Bonnie is such a special gal in my life.  The kind of person that comes along in just the right season for many, many purposes.  She entered our life as a babysitter and has become a family member and sometimes a bit of a sage.  

Anyway, we were doing our standard post-babysitting chat session the other night and talking about motherhood and blogging and other random subjects.  Bonnie shared something that totally resonated with me.  She was talking about how she had popped in on a friend to return something (background info = this friend is a mom, and bonnie is in the pre-mom stage).  This friend was lying on the couch when Bonnie arrived, and quickly said, "Don't think I am a bad mom.  I am just tired."

Bonnie recanted the story and then said, "I don't understand why moms feel that way.  Who would ever think that someone is a bad mom for resting?"

I was nodding my head in agreement.  Yeah, who would think that?  How silly.   But, then I stopped to think about it....  I feel this same guilt all the time.   That is totally me!  I really struggle with giving myself time to rest, to be still, to unwind, to enjoy "me" time that is "unproductive".  Most moms I know feel the same way.  And, I am not sure why.  Maybe because we don't want to seem lazy.  Maybe because we know that our to do list is miles long and if we are taking time out to "rest" we are neglecting important things on our list.  

This is the other thing I know... that there are many days where I am so empty and running on mere vapors as I scurry about that I am of very little use to my family.  Sure, I am getting things done.  Sure, I am putting healthy and nutritious food on the table.  Sure, I am wiping bottoms and picking up toys so that no one breaks their neck while scurrying from hither to yon.  Sure, I am negotiating drama and flare ups over toys and "personal space".  But, am I full of joy?  Am I at peace in my soul?  Am I teaching my kids how to live life with fullness and thankfulness and appreciation for all that surrounds us?  

Am I rested?

I am many things, but rested is not one of them.  And, I don't just mean "rested" as in I had a really good night of sleep.  I mean the kind of rested where I have an abundance to give because I am filling my tank.  Like in the airplane crash when you need to first put on your own oxygen mask and then help others.  What good am I to those around me if I am suffocating because I am not taking the time to put on my own oxygen mask?

I want to work towards this.  I want to be more aware of those moments where my soul and mind are crying out for time with God or just some moments of inactivity.  I want to lean into those moments and soak it up like a child would cherish an ice cream cone, lick by messy lick.  

I want to taste those drips of rest and giggle with delight knowing that life is more than accomplishing much.  I want to give MYSELF permission to do this, because I know I am the one holding me back.

Anyone else struggle with this? Can we give ourselves a homework assignment {The Resting Challenge}, and over the next week try to integrate 15 minutes (at least) of our very own quiet time into our day. I would encourage those of us that blog to walk away from the computer in that time. Just go somewhere quiet. Be still. Sit. Daydream. Pray. Just be. Let's check back in with each other. I want to hear how this goes for you (what you did for those precious minutes, how it felt, if you felt guilty, if you felt thankful, etc.) I know it will be hard for me, so I am writing it here for accountability. I think that it would be pretty incredible if a generation of mamas chose to model peace and rest for their children.
(And, if someone asks you what you are doing ... Smile and say, "resting". No apologies needed.)

2 comments:

Jenna said...

i absolutely struggle with resting. and so much that if i tell someone i'm just sitting on the couch the first question is "why, are you sick?" because i just don't rest. and i agree about needing more than just physical rest, but emotional and spiritual rest. peace. refueling. i think i need a homework assignment like *rest* this week. thanks for posting that! ;)

Heather of the EO said...

Yes. Rest. I love how you point out the difference between a good night's rest and a refueling rest.

They are so hard to come by for so many of us. But even if we do walk away from the computer during nap-time for prayer or silence, or even a nap, I wonder what difference it would make.

Great post!
I wish I had babysitter/sage Bonnie right here in MN. :)

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