I left my previous job of 18 months and just began a brand new job this past week. For so many reasons, I’m ecstatic about the opportunity and eager for the sweetness that seems to be a part of this season as well as the flexibility and growth that will come with serving in this capacity (I promise to share more soon!).
Between the last day of my previous job (26 March) and starting this new role (10 April), I had some time to slow way down and rest. Or what I thought was resting.
In my previous job working for the church we attend, the culture very much encouraged and supported the importance of taking a Sabbath (Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 16:28-29, Exodus 20:8-11). There was to be no work – one pastor shared that he and his wife even used paper products for the food they ate so there’d be no dishes to clean (it’s Biblical y’all!) It wasn’t difficult for me to set aside the day each week – it was expected and modeled by our lead pastor – but what I don’t think I ever got the hang of was true “rest”.
I’m not blaming anyone but myself for this.
I thought that because I wasn’t doing laundry or running errands but instead was watching a show on Netflix that I wanted to catch up with (which meant binging) or read a book that I wanted to finish (which also meant binging), that I was resting. I could paint my nails and toes or flip through magazines, have an extended time of prayer, Bible reading and journaling and even take a nap and somehow at the end of my day, I still did not feel “rested”.
It was only after I had time between both jobs that I understood that I was still tired. Not as tired as I might have been had I not taken a Sabbath at all, but the first few days, I needed to sit and rest and collect my thoughts and do nothing. I needed to slow down. Waaayyyy down.
And it was on one of the days between one thing and another that I realized I had been interchanging the words “rest” and “recovering” and not really distinguishing between the two. I had coming out of the day of rest wishing for more of it. I always wanted more rest.
Here’s why I was only recovering not fully resting…
Because I treated that one day, set aside by God, as if that was the only time that I could give myself permission to do the things that settled me and made me feel most like the woman He’s created me to be. I went break neck speed into busy the rest of the days – partially because there was a lot of work to be done and also because I’m built as a driven doer who likes to cross all the things off her to-do list (in break neck speed) – with no room for even moments of rest during the rest of the days in the week.
Even my time in The Word, in the early mornings were laced with a bit of Regina-created tension focused on “getting it done” (the study, the devotional, the book) which was draining me. It was zapping and warping instead of refreshing and strengthening me.
I don’t care what you do, who you work for/with – if you don’t work this out within yourself – you too will struggle to make and take time for rest in your everyday life.
Like I said before, I do not blame anyone outside of my lovely little self for how I rolled into my weekly day of rest (tired and selfishly wanting to guard all of my every single minute of the day). In fact, now I see it as a gift to get a new perspective and understand the importance of resting with God a little bit everyday.
Right now, this looks like shorter to-do lists (if there is a list at all) that can’t be created until after the quiet of the day has happened. And for me, in this season and with this new serving role, I get to spend a lot of time most mornings resting well, for real, before even drafting a to-do list. I can look at the whole week and see where I may get less rest time because a day is full of wonderful things. Or when I will have a few days in a row where there will be quiet, upon quiet, upon quiet and God will fill me with many opportunities and thoughts to text, email, call, Vox or send snail mail to those He places on my heart. There is room!
I’ve found the margin to make meals and desserts and deliver them for those who could use a bit of encouragement. And because I’ve already TRULY rested, I can linger with them. And listen to them. And hear them. And pray for them.
Practically, there has been less television watching and more joy-walking (where you walk with the intention to see new treasures, looking for things that bring joy to your soul). There has been more baking and less multi-tasking. Even less focus on myself and more energy, thought and consideration as to how I can bring light into the life of someone else. All of which refreshes me.
It feels so great to be able to love others well from a refreshed, rested spirit rather than a constantly recovering one.
I’m still learning. I don’t always get it right – it’s been only a few weeks; I figure it’s gonna be an ongoing thing. One that I am grateful to be stepping into – one restful moment at a time.