We’ve been having a good time at I’m New Here lately, what with the kitschy links and all. Now, I’d like to share that Spring 2012 Forehead Smacking Idea I talked about a couple of weeks ago. Hold onto your hats ’cause this mess is about to get real (gosh, I’m so hip I scare myself sometimes).
I have a problem. I work hard and I want you to know about it and tell me I deserve things. Hi, I’m Meredith and I’m a “me time” martyr.
Before marriage and kids, I didn’t know the meaning of “me time”; my whole day was mine. Now that two babies are on the scene, I sometimes feel it calling by the middle of breakfast.
I feel like I deserve it. I’ve earned it, right? I do the cooking/cleaning/baby birthing/lullaby singing/grocery shopping/bill paying/calendar organizing/come-hither-stare-giving (to the hubs)–you know The List. I neeeeed this time/that treat/my _________. I heard somewhere that I couldn’t be a good wife, mother or person without taking time for myself, so I tried to make it happen every day. But, I noticed something…
My precious “me time” wasn’t helping me at. all. I tried everything! I went to the coffee shops with my books. I caught up on all of the episodes of Parks & Rec. I bought shiny things. I ate the individually wrapped pieces of melt-in-your-mouth self-affirmation. In a last ditch attempt, I even made labels and charts to try to “center” myself. I did it all, but I ended up feeling even more frazzled and less on top of things. The time always felt too short. One of those kid-people would wake up from a nap or want to eat. That husband-guy would want to show me something he was working on or talk about his day…so selfish. For the love, guys! This is “me time”!
Ok, there was a healthy dose of sarcasm in that last paragraph, but seriously, I was at a loss. Taking time for myself was supposed to make for a better Me, but it was doing the opposite. How could this be?
Just when I thought I would never be able to relax, I heard a talk about rest and realized I was approaching it all wrong. Time for myself is a good thing. So is work. Marriage, motherhood, chores, life are work. Good work. Instead of seeing them as the amazing things that they are (okay, chores aren’t amazing, but not exactly soul killers either), I was starting to treat them like things to check off The List. Husband kissed, dinner cooked, kids snuggled, floors cleaned, bills paid, blah, blah, blah. I was losing sight of joy and of myself in a rush toward “me time”.
We were made to work. We were made to rest. We were made to have fun. It can all start to feel pretty monotonous and empty, though, if I don’t know who I am or why I’m doing it. Sometimes fun is just more work. That’s the difference between relaxation and rest.
Don’t get me wrong! Mamma looooves some good “me time”. If I could find a way to combine a coffee shop, the beach, a massage chair, a dance floor, a theater and chocolate, I’d have a new favorite hangout…and I’d probably be a gazillionaire. But if that’s the only thing I’m running to, after a while, I’ll always find that little nagging inside; a frustration; something that leaves me feeling more resentful than refreshed.
That’s where Rest comes in. Like I said, we were made for it, so when we don’t get it, things feel off balance. What is this rest? It’s “my time” with Creator and creation; with God and the things he made for me to enjoy! (Oh ya, P.S. I’m a pretty big fan of God and his work. Just FYI.) This is time set aside that reminds me–I tend to forget–of who God is, who he’s made me to be and what he’s doing to that end right now. It’s a good gift. Sometimes it starts out rough (like if I’ve been running to my beach-coffee shop hybrid a little too often), but it always leaves me refreshed and ready.
The other half of the picture is enjoying creation; what do you really like doing? For me, it’s all of my aforementioned pleasures plus people! For you it might be working out, being alone, painting, cooking, stand-up comedy…get the picture? It’s something that fills you up, what makes you feel alive, and makes life FUN! It’s taking a break from your work, trusting that God has that bidness under control.
What it isn’t is another To-Do. It isn’t something that has to be perfect every time; life happens; kids throw up all over the sofa and clean laundry *wince*. You might have to write it on a calendar or work out a time with your spouse or find a friend to help with the kids, but it can be done! I promise you (and God does, so there ya go) that you’ll never regret Rest.
Well, there it is, folks. This is officially the longest post so far. I hope it brings you to smack your forehead as hard as I smacked mine.
Here’s to Fun and Rest for you today!