Has this conversation ever played out with you and one of your girlfriends while catching up? You know, the one where they ask, “How are you?” and you answer back with the classic: “Good, just staying busy”. I’ve quit answering those quick exchanges that way and started getting honest. The more I was honest, the more I realized that my accumulated “staying busys” sounded more like I’m actually tired — like all the time tired. All I seemed to have energy for was to make it in the door, race out of my bra, grab my comfy pants and a bag of chips, and binge watch Schitt’s Creek for the 17th time! And while I’m grateful to have things to keep me busy, I wondered if it was possible for me to begin feeling full instead of busy.
I’ve heard it said that your thirties are the best years of your life. Wouldn’t it be a waste if the whole time we were so busy that we never stopped to live restfully?! Without getting all dark and twisty (Hey, Grey’s fans!) we all know that this last year has been a year full of unexpecteds and no thank yous. Between pandemic, racial unrest, injustices, homeschooling, home work and working from home, not to mention adding even more hats to the wardrobe of hats we already wear, we’re all doing way more than keeping busy. Somehow in all the crazy, the most beautiful thing to arise out of 2020 is the revelation of the few things that really matter in my life. I found health to be at the top of that list.
In my quest to start living full, I got so encouraged to take better care of myself after reading The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer (linked below). It helped me learn how to live out of the overflow of my rest, not what’s left over from all the things that’ve kept me busy.
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The top way I do that is by protecting my rest with a weekly Sabbath. If you’re familiar with this Hebrew practice, then you know that a Sabbath requires an individual to stop all work from sundown on Friday to sundown on Saturday. As a follower of Jesus, it’s crucial for me and helps me feel balanced as I worship God in my rest. Whether or not you believe in Jesus or any particular faith, this practice of intentionally — blocking out time to pour back into yourself — not only helps you have better agency over your time, but allows you to give 100% of yourself to the things that need your attention and energy throughout the week.
Now, I’ll be honest. It was a struggle to reorient my brain and my whole self to this practice, but what was once a struggle has become something that I cannot live without. Most of us define rest as sleep. But I’ve come to understand rest as anything that brings us joy. Some of us may know exactly what brings us joy and satisfaction, but for others of us, this is a journey.
Start by designating a reasonable day that works for you, your family, and your lifestyle. My weekends are Friday and Saturday, so I choose sundown Friday to sundown Saturday as my 24 hours of chill.
This might sound like it defeats the purpose, but I promise it’s worth it. Depending on the week I’m expecting to have, I know what kind of rest I’ll need. For example, on my busiest weeks, I plan for something that will reenergize me for the following week. If I have an event or an obligation every night, more than likely I’ll want to be by myself. So, I plan for an hour at a sauna, a walk or a bike ride with my honey, and the rest of the time I literally do NOTHING. This helps me to look forward to that time!
When I rest, I REST. But there are things that I have to do like chores, cook dinner, or maybe a couple of errands I can’t put off. I get those done during the day, so when the evening comes, I’m truly free. This might look like making a big Crock-Pot meal that lasts a couple of days so you don’t have to cook (AKA work) or starting that batch of laundry as soon as you wake. Just do what it takes to set yourself up for a truly workless day.
My screen time report is shameful. Lol! But I’ve leaned into setting up some boundaries for my day. You can choose to edit your phone settings to limit your consumption of social media and communication. As a tip, you may want to give those closest to you a heads-up so they don’t think you’ve disappeared.
This may take some time through trial and error, especially in a culture that promotes busyness as an ideal. The beauty in this practice is that it’s completely NOT rigid and it’s customizable for you. Maybe it’s a getaway with the girls — no kids, no spouse, no worries. Or maybe it’s a day (a couple of hours, even) of solitude because you recharge best when alone. Maybe it’s a combination of several things. No matter what, it’s the discipline of entering into weekly rest that restores us and makes us better suited for all that we get to steward and lead later. Give it a try for a month and watch the difference it makes!
Simone Seymour is a Pastor, IF:Local Coach, and Podcast EP for The St.Petian living in St. Petersburg, Florida with her husband. On the weekdays, you can find her in her community connecting with the all the people that make it beautiful. Simone is a wannabe vlogger with imaginary content — actual content coming maybe one day! 🙂
You can find Simone on Instagram at @simonedseymour_.
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