It’s taken me twenty years to learn how I need to rest.
And once I paid attention, I had to fight the urge to think I was resting all wrong.
What looks like rest to me might look like boredom or even work to someone else.
Our little family left town for an entire week and drove toward water–I’m slightly ashamed that it’s our very first week-long family vacation with just me Chad & the boys. Why didn’t we fight for this years ago?
And it was something we had to fight for. We had to say a difficult no thank you to a trip with extended family this summer, since Chad has limited time off, so that we could protect this time with just our family of five. We had to save for this trip and plan ahead of time and figure out how our animals would be cared for.
I promise you it was worth it.
One of the perks of waiting so long is that now our boys are older–17, 15 and 14 and we chose a place close to a happening spot for them to explore on bikes or even with our car. They had the free reign to do whatever they felt like and so did we. It was exactly what we needed. All of us.
The boys were able to explore and sleep and make their own schedule while Chad and I had a vacation fit for the elderly.
The five of us visited Savannah one of the days and we had four items on our agenda:
1. eat an early dinner (it was in the fours on the clock!! my dream dinner time!)
2. stop by and say hi to some friends (just a quick 20 minute hello)
3. Chad needed to see a certain church
4. and I needed to see a certain tree.
We’ve figured out we don’t need exotic islands that are plane rides away–not that there’s anything wrong with that and if anyone would like to gift us with that free vacation we’ll be there. Most of all we need to fight for the time to do nothing so that we can truly rest.
We’ve learned the hard way the difference between recreation and amusement–one that Sally Breedlove defines so perfectly…
Perhaps we can see the difference between God’s true rest and our “rest” by considering the difference between the words recreation and amusement. Embedded in the word roots for recreation and amusement are vastly different concepts. Recreation is the state of being re-created. It is something we do or choose that fills our soul and body so that we are stronger and richer as a result. Recreation nurtures us. Amusement, on the other hand, literally means “not to think.” When we choose amusement we shut down, we disengage.
Even more pointed is the ancient meaning of amusement: “to deceive.” Could it be that we are deceived when we think that the answer to our weariness is amusement, not recreation? Life is not meant to alternate spasmodically between exhausting frenetic activity and mindless states where we have no energy for anything. We must learn to say no to relentless schedules and cultivate places in our lives for true recreation. Only we can make choices for what refurbishes our souls and our relationships.
–sally breedlove // Choosing Rest
I tried to pay attention to the things that turn us toward re-creation–our kind of recreation…
Here’s what helps us rest:
- two chairs
- a view of nature (water or mountains get extra credit here)
- plans to not have to think about dinner
- no deadlines
- less phones, less computers
- no crowds
- something for the boys: freedom, nature to explore, a place to hang out
No passport required.
We’ve realized when the place that we are staying feels like the vacation (like how the cottage has a great view even when you are inside) then we feel like we are vacationing the entire time we are there and that’s really rest inducing. But, when the place we are staying feels removed from nature, we have this nagging feeling that we need to ‘get out and do something’ so that we can feel like we are actually vacationing and resting–and that’s exhausting.
As a person who sees the world through house colored glasses my obvious next step is to ask “how do I apply this to my home?” Can my home be a place of rest? Can our home be beacon of hope after a long day that welcomes people in to be re-created? Not everyday can feel like a vacation, but some of our homes we’ve lived in have felt more restful than others.
How I’m bringing our vacation & restfulness home:
- pay attention to what triggers rest for me & Chad & the boys
- create rhythms where my computer just will not be open (hello 5 o’clock and on)
- give our family the gift of books because we get a huge amount of joy from reading
- try to make dinner not require a bunch of planning
- create comfy shady spots outside in creation where we can sit
- pay attention to ways I’m making life more difficult for myself and consider how I can change those things