Forced downtime has its benefits


Taking time to rest and refresh seems to be the antithesis of motherhood, perhaps even more so in today’s social media society where we are bombarded with charts of daily activities for the kids’ summer break, all the crafts we should be doing with and making for our families, all the home-cooked from scratch meals we should be making and on and on the list goes. It’s enough to make us feel guilty just logging onto Facebook and seeing everyone’s best that they are posting about. And don’t even get me started on logging onto Pinterest. Very seldom does anyone brag about taking a break to rest.

But, we were designed to need rest and refreshment. God made a Sabbath day for a reason. He needed rest, and if the God of all creation needed a day of rest, how much more do we? I have struggled with this at various times in my life. Having babies and toddlers made this a challenge. Even now with my kids being older at 7 and 4, it’s still a challenge, because I’m still needed by them a lot. But I have a secret weapon that’s helped me learn to embrace times of rest and refreshment: chronic pain conditions.

I know I sound crazy for saying I’m thankful for the health struggles I have. And, trust me, that is NOT always the case. Sometimes I cry in frustration and pain. Other times I feel a deep anger at my perception of the unfairness of it all. I have hosted numerous self-pity parties. The bottom line is, though, that I have days where I just plain can’t do much. I have days where I’m forced to rest. Sometimes it’s frustrating to me because I’m a person who loves to-do lists and marking off items. I love to feel productive, but I’ve learned that resting is just as productive. Sometimes it can keep me from going into a pain flare and sometimes it can help me through one.

I used to feel guilty all the time about this forced time of rest. I used to feel like I was letting down my husband and my children. I still struggle with those feelings from time to time, but I’ve also learned to be thankful for the forced downtime. I’ve had some of my best times with my family during these moments. I’ve laid on the bed with my 4-year-old and played all sorts of imaginary games with him. I’ve snuggled in the recliner with my 7-year-old and played games on her iPad. If I had been feeling well many of those times, I would have been busy being productive instead. I’d have been doing laundry or dishes or clearing out the paper pile that always manages to build up on my counter or any other of the numerous tasks of life. Instead, though, I was forced to rest. And that rest was good for both my family and me, even if it meant we ordered pizza for dinner and ate it in the living room while watching “MasterChef Junior” together.

I have seen many ways God has used my health issues throughout my lifetime for His glory and my improvement. It’s hard and pretty impossible to say that I am 100 percent thankful for something that hurts and impacts every area of my life all the time. But I am thankful to see the way God uses my health issues for my good. He knows that I'm task-oriented and can get ahead of myself and be too busy to relax and enjoy things, so He built in a way to make me do so.

Whether you have health issues like I do or are blessed with good health, take time to rest this summer. Take time to just sit and hang out with your family or yourself without any distractions or trying to get things done. Even if you start by only taking an hour, do it. Your body, mind and soul will thank you! 

Photo Credit:  Pexel