Rest

Lindsey and I have been talking a lot about rest over the last few weeks. Why, you ask? Because we don’t do it well.

Let me explain. We have been talking about what it means to rest well, and how neither of us feel like we can do so. Lindsey tends to not stop moving. There is always something else that needs to be done, and pausing to rest before the list is finished is not an option. On the other hand, I don’t want to do anything. When I finally get a day or weekend with no work and no commitments I want to be lazy– and I mean LAZY. Down deep all I want to do is eat, nap, watch TV, and read a book. Preferably for a whole day.

Hopefully you see the error in both of our ways. Given our choices, Lindsey simply won’t rest until she drives herself into the ground, and I wouldn’t lift a finger– or even get out of bed.

That is not what rest is designed for, it’s not what our bodies and minds were designed for. Both of us are rebelling against what we were made for when we behave this way. We are slowly realizing this, because living with someone with the opposite disposition helps open your eyes quite a bit.

So over the next few weeks we hope to approach our weekends differently. We hope to meet in the middle a bit more. We hope that we can learn to rest well.

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A night off

Tonight we had a rare night off. Neither of us had any work to do, there were no chores or tasks to take care. It was wonderful. I built a fire, we heated up some leftovers (okay, so it wasn’t perfect :P), and we settled in for some time together. After a few good hours alone Lindsey went off to bed and I’m here writing this post. As Lindsey wrote about a few days ago, she’s not the best at simply relaxing. I have the opposite problem, I like to rest a little too much. Because of these tendencies and scheduling factors we don’t get many nights like tonight. Evenings like this are precious to me, and I know Lindsey feels the same way.

Sitting down to write a post every day, or every couple of days individually, is not always the easiest. Sometimes I feel like I don’t have anything meaningful to say. When I sat down tonight to write that is exactly how I felt. But then I really began to think about the quiet, restful night we had. That’s when I realized how precious it actually was.

When I think back to before we were married I now know I had no idea what I was really signing up for. The good and the bad have been more than I expected. I want to write a longer post on this topic before the year is up, but my main point is this: I had no idea what a real marriage would be like. We went through extensive pre-marital counseling, in fact it was the most thorough program I’ve heard of. With all that we learned we were well prepared, but no preparation could have been enough for the reality. To understand it, we had to live it.

There was no way someone could have explained to me how happy a night of nothing would make me. As a bachelor a night like this would have been spent with a book, or more regularly a video game or TV show. I would have been happy and I would have been able to do anything, but nothing would have been as good as night alone with Lindsey. And there was no way for me to know it at the time.

Our 10 months of marriage has been full of moments of reflection and realization like this. They have made me a better husband as I internalize them and learn to appreciate what I learn. I pray that God continues to give me nights and small lessons like this for a lifetime.

Failure to rest

It’s not a resolution. It’s something that came up in a conversation with my WDP leaders at the end of the semester. And then God kept bringing it back up.

I don’t take a Sabbath. Yes, God tells us to. I get that. But I’m busy. In fact, I’m exceedingly busy. He gets that, right? Well, that’s what I kept telling myself anyway. But when someone pointed out that not taking a Sabbath was a sin, well, that didn’t sit real well with me.

It’s not a harsh thing to point out one another’s sins. We’re actually supposed to do that in Christian community. No one was pointing fingers or anything. Part of WDP is learning to fight sin– in our own lives as well as in the lives of those around us. It was actually in a conversation about my own self-righteousness that the whole Sabbath thing came up. While it isn’t finger pointing, I sure did feel ganged up against that night. But it was for my good.

And they were right. About both.

So, God kept bringing it back up, I began to have anxiety attacks due to negligent self care, and thusly, yesterday, I vowed to have a Sabbath.

I pretty much failed.

I cleaned house, did laundry, ironed, planned lessons, and cleaned my shower doors. The only Sabbath-like activities were reading a couple chapters in a book on prayer and going to church. Oh, and Downton Abbey— but that totally counts as rest 🙂

And then today at work when the other teachers were talking about how rested they were, how ready to teach and love these kiddos they felt, well, I realized that I wasn’t. When we prayed during morning devotion, I realized I had read about prayer, but I hadn’t actually done it. Sigh.

If we were perfect at everything, we wouldn’t need a Savior. I need him. I need God to keep showing me that I was designed for a day of rest. I need him to remind me that he and I are in a relationship and relationships need quality time. I need to trust in Him that the Sabbath takes priority over the to-dos and accept that some things won’t get done. I cringe even as I type that last sentence… I need him to teach me to trust.

So, I’m 0 for 1 on the Sabbath thing so far. Brian said he was actually really proud of me– he’d never seen me take and hour to sit in silence and read on a Sunday! And God wants us to come to him as children– and children aren’t very good at things on the first try– so at least I nailed that part 😉

Five days off

Tonight marks the end of five days off of work for Lindsey and me. We had some commitments and stuff to take care of, but for the most part it was five solid days of no work and being with each other. It was a pretty good time.

Sometimes I feel like we only write about a few things on this blog. It almost feels like a rotation. We love each other, we had a good weekend, a small argument, food, more food. Rinse. Repeat. I’d like to get off that cycle, but honestly that is how the first year of marriage has been.

The five days we just shared are, in a way, a microcosm of our first year so far. But when I look at our posts over the last few days, I can see several things that we should look back on and learn from:

  1. Time together matters. In fact, sometimes it matters more than what you do with that time
  2. Marriage changes the way we view our past. It is good to embrace it. It is hard for two to become truly united if each holds fiercely to their own identity
  3. We should be thankful for the hard stuff. It is suffering that makes us grow
  4. A sense of humor is key to getting along. The fact that we both have very dorky senses of humor helps our marriage. We get each other’s jokes and laugh a lot
  5. Finally, and this is not a post from earlier this week, rest and relaxation are hugely important. We both have a really busy week ahead, and the five days of rest were crucial for us.

Everyday we learn something new, and the last couple of days off were no exception. The items listed above are themes that we saw in five days, but really we have seen them for 8 months. I have to say, it has been really cool to learn from our mistakes and from our successes. I can see our marriage evolving every day. It’s pretty exciting.