November 5, 2012

Permission to Take a Break

A rest might be in order for you right now. Perhaps an afternoon snooze, a quiet few minutes in the bathroom, a walk with your MP3 player while pushing the stroller. Or maybe your rest involves the whole day, putting aside your school check-list, hiding that to-do list, and just sitting for a while. 

I tend to be a "do-er" or a "go-go" type of a person. If at the end of the day, I feel like I've accomplished nothing, it's really irritating to me. If there is something in the house that needs doing, it is beckoning me while I'm outside... being with my kids. It is completely crazy for me to think about sitting down mid-day and turning the tv on for myself! Surely there's a job or project that needs doing. I do really need to tell myself to take a break. This has been a self-discovery of mine over our years of marriage. I find myself getting irritated, angry, and anxious if there are things I need to do, or feel I need to do, and I keep getting interrupted. We must be dressed before starting school, the kitchen must be tidied before I can start the next meal, the living room MUST be picked up before we go to bed. And on Sunday mornings, this fanaticism is just exacerbated! Somehow, I feel the need that I must come home from church to a completely spotless house. No jammies on the couch, breakfast completely cleaned up, no bath-towels lying around... you get the idea. "A" must be complete before I can move on to "B." Yikes. And yet, I've dared to call myself flexible!

So, enter the season of homeschooling. Thankfully, the Lord has started to show me some of this silly-ness in myself before getting in too deep with homeschooling. I really do want to be flexible. Therefore, if I feel we all need a day off, we take it. And here's the key part: I don't feel guilty about it. For me this is a process I'm learning. Our day-off seems to fall around "That" time of month in our family, and it's okay. I tell myself on that day-off when my kids are watching a movie right after breakfast rather than making their beds and getting dressed is just fine. In fact, they think it's fantastic! So let them. On this day off, I tell myself to fix something easy for meals. Low-maintenance. This day off includes smelling flowers with the kids, pushing them on swings, and just following them around outside. (Of course, this is only a recent perk since moving to a tropical place where we enjoy sun year-round.) Coloring together, reading books cuddled in blankets on the couch, or in my bed are other wonderful restful activities we enjoy! This rest means forcing myself to put my feet up when my kids are taking their nap or quiet time in the afternoon.

For me, this day of rest also means taking inventory. Taking inventory of God's blessings to our family. Developing my attitude of gratitude, and spending time in prayer for each family member.

This day off, even though initiated by not-so-nice-feeling physical symptoms, is well worth it anyhow. I never regret NOT doing those things we had scheduled to do for the purpose of refreshing ourselves and just loving each other.

Go ahead, give yourself permission to take a break. Hug your kids, color, breathe in some fresh air ...... and pray.


  1. This is such excellent thinking. And then, at the end, that photo! (Which made me go, "Awww." Such an important lesson to pass on to our children, too. I note that if we are driven, workaholic, our children grow up to go even further with it than we do! (No great spiritual lesson getting passed on there!)
    And I so identify with your irritation at not getting "things accomplished making the day seem wasted. Something that really helped me was reading A. W. Tozer saying that godly men of old saw a day as wasted when in it they had had no time alone with God!
    Enjoy the rejuvenation!

  2. Sylvia thank you for sharing about AW Tozer's thoughts. Wow, what a difference it makes to our perspective!